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Even if you’re not feeling quite ready to get the tree out and put decorations up, it’s never too soon to start preparing your business for the busy festive season!

Many businesses opt to hire one or more extra pairs of hands, depending on how busy they usually are. Industries like retail and hospitality in particular are well known for hiring temporary staff this time of year – often referred to as Christmas temps. But what are the rules surrounding temps and employment?

We’ll ensure you know exactly what they are so you can reap the benefits of hiring Christmas employees while staying on the right side of employment law – especially if you’re hiring your first employee!

How much do I have to pay Christmas temps?

Christmas temps, like all workers, have a legal right to be paid the minimum amount for their age. From 1st April 2024 until 31st March 2025 the rates are:

Employee Age The minimum amount you must pay
Apprentices and under 18s £6.40 per hour
18 – 20 £8.60 per hour
21 and older £11.44 per hour

You can, of course, pay more than this, just don’t forget to factor in other costs on top of your employee’s wages, such as National Insurance contributions you must make as their employer in addition to what you pay them.

Use our online salary calculator to work out the cost of hiring someone.

Christmas temp employee and worker’s rights

Employment law can differ between permanent and temporary employees – but there are certain laws set out to protect all workers and they include:

  • The maximum they can work is 48 hours per week
  • They must take regular rest breaks at appropriate times throughout their shift
  • All staff need to have a payslip which clearly shows how much they’ve made, their National Insurance deductions, and any tax deductions
  • Under the Equality Act 2010, discrimination laws are applicable to all staff, including temporary employees – this means any member of staff can challenge you for making any discriminatory decision


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Do I need to provide temporary Christmas staff with an employment contract?

It’s a legal requirement in the UK for all workers to receive an employment contract. If you’re hiring Christmas temps, you’ll need to provide them with a fixed-term contract that states their start and finish date. You can end the contract early, but you’ll need to ensure your right to do this is stated clearly in the contract – otherwise, they will need to work until the date specified.

Some employers choose to keep their Christmas temps on – just make sure you give them a new contract if you do.

It’s a legal requirement that all temporary staff receive their contracts early on – but it’s also good for you, as you’ll have peace of mind that all parties know where they stand.

For example

If you hire someone in October in preparation for the festive period, but don’t state an end date in the contract, the employee may believe they’re permanent, which could cause a few issues.

Do Christmas temps receive holiday pay?

Christmas temps can accrue holiday pay the same way a permanent employee can. As their employer, you’ll need to calculate how much they’re entitled to depending on how long they work with you.

Full-time workers who work 5 days a week are legally entitled to 28 days of annual leave. So, if you have a Christmas temp working forty hours a week over five days, divide 28 by 12 to get the monthly accrued days, and then multiply the answer by the number of months they’ll work.

For example

Let’s say you hire someone to work from 1st October to 31st December on a 3 month contract.

28 (days of annual leave) divided by 12 (months in a year) = 2.33333333333

2.33 x 3 (months, the length of their contract) = 7 days of annual leave.

What happens if a temporary worker doesn’t take their leave?

If the Christmas employee doesn’t take all the leave they accrue, you’ll need to pay the equivalent amount for that number of days in their final payslip.

Where can I find Christmas temps?

There are many ways you can find Christmas temp workers. These could include:

  • Putting up flyers in your workplace
  • Advertising on platforms such as Indeed and LinkedIn
  • Social media posts and paid social media advertising
  • Use refer-a-friend schemes with your employees

These are just a handful of ways you can find temporary workers, and many job sites offer free advertising if it’s your first time using the platform.

Running a business and need an accountant? Call us on 020 3355 4047 or get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Rachael Anderson

A creative content writer specialising across business, finance and software topics. I have a love for all things writing, and creating engaging, easy to understand content that helps everyday people! Learn more about Rachael.

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