Temporary Christmas workers – your rights

temporary christmas workers your rights

Working over Christmas and want to know your rights?

If you’re about to take a break from studying over the festive period, or you’re just looking for temporary work, you might be thinking about taking advantage of the increasing number of retailers and other employers looking for workers to cover the busy Christmas period.

The nature of temporary work can be fast-paced, often leaving people lost as to rulings on minimum wage and tax. That’s where we come in…

For a brief summary, we asked the Money Advice Service what you need to know.

What pay am I entitled to?

How you go about getting a job will dictate how you’re paid and what tax you pay. While many employers will advertise directly in-store, on their website and through newspapers, others will use agencies to source workers.

If you’re employed through an agency you have a contract with them rather than the place of work. The agency will state what you are paid and the sum must be at least the minimum wage for someone of your age. As of 2019, anyone aged 18 to 20 must be paid at least £6.56 an hour, which rises to £8.36 an hour when they hit 21.

You’re entitled to a pay slip showing how much you’ve earned, how much National Insurance (NI) you pay and what tax band you are on. You will have a personal tax allowance of £10,000 for the current financial year – so contact the tax office once you stop working to ensure you get tax payments back. If you earn less than £153 a week you don’t pay NI.

Note that if you are getting paid cash-in-hand and have no record of your tax or NI contributions being made your employer may be breaking the law. Not getting a P45 when you leave is another reason to check whether the provider has been playing by the rules.

Visit the Government’s Pay and Work Rights Helpline for more advice on workers’ rights at work.

For more information on temping and agency work, read the Money Advice Service’s guide for advice on pay and benefits.

All information accurate at time of publication.

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