The countdown to Christmas Holidays is on! Let us guide you on your HR requirements this Christmas.
November 21, 2023|
The festive season is on our doorstep and it’s time to start planning gifts, lunches, trips and if you’re a business owner – your staff… Will you be closing your business down over the holiday period? If so you need to consider what you can legally request from your team members.
If covered by an award or enterprise agreement then generally these agreements will allow you to direct an employee to take annual leave during any shutdown period. For award or enterprise free employees, employers may require employees to take a period of leave in reasonable circumstances which would be classed as business closure between Christmas and New Year.
Best practice is to check the award or enterprise agreement and provide suitable notice to team members (generally 4 weeks is acceptable).
If staff do not have enough accrued annual leave the award or enterprise agreement may direct employees to take unpaid leave. However if the relevant agreement does not stipulate this then it is likely the employee would need to be paid their ordinary rate of pay during the shutdown period.
If you are the type of business that runs 365 days a year (or close to) then you are entitled to request for your team members to work on a public holiday however you can only make the request, not require it. The Fair Work Act states that an employee has a right to refuse a request to work a public holiday if the request is not reasonable or the refusal from the employee is reasonable. What is reasonable and unreasonable is determined by the Fair Work Act.
If you do have team members working public holidays it is again worth checking the relevant award or enterprise agreement to determine the correct rates of pay.