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What to do when Santa Claus comes to town?

Leave entitlementsSeptember 20, 2016

What to do when Santa Claus comes to town? (Last Updated On: September 20, 2016)

With Christmas just around the corner, employers need to think about whether their business will stay open over the festive season. If you are planning on closing over Christmas and require your staff to take annual leave, there are some key things you need to be aware of.

An employer is able to request employees to take annual leave or unpaid leave during an annual shut down, provided the relevant Modern Award or enterprise agreement allows for it. If there is no provision included in the Modern Award or agreement, it will generally only be possible to ensure employees take annual leave or unpaid leave if they agree to do so.

There are certain Modern Awards and agreements that contain strict notice and procedural provisions which employers must ensure they comply with if they wish to direct their employees to take paid or unpaid annual leave. These can include the amount of notice that must be given to employees, which can range from four weeks to three months, depending on the applicable Award or agreement.

Employers may wish to consider allowing employees with little or no accrued annual leave to go into a negative annual leave balance over a shut down period by granting annual leave in advance of accrual. An employer has the option to allow this, however it is important for the employer to ensure their business is not financially disadvantaged if the employee’s employment subsequently ends.

Employers also must provide staff with notice of their intention to shut down, and that they require their staff to take annual leave. This notice of leave must be in writing and should include the date the business will close, the date it will resume trading and whether or not employees with no leave accrued are allowed into go into negative.

As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, we can answer your questions regarding your employment obligations during a shut down period and your employees’ entitlements. To find out more, why not attend one of our free seminars? To find a seminar near you, simply click here.

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