Christmas party

Agency Workers to be invited to NHS Christmas Parties?

17 December 2014

An article in the Daily Mail caught our eye this morning with the headline that Agency Workers working for the Brighton and Sussex Universities NHS Trust should also be considered when inviting staff to the annual Christmas Party.

With The Agency Workers regulations demanding equal treatment of agency workers with those of permanent staff then this seems like a logical reaction. Whether all businesses will follow suit remains to be seen.

Whether HMRC would allow the cost of inviting non-employees to an annual event could be an interesting discussion? It would be hard to say Agency Workers need to be treated as employees but then exclude them from the employee exemption regarding Christmas Parties (generally Christmas Parties are tax deductible but not charged as a benefit in kind to the employee). We wrote an earlier article on the subject here: http://www.umbrella.co.uk/industry-news/2014/11/contractor-christmas-parties#sthash.1OQTWkz9.dpbs

The Daily Mail article goes on to highlight some more of the points which the document covers such as how to treat under 18’s when the event is on licensed premises, that absence the following day could be treated as unauthorised absence and subject to disciplinary and the importance of not discriminating against workers who care for children by holding parties too late.

In the current legislative environment it does seem important that employers and employees have to treat the Christmas Party as a work situation. The days of free bars and people responsible for their own actions are well gone.

Other sensible ideas can include giving staff a fixed number of drink tokens and ensuring transport home is paid for to ensure people can return home safely from far away venues.

The full Daily Mail article is available at:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2876170/Brighton-Sussex-University-Hospitals-NHS-trust-sends-bizarre-list-guidelines-staff-make-sure-Christmas-party-politically-correct.html

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