HR · 7 December 2016

Will you be working on Christmas and New Year’s Day?

Around 472,000 small firm owners will work every day over the festive period in 2016

Almost half a million small UK business owners will be working on Christmas Day this year due to the growing costs involved in recruiting staff, new research has revealed.

A new study from Opinium, on behalf of online company selling platform Bizdaq, has revealed as many as 472,000 owners at small firms will work every day over the festive period in 2016, including working on Christmas Day itself.

Roughly half of all small business owners will fail to hire additional staff to help with the busy time of year due to rising recruitment costs.

The survey showed that 2.3m small businesses throughout the UK were being held back by high training and employment costs, with the new national minimum wage and national living wage cited by owners as major reasons for not being able to make further hires.

It isn’t just over the Christmas period that small business owners are sacrificing their down time. The research indicated these owners give up more than two weeks of holiday time a year to keep their businesses ticking over, taking 11 fewer holiday days on average than other full-time workers.

Small business owners in the North of England are missing out the most. The survey uncovered owners in the region are working on Christmas almost 1.5 days more on average than those in the South.

Commenting on the findings, Bizdaq CEO Sean Mallon said the study provided further evidence owners at small firms were being undermined. “It is clear that small business owners are being let down by successive governments.

“The hard work and effort put into running a small business isn’t reflected on the government’s attitude towards them, despite employing 14.7m people across the UK.

“There have been many initiatives created with much noise, however the delivery has often been poor at best.”

Despite the high number of small businesses unable to afford to train and recruit more staff, a surprisingly small proportion have considered taking on an apprentice. Just 14 per cent of small business owners intend to hire an apprentice in 2017, according to the survey.

“The apprenticeship scheme is a great idea, however many small business owners still have very little knowledge or access to this,” Mallon went on to say.

“That over 60 per cent of small business owners won’t get a break and are working on Christmas goes to show the dedication and passion they possess, but 43 per cent citing higher taxes as a reason contributing towards having to work such long hours is very disappointing.”

Agency workers earn less for the same role than permanent employees

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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