Cancel the Xmas party and give us money, say staff

The planning started weeks ago and the date is already in the diary for the work Christmas party, but the majority of work partygoers would rather have the cash, new research from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

Its nationwide study of employees found 71 per cent would rather have the cash the company spends per head as a payout rather than the party. Younger workers are slightly more up for a party, but even 65 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds would rather have the money instead of a Christmas do.

MetLife’s research shows that work Christmas parties are being held at organisations employing nearly six out of ten workers (59 per cent) this year with London employees the most likely to have a Christmas bash at 71 per cent.

The reluctance to party might be driven by the fact that many workers are forced to take time off over the Christmas season. Thirty-three per cent of employees say they have to take holiday over Christmas and New Year because their organisation closes. That is even higher in SMEs, where 50 per cent say they shut for Christmas and require staff to take time off, research shows.

“Christmas parties can be great for morale and rewarding staff for their hard work throughout the year but it does seem as if most staff would rather just have the money,” says Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife UK. 

“That is understandable with finances under pressure but it should not mean companies give up on rewarding staff with parties and other benefits which are not directly related to pay.

“In any case bonuses or cash payments have to be taxed while employers can spend up to 150 a head on Christmas parties without employees having to pay tax. Workers probably are better off enjoying the party.”

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