It’s that time of year again – the decorations are out, school’s nearly over, we’re planning Christmas parties, buying presents, preparing for holidays… If your business is shutting down over the Christmas / New Year break, you need to consider how your staff will be paid during that time. This is depend on the Award or agreement they’re covered by.
Directing an employee to take annual leave
An employee can be directed to take annual leaving during a shut down if your Award allows it. Most Awards have rules about how and when you can direct your employees to take leave. For example, you may need to give your employee 4 weeks notice if you intend to shut down and they need to take this time from their annual leave.
What if an employee doesn’t have enough annual leave?
If the Award allows it, you can direct your staff to take annual leave in advance of it being accrued, or unpaid leave. It isn’t our recommendation that you allow staff to take leave in advance because this becomes a tricky situation if that employee leaves before they’ve accrued the time back. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider the amount of leave an employee has, and factor this into the period of notice that you’ll give them.
What happens if a public holiday falls during an employee’s annual leave?
Like any other time of the year, if a public holiday falls during an employee’s annual leave and that day would have been their normal working day (for full time and part time staff), then that day is paid as a normal day, not taken from annual leave. So if you’re only closed for a couple of weeks around Christmas and New Year, your staff may not be using a full two weeks of annual leave due to the public holidays during that time.
Working during a shut down
If you have some employees who continue to work when a business shuts down, they should be paid as normal. If they work on public holidays, they should be paid as such, according to your Award.
For us, Christmas is a time of family, reflection and gratitude; and we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe festive season!