Can you legally refuse to work on Boxing Day? This is what the law says 

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Christmas is a time for spending quality time with your family and friends and, most importantly, away from the office. 

Many workers will be downing their tools this Christmas and heading home to enjoy some festive fun with their nearest and dearest. 

Shopping The Moor Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees

Shopping The Moor Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees

But, there will be thousands of other people who will have to work this Christmas, even on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

Shop workers, bar staff and nurses are just some of the professions that will still be expected to turn up for work over the festive period. 

Shops in particular are incredibly busy over Christmas with many of them open every day, apart from Christmas Day, to make as many sales as possible. 

The sales start as early as Boxing Day with many shoppers taking full advantage of the discounts, meaning shops need as many staff as possible working. 

But, if you don’t fancy working that shift, can you actually be forced to?

Just because Boxing Day is a bank holiday, this does not mean workers are entitled to take day off. 

While workers are entitled to 28 days off a year this does not necessarily mean that you will automatically get bank holidays off. 

In fact, some employers insist that you have to work these days. 

The terms of bank holiday working will all depend on what is said in your contract of employment and in any policy. 

This means that there is no legal right for workers to have time off on Christmas Day or Boxing Day and its up to employers whether they allow staff to have the day off. 

The only way you’re sure of getting Boxing Day off is if your boss has approved your request of annual leave.

But, they can refuse this request if there is a good business reason. 

However, shop workers will usually get the day off on Christmas Day thanks to the Christmas Trading Act 2004 which bans most large stores from opening. 

Even if you are working on Christmas, there is no guarantee that you will be paid extra as there is no legal requirement to do so.