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Forget the Christmas party, employees want cash instead

Business people celebrating Christmas in the office.
Alija | E+ | Getty Images
Business people celebrating Christmas in the office.

Companies planning to splash out on Christmas parties for their hard-working staff shouldn't bother, according to new research, as most employees would prefer the cash instead.

Some 71 percent of workers in the U.K. would rather have the money their employer spends per-head than a party, research by life and pension group Metlife found. And perhaps surprisingly, even 65 percent of younger workers, aged between 18-24, would opt for a pay-out over an end-of-year bash.

(Read more: Black Friday shoppers beware—the 12 scams of Christmas)

This reluctance to party might be down to the fact that many workers are forced to take time off over the Christmas season, Metlife said.

A third of employees based in the U.K. said they have to take holiday over Christmas and New Year because their organization closes, with that number rising to 50 percent in the case of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a poll conducted by Consumer Intelligence.

"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," said Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife U.K.

(Read more: After cheap gifts this Christmas? Here's where to go…)

"In any case, bonuses or cash payments have to be taxed, while employers can spend up to £150 ($245) a head on Christmas parties without employees having to pay tax. Workers probably are better off enjoying the party."

Nearly six out of British 10 workers will enjoy a Christmas party this year, the research found, with employees based in London the most likely to have a festive do.

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