Labour urges respect for all workers this Christmas

16 December 2022

Labour employment spokesperson Marie Sherlock has said the Christmas rush cannot be an excuse for any employer breaching workers’ rights.

Reminding workers of the rights under the Organisation of Working Time Act, Senator Sherlock said workers cannot be exploited during the busy Christmas season in hospitality and retail in particular.

Senator Sherlock said:

“This is the busiest time of year for workers in the retail and hospitality sector. It is the duty of all employers to have strict regard to the Organisation of Working Time Act to ensure workers’ health and safety over the coming week.

“Workers must not exceed 48 hours of work per week. If your hours change from week to week, an employer must tell you your start and finish time at least 24 hours before your first day of work. This is crucial for these workers who are also entitled to get out at a reasonable hour and meet friends and family in the run up to Christmas.

“Breaks are vital at this time. In a crowded restaurant or busy shopping centre, workers need to make sure they are getting their 15 minute break after 4 and a half hours have been worked, and a full 30-minute break where more than 6 hours have been worked. The importance of proper resting time cannot be understated.

“As people rush to stock up on last minute gifts, food and other items, workers themselves will have their own concerns about their health and family situations. Employers must ensure that workers are protected and have a zero tolerance for any abuse of workers. There is no excuse for disrespect – any time of year.”

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