Are You Shutting Down Over Christmas/ New Year?

An employee can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down if their award or registered agreement allows it.

What is a shut down?

A shut down is when a business temporarily closes during slow periods of the year, such as Christmas and New Year. It is also called a ‘close down’.

Depending on your award or registered agreement there may be a period of notice required to be given to the employee in the case of a business shut down.

For example, in the Transport, Retail, Clerical awards a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice is required to be given. In the Building & Construction Award the notice period is 2 months.

It is important that the check the requirements that apply for your business.

During this shut down period Employees can be directed to take annual leave.

If they don’t have sufficient leave to cover the shut down period, they will have to take all their accrued annual leave and then unpaid leave to make up the balance.

Public Holidays are still required to be paid for on the days that occur during this shut down period.

Staff continue to accrue leave entitlements as they normally would on any paid leave during this time.

But what if my award or agreement doesn’t allow this or even mention it?

If your award or agreement doesn’t have rules about annual leave during shut downs, an employer can’t direct an employee to take leave.

However, an employer and employee can agree that the employee takes annual leave (including in advance of accrual) or unpaid leave for the shut down time.

The employee can’t be forced to take unpaid leave, so if an agreement can’t be reached with their employer, they need to be paid their ordinary pay for the time.

What are the Public Holidays?

Public Holidays are still required to be paid for on the days that occur during this shut down period.

Make sure you know what public holidays are coming up.

Can Employees continue to work during a shut down?

If employees continue to work when a business shuts down they should be paid as normal.

If any of the days are public holidays, these days are treated as public holidays.

This means the employee should be given the day off without loss of pay or they should be paid public holiday rates as per their award or agreement.

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