• Nyree Fiddes

The end-of-year shutdown: are you prepared?

Christmas is almost upon us: the decorations will go up and noël tunes will be driving us nuts as we go about our shopping. If you’re thinking about shutting up shop over the silly season, here are some things to remember.

The rule of thumb is you must give your staff reasonable notice of your intended shutdown: this is usually 4 weeks unless otherwise stipulated*, irrelevant of whether your staff are permanent, fixed term or casual employees.

Your Christmas-New Year shutdown will most likely include a number of statutory public holidays in your State or Territory. The Public Holidays for the 2017/18 Christmas-New Year period are:

  • Christmas Day (All states and territories except Victoria) – Monday 25 December 2017

  • Boxing Day (Proclamation Day in South Australia) – Tuesday 26 December 2017

  • New Year’s Day – Monday 1 January 2018

Plus our lucky duck friends working in the beautiful South Australia or Northern Territory also have the following half-day public holidays:

  • Christmas Eve – Sunday 24 December – from 7pm to midnight

  • New Year’s Eve – Sunday 31 December – from 7pm to midnight

So why am I mentioning public holidays? Because you need to remember that permanent and/or fixed term staff who are on annual leave (even when it’s company mandated shutdown) when a public holiday falls are entitled to be paid for that day at their ordinary rate of pay.

It’s your right as an employer to tell your employees they must take leave as the business is shutting down for a specific period. But this right is dependant on the terms of your:

  • the relevant modern award*,

  • an enterprise agreement*,

  • individual employment contracts*, and/or

  • the National Employment Standards*.

If you are an Award/Agreement Free employer, you can let staff who don’t have enough A/L accrued for the whole shut down period take some or all of their annual leave in advance of it’s accrual, but only as long as you’ve given 4 weeks (as a minimum) of the shut down and as long as you both agree to the taking of leave in advance of accrual in writing.

If you have any questions around your 2017/18 Christmas-New year shut down, give The Fiddes Group a call and we can help you to work out what your rights, as well as obligations, are.

Source: some information in this blog was sourced from https://workplaceinfo.com.au

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