Bosses at Morrisons have told staff they can have Boxing Day off this year as a thank you for their hard work during the pandemic.
The supermarket made the announcement to its 111,000 workers on Tuesday.
It will be the first time the grocer has shut stores on December 26 in living memory.
Last year, several rivals agreed to give staff the day off to spend time with families and loved ones after one of the hardest years in retail, with shelves stripped bare and workers battling to keep the nation fed during the pandemic.
Asda, Marks & Spencer, Pets At Home, Aldi, Lidl and The Entertainer all said they would remain shut on December 26, despite having opened in previous years.
Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s were open on Boxing Day, although some offered staff incentives to work.
Joanne McGuiness, national officer at shop workers’ union Usdaw, said: “The last year-and-a-half has been unlike any other.
“The pandemic meant shop workers stepped up and kept essential services running. We welcome Morrisons doing the right thing by their staff with the closure of supermarkets on Boxing Day.
“Key workers have done so much this year and we are asking retailers to give their staff the longest possible break over the festive season to provide them with a well-deserved breather. We don’t think this is too much to ask for.”
The move by Morrisons comes just weeks before the conclusion of a takeover battle that will see the supermarket become a privately owned business, with private equity houses Fortress and Clayton, Dubliner & Rice (CD&R) both making bids.
There have been concerns that staff welfare could drop under new ownership, but both suitors have vowed to maintain standards for employees.