Asda in Kingston is allowing employees to take “Nativity leave” to avoid them missing their children’s Christmas plays this year.
Despite the 20% decline in business caused by the fatberg traffic disruptions this year, the local supermarket has decided to offer employees the same initiative as other Asda stores around the country.
As Carl Mortimer, manager of the Kingston Asda, said: “Nativity leave is trying to recognise that this is such an important thing for a lot of people in this time of year.
“I try as a store manager to be as flexible as I can with my team; we’ve all got commitments and we’ve all got things that we do outside of work, but they in return give a lot back.”
Asda employs 180 people at the Kingston supermarket, and about a third of them are parents.
“We’ve got a real community feeling in this store,” Mr Mortimer said. “They tend to sort themselves out among themselves.”
One mother who is taking advantage of the Nativity leave is Sheila Marie-Rose. Her children, who are six and ten years old, are a ‘shepherd’ and a ‘bystander’ in nativity plays this Christmas.
Marie-Rose said: “It’s very good. The flexibility is awesome. You can take the day off to be with your kids, and we all love it.”
Although the Fatberg caused disruption to the normal flow of commerce in the store, Mr Mortimer doesn’t think that this Christmas will be bad for business.
“The economy at the moment is pretty tough, the supermarket industry is really tough. I think we are probably doing better than most,” he said.
Amy Garbutt, PR Manager at Asda, said nothing would change in the business because of Nativity leave, but parents working at the supermarket will certainly notice a positive difference this Christmas.
Image courtesy of Rex Features