Christmas jobs

The festive season is fast approaching and Santa isn't the only one who needs extra help. The Mix goes on a mission to find the best Christmas jobs - Kerr-Ching!

Two santas working in a factory

Help Father Christmas out.

Who’s hiring Christmas workers?

Despite the gloomy economic situation, there’s still an abundance of Christmas jobs to help boost your pressie fund.

The most obvious Christmas jobs are in the retail industry. Every year firms like Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco, Boots and Argos hire thousands of Christmas workers.

And if you don’t fancy retail, there are still other opportunities for Christmas-career hunters. The Royal Mail needs LOADS of Christmas casual shift workers to help them during their busiest period.

Also, the huge number of Christmas events means catering firms and hospitality outlets are also in need of extra people. Childcare centres may also take on extra helpers due to an increase in enrolments during holiday periods.

How should I apply?

You can apply online with most of the large retailers, but their websites are often nationwide and may not provide details about local openings. It’s a good idea to visit stores close to you in person armed with copies of your CV, but avoid busy times such as evenings and weekends and you’ll have a better chance at speaking with a manager. Most seasonal jobs don’t begin until December, so November is the perfect time to start looking.

Where will it lead?

Lots of seasonal workers for retail chains are offered the chance to further their career. So if you’re looking at something more permanent than just boosting your festive spending money, take advantage of any training schemes that are offered to you.

Not all jobs will offer the opportunity to stay on after the holiday period. However, they’ll still provide valuable experience to add to your CV and a good employment reference will definitely help you find a permanent job.

Will they take me if I’m a student?

Many retailers actually seek students as seasonal staff – not only are they available at the right times of year, they’re often retained in a casual staff pool for subsequent holidays. While some employers may be more hesitant and prefer to take on people with the desire to stay on permanently, it’s best to be up front about your situation. Both Sainsbury’s and ASDA say a large proportion of their returning seasonal colleagues are students.

Does my Christmas job have rights?

Even if you’re only employed temporarily, you are still entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage, which is £7.20 per hour for those aged 25 and over, £6.95 for those aged 21-24, £5.55 for those aged 18-20 and £4 for under 18s.

You are also entitled to paid holidays – currently 28 days per year for those in full-time employment – although the amount you’ll receive will depend on how many hours you work each week, and your employment period. Businesses do have the right to decide when you can take these holidays, and it’s possible if you’re taken on for a short period, they’ll ask you not to take any. In this case, they’ll pay you for the holidays you’ve accrued when you finish up. If you earn over £112 (before tax) per week and you’re ill for more than four days in a row, you’ll also be entitled to statutory sick pay.

How will Christmas work affect my JSA?

If you’re receiving Jobseekers Allowance, you will lose your entitlement if you start working more than 16 hours per week. However, there is a simplified process for reclaiming if it has been less than 26 weeks since your last payment, so getting your benefit back should be straightforward. Talk to your Jobcentre Plus about your individual circumstances. You may be eligible for a job grant and may continue to receive other benefits.

Next Steps

  • Looking for a mentor to help boost your knowledge and skills? Find a youth zone close to you.
  • Reveal your skills with Define Me and find the right words to tell employers.
  • Download Motimator - an app that helps you get the career you want - by giving you a gentle kick up the ass each day when motivation is running low.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


Updated on 02-Nov-2015

Picture of Father Christmas by Shutterstock.