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Christmas shutdown leave

20 October 2022

That’s right – it’s almost Christmas and time to start thinking about what your business will be doing over the holiday period.

For some of our clients, this is the beginning of their busy season and things are about to get very busy. For others it’s the start of a gradual decline and there may be a slower period over Christmas and New Year. If you’re planning to take advantage of your slower period of Christmas with a Christmas shut down, now is the time to be communicating to your team.

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions to help you make the right decisions for your business.

How much notice do I have to give to close over Christmas? And do I have to decide now?

It may feel hard to make decisions right now, however, some awards require you to provide 3 months’ notice of your intent to require employees to take leave, for others it may be only 4 weeks. In the Fast Food industry you can’t insist employees take leave. So, the first step is to know your award. If you’re not sure, ask us.

Do public holidays count as annual leave?

The public holidays (Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day) are not deducted from your employee’s annual leave.

What if my employees don’t have enough annual leave for the period the business is closed?

Employees covered by an award or an EBA are normally entitled to take the leave owing as paid and transition to unpaid leave after that. Once again it is important to know their award / agreement so contact us at Impact HR if you have any questions.

You may think about doing the “Christmasy” thing and offer leave in advance to team members who don’t have enough leave owing to them. There are times we would advise managers and owners to think about this carefully. It’s important to confirm if the award / EBA allows us to do that, but also is it something we can do every year for everyone?

What can I do if the employee doesn’t want to take the leave?

Before you get to this point, we may be able to assist. However, if your employees are not covered by an award or an agreement, there is no general right to require those employees to take unpaid leave or annual leave in advance. Where no agreement can be reached, they should be paid their usual wages. In this situation we can assist with how to manage that time and as ‘we’ are generally better at working from home now there are ways to make this work.

Unsure of Your Obligations?

Unsure about which award covers your employees or what your obligations are regarding Christmas close downs? At Impact HR, we have a team of HR professionals who can help you with these questions. Contact us on 1300 474 672  or send us an email if you need help.

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