Christmas HR all wrapped up: An employer’s guide to office parties, bank holidays, religious discrimination, seasonal work and Christmas bonuses

With Christmas only three weeks away, Personnel Today and XpertHR present a seasonal feast of employment related questions, case studies and advice on everything from managing the office Christmas party to employing seasonal temps…


This article was originally published on 2 December 2010 and is not updated.

XpertHR provides up-to-date guidance on Work-related events, including preparing for Christmas parties.

For more content on Christmas employment issues see our Employer’s guide to Christmas.


Office Christmas parties

Weekly dilemma: Work Christmas parties
Christmas party disciplinary list topped by punch-ups and threatening behaviour
As Christmas is a Christian festival, can an employer still hold a Christmas party if some of its employees belong to other religions?
What issues should employers take into account regarding the timing of a work-related social event such as a Christmas party?
Can an employer dock the pay of an employee who has arrived at work late the morning after the company Christmas party?
Can employers be held liable for harassment that takes place during a work-related social event?
Should employers have written rules on work-related social events?
How should employers treat the problem of employees not coming in to work on the day following a work-related social event?
What issues should employers take into account if inviting employees’ partners to a work-related social event?
What issues should employers take into account when organising the catering for work-related social events?
Alcohol misuse during the Christmas period: case study
Alcohol misuse during the Christmas period: employers’ checklist
Ensuring acceptable conduct at office parties and other work-related social events – a guide

Bank holidays and annual leave at Christmas

Bank Holidays: five things employers need to know
Can workers take holiday whenever they like?
Can employees be required to work on bank holidays?
Are employees who are required to work on bank holidays entitled to pay in lieu of time off, or additional holiday?
If a part-time or shift-working employee is not scheduled to work on a bank holiday, is he or she entitled to an additional day’s holiday?
Is an employee who is required to work on bank holidays entitled to extra pay?
Are employers required to provide pay or time off in lieu of bank holidays that coincide with maternity leave?
Where an employee’s period of paternity leave coincides with a bank holiday, is the employer under any obligation to provide a compensatory day off or pay in lieu?
Can an employer require its employees to take holiday at a particular time?

Christmas bonuses

Weekly dilemma: Christmas bonuses
Employee benefits spend: The benefits of studying A Christmas Carol
During maternity leave a woman is not entitled to the benefit of terms and conditions relating to remuneration, but what counts as “remuneration”?
Where an employer has provided employees with a Christmas hamper in previous years is it under any obligation to continue this practice?


Christmas closures could lead to discrimination claims
Should employees who practise faiths other than Christianity be given additional annual leave to enable them to celebrate religious festivals?
Can Christian employees refuse to work on the bank holidays that are aligned to a Christian festival such as Easter?

Seasonal work

Employing under 18s: legal Q&A
Are employers required to pay school children on work experience the national minimum wage?
What are an employer’s legal obligations in relation to agency temps?
What is the status of workers engaged on casual or nil hours contracts?
Does an employer have to pay holiday pay to its casual workers?

XpertHR research into Christmas

Benchmarking Christmas and New Year working arrangements 2012/2013
Christmas during a recession: the 2009 IRS survey

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