Working the bank holidays and the Christmas period can be lucrative for cash-strapped students. It’s a period many other workers prefer not to work, so casual or part-time staff are often encouraged to provide cover. For some people this is an unhappy burden, for others it is just like working any other day. The one issue that comes up time and time again though is whether workers are entitled to any additional pay as a result of working on such holidays.
There are many misconceptions about the rights of workers on public holidays. The reality is that there are generally no legal entitlements with much resting on the terms and conditions of employment, often set out in a staff handbook. According to trade union USDAW, there is no legal right to take paid time off on a Public Holiday or to receive premium payments for working on such a holiday.
In practice though many employers will pay a premium (e.g. double pay) or provide additional time off in lieu, pro rata depending on the hours you work. These should be set out in the staff handbook or, if they have done so continuously in previous years, it may be customary.
Bank and public holidays are typically added to your annual leave entitlement (e.g. full time worker will get 20 days plus 8 public holidays) but, again, this is not a legal requirement and such days can legitimately be included in your annual leave.
You can get more answers to common holiday season working questions on the TUC website.