Aviva angers traditionalists by permitting staff to work Christmas Day

Aviva has been accused of “killing Christmas” after staff were told that they don’t have to take the day off if they’re not feeling festive, as part of a flexible bank holidays policy.

The FTSE 100 insurance giant has kicked off a six-month flexible bank holiday trial which allows UK staff to work on Christmas Day and take another day off instead, a decision which sources said led one staff member to accuse senior management of “killing Christmas” in an email.

Insiders said nobody else has complained to bosses about the policy, which mirrors similar schemes at accountants Deloitte and Grant Thornton as well as tech giant Spotify.

Only a handful of people at Aviva are understood to have asked to work on Christmas Day so far. 

However the angry response from one executive highlights how some fear that traditions such as the celebration of Christmas are under threat, with certain universities renaming the Christmas break the “winter break” or “winter closure period” over the last year.

Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church of England’s director of faith, said that while he is “deeply grateful to those who are obliged to work on Christmas Day, such as medical staff and emergency services” he believes that “Sundays and major holiday dates should remain times when families and friends can spend time together”.

Allowing staff to choose when to use bank holiday days is likely to become increasingly popular as businesses battle for talent by offering as much flexibility as possible.  


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