December 16 is an important date.
Ten days before the big day, it will be celebrated as Christmas Jumper Day 2016.
But not at Jobcentre branches in Greater Manchester.
Staff at all the area’s branches have reportedly been banned from taking part, because bosses think it is unprofessional to show up at the office with a big embroidered Santa Clause or the lyrics to Jingle Bells on your sweater.
The annual fundraising day raises thousands of pounds for Save the Children, and people had been looking forward to contributing to charity while having a laugh at the same time.
Staff have taken part for the last two years, donating £2 to arrive looking festive, but this time they have been told to come to work in their normal clothes, the MEN reports.
‘We were told it wasn’t appropriate when working with people who are on the breadline – that some people might think it’s unprofessional for us to be wearing Christmas jumpers,’ a source told the paper.
‘But we’ve never had any complaints before. What on earth could be inappropriate about supporting a children’s charity?
‘You go into a Job Centre for help to claim your benefit. We can’t see why anyone would object to us taking part in this charity day.’
A DWP spokesperson said: ‘Jobcentre Plus colleagues do an excellent job to support local causes, and routinely take part in annual charity days raising over £10,000 each year – including Christmas Jumper Day.
‘We also expect, particularly in customer-facing roles that involve working with the most vulnerable, that colleagues present themselves in a professional way that inspires confidence.’