Do I have to work New Year’s Day and can I get double pay if I do? Your rights explained

For many of us, New Year’s Day will be a time dedicated solely to nursing a hangover. 

But others – including essential retail workers and those working in hospitals – will have to work over the holiday.

Check your contract or with your employer if you're unsure about your rights


Check your contract or with your employer if you’re unsure about your rightsCredit: Alamy

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, January 1 is a bank holiday.

It’s also a bank holiday for Scotland, as well as January 4 (although, this usually falls on the January 2).

But according to the government (which sets bank holidays), you don’t have an automatic right to paid leave on bank and public holidays.

This means that whether you work on New Year’s Day or not is up to your employer and the contract you agreed with them.

While your employer might need you to work, others will give the time off to employees as part of, or even on top of, statutory annual leave.

How to resolve an issue with your employer

IF you’ve got an issue with your employer, here is Citizens Advice’s tips on how to deal with it.

Step 1: speak to your employer

  • You could try having an informal chat with your employer (or HR department if they have one). Explain your concerns and try to resolve the issue.

Step 2: raise a grievance

  • Check if your employer has a formal grievance procedure you can use. Even if they haven’t, you can still raise a grievance – for example by writing a letter.
  • You could say something like: “My contract states my rights regarding bank holiday working. You have breached these terms.”

Step 3: get advice

  • If your employer doesn’t respond, or they do but it’s not the response you wanted, you should contact your local Citizens Advice
  • They’ll be able to advise you on what to do next – for example, whether you can take your case to an employment tribunal.

Unfortunately, if you do have to work, you might not get extra pay for New Year’s Day.

Employees aren’t automatically entitled to extra cash from their employer for working on bank holidays.

However, your employer might choose to pay you extra anyway.

Go back over the terms of your contract or speak to your employer if you’re unsure on where things stand.

The same rules apply to all other bank holidays throughout the year.

But New Year celebrations will be a little different this year.

Police have threatened Brits with £10,000 fines tonight if they break Covid rules to throw New Year’s Eve parties – with the nation being told to stay at home.

And if you’re worried about what you can and can’t do this New Year’s Eve under Covid restrictions, here’s a list of the rules for Tiers 4, 3 and 2.

You can still celebrate 2021 with a bang though. We rounded up a list of where you can get the cheapest bottles of bubbly from for New Year’s Eve.

New Zealand kicks off New Year’s Eve celebrations with epic firework display


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more