'Check your pay' call to people in Christmas jobs

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Festive workers who may be missing out on the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage are being urged to check their pay.

Seasonal staff and students on short-term contracts over the Christmas period, including those working in shops, hotels, Christmas markets, garden centres, restaurants and warehouses, are legally entitled to the same minimum rates as other workers.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is reminding all workers to check their hourly rate of pay - in particular, looking out for any unpaid working time, such as time spent opening and closing a shop, training, picking up extra shifts and working longer hours. Deductions, for things like uniforms or tools, can also reduce pay rates.

In 2022-23, HMRC identified wage arrears of £13.7 million due to more than 108,000 underpaid UK workers.

Marc Gill, Director Individuals and Small Business Compliance, HMRC, said:

"We want to make sure that all workers, including seasonal staff and students, are being paid what they are due this festive period, which is why we are reminding everyone to check their pay.

"People should check their hourly rate and look out for any deductions or unpaid working time. It could take them below the minimum wage.

"HMRC looks into every minimum wage complaint, so if you think you are being short-changed you should get in touch. Don't lose out - report it."

The National Minimum Wage hourly rates are currently:

  • £10.42 - Age 23 and over (National Living Wage)
  • £10.18 - Age 21 to 22
  • £7.49 - Age 18 to 20
  • £5.28 - Age under 18
  • £5.28 - Apprentice

Anyone not being paid what they are entitled to, or people concerned that someone they know may not be getting paid correctly, can report it online at https://www.gov.uk/minimum-wage-complaint. It is an easy process that takes around ten minutes and reports can be made after the employment has ended.

To speak with someone, raise a concern or get further information, people can also phone the Acas Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0300 123 1100 for confidential, free advice (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm). In Northern Ireland contact the Labour Relations Agency.

Employers can access support at any time to ensure they are paying their workers correctly:

They can also contact the Acas helpline for advice.