Christmas bonus | Could staff be paid £200 instead of a festive party?

Could staff be paid £200 instead of a festive party?

The annual work Christmas party is arguably an event that all employees look forward to, however, this year things will need to take place slightly differently due to social distancing rules and workplaces being closed.

Despite this, it seems employees still want to enjoy some form of Christmas festivities, so much so that many companies have shared that they will be taking the Christmas party online this year.

In a recent survey of corporate events professionals, events platform Hire Space found that a whopping 89% of UK businesses are looking to enjoy the festivities virtually with their team members.

However, a new initiative could see employers pay their staff a bonus instead of paying for a virtual Christmas party. According to Metro, Labour MP Chris Evans has penned a letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak sharing how he could help businesses treat their staff to a ‘few extra quid’ at no cost to themselves.

Currently, businesses can have a tax-deductible Christmas bash worth £150 a head if the event is open to all staff and is designed for team-building purposes. In addition, employers are also allowed to give a tax-deductible gift of up to £50, which can include things such as a bottle of wine or Christmas meal.

Can Christmas parties take place?

While the Government imposed lockdown is set to lift before many companies will plan on having their festive fun – the lockdown in England is expected to end on December 2 – the rule of six is still expected to continue in order to help the spread of the virus, limiting Christmas parties greatly.

Due to this, Evans is asking to allow organisations to transfer the money to employees as a Christmas gift and thank you to ‘make up for the odd working conditions of 2020’. He wrote: “It’s win-win for everybody. The workers would get a few extra quid, it would be a morale booster for the company and it wouldn’t cost them an extra penny.

“It would be up to the employers to decide if they want to do this of course, but it would be a good way of saving money in the long run. And it might just save Christmas spirit for a few people along the way.”

Other options

Having extra cash in their pockets will of course be welcomed by many employees, however, if an employer doesn’t want to go down this route there are other options that can be considered. For example, Morna Dason-Barber, HR Director for the IET, previously offered HR Grapevine these alternative suggestions: “If Christmas parties cannot be held, alternative options include going back to the traditional Christmas gifts, giving staff hampers, vouchers or additional time off.”

She also added that it is more worthwhile than ever for employers to thank staff for their hard work this year, which has thrown out plenty of challenges for employees to tackle.

“Christmas parties are definitely a great way to say thank you to staff, providing an opportunity for senior leaders to acknowledge the hard work of their teams during a troubling year and to provide direction and reassurance for the upcoming year,” Dason-Barber explained.

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