Now is the right time to prepare for any business closure during the festive season. Any specifics during the close of business should always be in accordance to law and there a number of awards and agreements that allow you to direct staff to take annual leave, or unpaid leave where annual leave quotas have been used up.

Each award or agreement is different depending on the industry and some of them require months of notice.

Here are some examples.

Hospitality Industry – Employees can be directed to take annual leave during a shutdown. A 4-week notice should be given to the employees before the shutdown.

If an employee doesn't have enough annual leave to cover the shutdown, they can agree with the employer to take annual leave in advance or have unpaid leave.

If an employee doesn't agree to either, they have to be paid their ordinary pay rate for the shutdown. They can’t be forced to take unpaid leave.

Health Professionals and Support Services - Employees can’t be directed to take annual leave during a shut down under the Health Services Award, unless they work in dental and medical practices. However, an employee can still agree to take annual leave, annual leave in advance or unpaid leave during a shutdown.

If employees do not agree, they have to be paid their ordinary pay rate for the shutdown. They can’t be forced to take unpaid leave.

Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail - Employees can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down. They have to be given at least 4 weeks’ notice before the leave needs to be taken. If an employee doesn't have enough annual leave to cover the shutdown, they can agree with the employer to take all of their accrued annual leave and then unpaid leave for the rest of the shutdown.

An employee can also agree with their employer to take annual leave in advance.

If your industry isn’t listed above, you can check Fairwork Ombudsman’s website for details.

If you have questions, please let us know. Our human resource department can help you with advice on this issue and we have Legal HR Specialists we can refer you to for specific advice. Contact us to discuss your specific issue.

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