If your business shuts down over the silly season, your award or agreement most likely has requirements in place for notifying employees of the decision.

Some awards do allow employers to direct employees to take annual leave, however, the requirements for the notification periods do vary between awards, some require 4 weeks, whilst others require at least 8 weeks’ notice!

For example, the Manufacturing Industry Award 2010 requires employers to give ‘not less than 4 weeks’ notice of the intention to close down, for one or two separate periods throughout the year. (Or three periods, should the employer and the majority of employees concerned agree to the enterprise or part of it being closed down for three separate periods in a year provided that one of the periods is a period of at least 14 days including non-working days.)

There are 8 different points relating to the taking of, and payment of annual leave during these shutdown periods for the Manufacturing Award alone, and it has relatively straightforward requirements. Referring to your specific award or agreement will help to ensure the processes you implement in your business are correct.

Generally speaking, an employer can require an employee to take their paid annual leave during this period. Again, check your specific award or agreement for the requirements.

If your award or agreement doesn’t cover the rules around shutdowns, you’ll need to make individual agreements with each employee to take paid or unpaid leave.

It’s best to notify your employees in writing of the decision of the upcoming Christmas shut down, with set dates of closure and opening.

Silly season shutdowns can be more complicated than expected, so if you’re stuck on how to best manage it with your employees, talk to our team ASAP!