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Christmas Close Down FAQs

28 September 2021

Plan | Communicate | Breathe

Now that October has arrived, it’s already time to start thinking about Christmas! Very importantly, it’s time to consider what your business will be doing over the slower period of Christmas. Transparent communication with your team needs to be a priority, especially given the unpredictability of 2021. If you have questions about a Christmas shut down, reach out to us. We are here to help you make the right decisions for your business.

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

2021 has been undoubtably difficult and it’s hard to predict the outcome of the year. However you do have to consider that some awards require you to provide 3 months’ notice of your intent to require employees to take leave, while for others it may be only 4 weeks.If you are in the Fast Food industry you can’t insist on employees taking leave. So, the first step is to know your award. Please contact us if we can help you determine the correct award.

 

Do public holidays count as annual leave?

The public holidays (Christmas, Boxing and New Years day) are NOT deducted from your employees annual leave. As these days fall on weekends, the public holiday will fall on a subsequent weekday:

  • Christmas Day Public Holiday – Monday 27th December 2021
  • Boxing Day Public Holiday –  Tuesday 28th of December 2021
  • News Year’s Day Public Holiday – Monday 3rd January 2022

 

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.
  • You may consider offering leave in advance to team members who have insufficient accrued leave. However, you must first confirm if their award / EBA has allowance to take leave in advance.
  • There are occasions when we would advise managers and owners to think about it carefully. Are you in the position to offer advance leave to everyone, every year? We can help you determine what is best for your business.

 

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

  • 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 we are generally better at working from home now so there are ways to make this work as well.

 

Unsure of Your Obligations?

Unsure about which award covers your employees or what your obligations are regarding Christmas close downs? We have a team of HR professionals who can help you with these questions.

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