Thousands are calling for shops to close on Boxing Day so staff can get time off to spend the festive period with their families.
It comes after Home Bargains announced the closure of stores on December 26 to give their “hard-working staff” an extra day off, despite it being one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
The discount chain also shut on Boxing Day last year so workers could enjoy a longer break over Christmas.
The day off will not be taken out of the staff’s 28-day holiday allowance, meaning their 22,000 employees will still get paid while they are away from work.
In a statement on Twitter, Home Bargains wrote: “To all our staff: Thank you for all your hard work once again this year.
“All our stores will be closed on Boxing Day to ensure you are able to spend time with your friends and family.”
The post also thanked customers for their “understanding and support”, adding that their doors would reopen on December 27.
A petition launched last year is now gaining traction again as social media users call for more stores to close.
Almost 50,000 people have signed their name to the campaign on Change.org, which says that “staff should not be forced to spend Boxing Day away from loved ones so shoppers can get a new pair of half-price trainers that they will not even wear before starting their New Year’s resolutions at the gym.”
Graham Stevens wrote on the page: “I work in Sainsbury’s and to all the managers it’s like a normal day. Why can’t we spend the day with out families? It’s not going to hurt.”
Jessica Elias also commented, saying: “Retail workers deserve more time to spend with family when they have been working really hard all the way up to Christmas already.”
“We are not robots. We need family time,” Tracey Button wrote.
On Twitter, hundreds of people have also been rallying for more stores to close, with one user saying: “Every shop should do this, well done home bargains!”
Another said: “Most retailers won’t close on Boxing day as they say it’s their busiest trade day.
“That may be but, take a leaf out of HB book and, naturally, the busiest trade day will move to 28th. Not rocket science. Bravo HB for looking after your staff and respecting precious family time!”