Christmas Shutdowns

Another year is drawing to a close and as is custom and practice in a number of industries, some businesses will close over the Christmas/New Year period.

Your obligations in relation to this practice are provided in either he applicable Modern Award, an Enterprise Agreement that applies to your business, or in the absence of either of these instruments, the Fair Work Act 2009.

Most industrial instruments require that the employer provides notice of the shutdown.  Most, but not all, Modern Awards require employers to give at least one months’ notice of a shutdown.  Other industrial instruments may require more or lesser periods of notice.  Employers should check the relevant industrial instrument to determine how much notice is required.

Employers also need to understand their obligations if an employee does not have sufficient annual leave to cover a shutdown. An employer’s obligation in this area will also depend on which industrial instrument applies to their employment.  The right to direct an employee to take unpaid annual leave during a shutdown is not the same in each Award or for employees covered by Enterprise Agreements or the Fair Work Act 2009.