Can you force annual leave during a Christmas close down?

Q. My business closes each Christmas period for a couple of weeks. Can I direct my employees to take annual leave during a Christmas close down?

A: When a business closes temporarily during slow periods such as Christmas time, this is called a ‘close down’.

Employers may be wondering whether they can direct an employee to use up some of their annual leave entitlements during a close down period, or they may be wondering how to handle this period in general. Employers should check their applicable Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement to understand the rules that apply for the direction of annual leave during such a period and also whether a close down situation applies to their business at all.

Awards vary in content from one to another, so don’t make the mistake of thinking all modern awards will state the same thing in regard to a Christmas close down. Many Awards and Agreements do allow the direction of annual leave for shut downs though. Generally if it is allowed, employers will be required to provide a reasonable amount of notice, and there may be some rules about how the leave must be paid or handled.

Where an employee is not covered by an Award or an Agreement, the employer can direct an employee to take leave as long as it’s reasonable.

Industryus HR highly recommends employers check the relevant Award or Agreement to ascertain the rules, and to speak to a HR professional prior to acting.

If you need assistance with matters such as employee entitlements and the rules around Pay and Awards, you may wish to consider Industryus HR’s membership, where members can get in touch about HR matters whenever they arise. It offers value for money assistance and peace of mind so that you can get on with managing your business. Call us on 07 5655 4047 or click here to book in a free introductory call to find out more.

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