Impact HR Blog

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Christmas is Just Around the Corner – Have You Given Notice to Your Employees About Your Christmas Close Down Yet?

8 October 2020

I wear a number of hats in my life. I am a business owner, but also very happy to be the mum of two amazing children. This time of year is particularly important to ensure I am planning ahead in both areas of my life. As the Christmas decorations go up in the stores, communication with your team needs to go up in priority in your business.

For some of our clients, this is the start of the busy season and things are about to get really busy. For others it is the start of a gradual decline and there may be a slower period over Christmas and New Year.

If you are planning to take advantage of your slower period of Christmas and with a Christmas shut down period, now is the time to be communicating to the team. If you have questions about a Christmas shut down, reach out to us. We are happy to help.

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? Do I have to decide now?
Although this year has been so unpredictable it may feel hard to make decisions right now, 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. And in the Fast Food industry you can’t insist on employees taking leave. So, the first step is to know your award. If you are not sure, we are here to help.

Do public holidays count as annual leave?
The public holidays (Christmas, Boxing and New Years day) are not deducted from your employees annual leave. Keep in mind that this year the Boxing Day Public Holiday is on the 28th of December, even though Boxing Day is on the 26th. That means there are three public holidays between the 24th of December and the 2nd of January 2021.

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 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 some times when we would advice managers and owners to think about it carefully. Our first step is 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 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? At Impact HR, we have a team of HR professionals who can help you with these questions.

You can access workplace advice as part of our obligation free consultation.
Click HERE to book your free 1-hour workplace advice consultation

 

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