Season's Greetings and leave entitlements - CTU

The CTU wishes everyone a safe and happy summer holiday, and wants to remind workers of their rights during the holiday season.

Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, said "the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for some businesses, and many people will be working over the holiday period, especially in the retail, hospitality and tourism industries. Essential industries will also be busy. Employers need to ensure that all workers are treated fairly."

Peter Conway said "more and more people are working less and less structured hours - this increase in insecure work, combined with the added pressure of families needing to earn extra cash, means that people can often find themselves working over the holiday period and wondering what their rights are."

This includes wages, health and safety, but also leave entitlements.

"If you work on a public holiday - this year that is Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th December, Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd January, then you are entitled to a paid day off, if you would usually work these days."

"If you are at work on these days then you must be paid for hours worked at a rate of at least one and half times your normal pay rate and, if you normally work on that day, get another paid day off at a later date."

Peter Conway says "people should look at what is in their employment agreement - it may have in it whether you have to work and what you should be paid. You cannot be made to work a public holiday, unless your agreement says so."

Peter Conway said each year there are questions about whether a holiday is on a day that you would usually work. "For most workers this is obvious, but in some cases where there might be changing shift patterns and days of work, it is less clear."

Employers can, and often do close down over the Christmas- New Year period. They can only do this once every 12 months, but they can require employees to take annual leave to cover the time. The employer must give workers at least 14 days’ notice if they intend to have a close down period.

Unions will be able to assist with queries as will the Labour Department.

Peter Conway said that the best protection for all workers is to join a union, be covered by a negotiated collective employment agreement, and speak up over any workplace issues.

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