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We’re all familiar with the pre-Christmas shopping rush that affects the retail and logistics industries in particular. In Leicestershire and Rutland, we’re lucky to have a range of Christmas shopping options; last month’s mouth-watering ChocFest, Melton’s three day Victorian Christmas Fayre, Belvoir Castle’s traditional Christmas Extravaganza and Oakham’s late night Christmas shopping event – to name but a few. For businesses in the retail sector, Christmas Day usually marks the end of the shopping frenzy with a day off…before sales preparations begin. But this is not the same for everyone.
Who does work on Christmas Day?
According to the most currently available figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 3.3% of the UK’s employees worked on Christmas Day in 2014. That’s approximately 1.04 million people just getting on with their usual work routine. For them, the only real differences are vastly reduced public transport options and, perhaps, a jaunty Christmas themed addition to their work wear.
Keeping us safe
The emergency services never close. All during the Christmas period thousands of paramedics, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, police officers and their crucial ancillary staff take it in turns to look after the rest of us. Our armed service personnel provide round-the-clock security, so there is always someone on duty. Likewise with social and care workers, people don’t stop needing help just because it’s Christmas.
According to those ONS figures, these are the percentages of overall staff in specified jobs that worked on Christmas Day in 2014: 26% midwives, 15% nurses, 17% nursing auxiliaries and assistants, 18% police officers, 26% senior care workers, 23% care workers and home carers and 8% medical practitioners.
Caring for animals
Anyone with a dog knows that the food, walks and belly rubs routine cannot be abandoned, even if it is Christmas Day. Imagine being responsible for feeding and caring for a whole farm’s worth of animals. Early morning feeds cannot be skipped, no matter how much of Santa’s spirits you shared on Christmas Eve. Animal parks, zoos and all the many homes for lost or abandoned animals will still be working to look after those in their care.
Keeping humans fed, watered and entertained
As a growing number of people eat Christmas dinner out, more restaurant staff are required to work all the way through Christmas Day. Even nipping in to your local for a festive ‘quick one’ needs a bartender to serve it. Then there are all those in the entertainment industry, from TV voice over announcers to musicians playing Christmas Day concerts. It’s good to appreciate their efforts, if we’re lucky enough to be enjoying ourselves.
Many self employed people aren’t able to take time off during the festive season. Or, they only take off a couple of days. Particularly for sole traders, taking any time off in your own business is a difficult balancing act. At least if you’re an incorporated company you can claim tax relief on your Christmas party!
Even if you’re not directly ‘on the job’ on Christmas day, if you’re self employed you might be using the national shutdown to catch up on essential admin. HMRC revealed that 2,590 taxpayers filed their self assessment tax returns on Christmas Day 2017. 6,033 submitted their forms on Christmas Eve and 7,655 on Boxing Day. Now that it’s digital, the DVLA also have festive figures for how many people used their services on Christmas day last year:
- 91 paid a fine – the least Christmassy thing of all
- 1,295 changed their address details
- 14,000 taxed their vehicle
- 6,112 looked at their driving licence
- 629 purchased a personalised registration number (perhaps with Christmas money!)
Here at the Leicestershire and Rutland Business Club, we’re having our Christmas ’do’ in January – something to look forward to after all the decorations are put away again. It’s been great to learn about each other’s areas of expertise and problem solve together this year. If you’ve got ‘networking’ on your 2019 business ‘to do’ list, why don’t you come along for a no obligation, free visit. Give us a quick call now and book in for the new year. That’s one thing you can tick off already!
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!