Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Have a happy retail Christmas! Beware of Boxing Day

It's that time of the year when many retailers are rushed off their feet. I know my traditional readership falls at this time because people are too busy. I wanted to take this opportunity to say Happy Christmas to all of those that follow me. I know that my readers consist of independent retailers and people who work for bigger companies. This short blog today is going to be about the current debate on Boxing Day opening.

I have worked in retail for a long time and I know how tough it can be at this time of the year. Often the most important people in a store only get a day off at Christmas as they are needed on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. This is far too much pressure with the pay to match.

I know of many good retail managers that will look after their people. Most workers will get some time off over Christmas or the New Year period if it can be worked properly. I completely sympathise with all of the people that are signing the petition to stop retailers from opening on Boxing Day. I can honestly see a huge amount of sense in it but in my eyes it does not solve a problem. There are so many people from different industries that have to work on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day at all timed of the day and night that it is impractical to take one part of one industry and exclude it. If the shops were not open then people would shop online and then the pickers and delivery staff would be working anyway. There are no real winners here.

Healthcare, hospitality and taxi drivers are some of the many people that work on these days. Retail staff cannot be made an exception.

So what can be done?

I have worked with many retailers who try to make this as fair as possible. In the places I have worked with in the past it was either done on a 'year-on, year-off' basis or worked that it was voluntary where possible. Some (particularly those with older contracts)  are rewarded with higher pay rates on these days and are happier to come in as a result. Take a look at what might work for you.

As I said, this is only a short blog and a chance to say 'Happy Christmas.' I think that there will only be one more blog before Christmas so if I don't see you again have a good one. Here's to a fantastic retail 2017.

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