Taking a break over Christmas? Can you insist your employees take one too?
As many businesses start planning for the festive holiday season, one question that always comes to mind is, can I direct my staff to use their annual leave if our business decides to take a break and close its doors for a week or two?
When a business closes temporarily during periods such as Christmas, this is called a ‘close down’.
As Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements can vary in their provisions, checking each industrial instrument that applies to your business to understand the rules around close down periods and the rules that apply is essential.
Where a direction to take leave during a close down is permitted by an Award or an Agreement, a reasonable amount of notice is required to be provided to employees. You should also check if there are any rules about how the leave must be paid. A written notice/memorandum should be issued to each and every staff member so the close down, the direction to take leave and the associated arrangements are clear.
If an Award or an Agreement does not cover your employees, you can direct an employee to take annual leave as long as it’s reasonable.
What happens when an employee doesn’t have sufficient annual leave?
In these cases, another form of leave could be taken, such as accrued time off in lieu, accrued RDO’s or leave without pay. Some businesses permit employees to go into a debit balance. Be warned though, because if your employee resigns before making up the annual leave hours provided in advance, you do not have an automatic right to deduct any debit balance owing from salary and wages.
For more information on annual leave, request a copy of our “Annual Leave” Fact Sheet by contacting us at 1300 287 360 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer a confidential discussion with one of our directors, click or scan below to book a time to discuss your needs.