Shutting your business for the Christmas Period? You must notify employees

Oct 31, 2023

With the Christmas and New Years holiday period approaching, employers should be aware of the requirement to give employees notice of a shut down over this period.

Following changes to 78 Modern Awards, employers must give affected employees a minimum of 28 days’ written notice of a shut down. This means that for businesses intending to close on 22 December 2023, employees must be given written notice no later than 24 November 2023.

The updated regulations allow employers to mandate an employee’s use of paid annual leave during a temporary shut down, as long as it is reasonable.

Employers must not direct employees to take unpaid leave during a shut down but may offer this as an option to employees. Employers should consider this when granting annual leave requests ahead of a regular shut down period, particularly if this will leave the employee with insufficient annual leave to cover the shut down period.

Employees with insufficient accrued annual leave may discuss alternative arrangements with their employer such as utilising accrued time off in lieu, long service leave or taking paid annual leave in advance. These arrangements should be confirmed in writing and the employer must keep records of what has been agreed.

Full time and part time employees will also be entitled to payment for public holidays that fall on their regular workdays during the shut down.

If you have questions about notifying your employees of a shut down period, please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Law team.