Finding Christmas casual jobs

Christmas is coming and money is tight but, thankfully, lots of companies need extra help just as much as you. Here’s how you can earn some extra pounds over Christmas. No, not the food kind… 

santa's hands typing on a laptop

Where can I find Christmas work?

The most obvious Christmas jobs are in the retail industry. Every year firms like Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco, Boots and Argos hire thousands of Christmas workers.

If you don’t fancy retail, how about helping out The Royal Mail? They need LOADS of Christmas casual shift workers to help them during their busiest period.

You can also sign up to a recruitment agency for temp work, which is great all year round and not just for Christmas.

And don’t forget your local independent shops around Christmas, especially butchers, greengrocers and toy shops. It’s always worth popping in and asking if they need extra pairs of hands!

How do I apply?

You can apply online with most of the large retailers, but their websites are often nationwide and may not provide details about local openings. So it’s a good idea to visit your local stores in person armed with copies of your CV. Try to avoid busy times such as evenings and weekends and you’ll have a better chance at speaking with a manager.

How much will I get paid?

Even if you’re only employed temporarily, you are still entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage, which is £7.20 per hour for those aged 25 and over, £6.95 for those aged 21-24, £5.55 for those aged 18-20 and £4 for under 18s.

You’ll also be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as long as you earn on average more than £112 a week (before tax).

Will I be able to stay on afterwards?

Quite possibly. If you do a good job and your employer is looking for more permanent staff then you could be in luck. Keep an eye and ear out for any opportunities, work hard, and let them know that you’d like to stay on if possible. There’s no harm in asking.

Remember, even if you can’t stay on, you’ll gain valuable experience to add to your CV and a good employment reference will definitely help you find a permanent job.

What if I’m a student?

Many retailers seek students as seasonal staff – not only are they available at the right times of year, they’re often retained in a casual staff pool for subsequent holidays. Similarly, if you had a job before you moved to university then it’s always worth keeping in touch as they may take you back on whenever you’re home.

Will a Christmas job affect my JSA?

If you’re receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will lose your entitlement if you start working more than 16 hours per week. However, there is a simplified process for reclaiming if it has been less than 26 weeks since your last payment, so getting your benefit back should be straightforward. Talk to your Jobcentre Plus about your individual circumstances. You may be eligible for a job grant and may continue to receive other benefits.

More information

  • The Mix is a free, confidential multichannel service giving young people in the UK the support, information and practical tools they need to be healthier, happier and more resilient.
  • The Student Room is the largest student community in the world with a range of online resources to help you get through university.
  • Go to Money Advice Service for free and impartial money advice.