It’s hard to believe, but we’re less than a month away from Christmas.

This year, it’s a very different Christmas, managing our businesses through a COVID-Safe silly season.

If you’re shutting down (or staff are taking leave)

Over the Christmas and New Year period, it’s important that if you’re closing down, relevant employees have been notified about this appropriately. (Generally, they should have been notified by now.)

In many awards, where employees don’t have enough accrued leave for this time off, it’s possible for the employer and the employee to agree for the employee to take leave in advance. Otherwise, the employee may take unpaid leave. If there is an enterprise agreement in place, you’ll need to check the terms regarding leave in advance.

If the employee doesn’t have enough annual leave available, they should not be offered any accrued personal/carer’s leave as an alternative payment.

Permanent employees who don’t work on a public holiday will still need to be paid for that day as a public holiday (not as an annual leave day).

Employees who are on JobKeeper will still get their payments whilst on annual leave, even if they don’t have enough paid annual leave available.

If Christmas is your busy season

It’s important to plan ahead for your recruitment and rostering needs, so you can ensure you have enough staff available to cover the extra workload.

Requests for staff to work additional hours (overtime) need to be reasonable and take into account

  • the needs of the business
  • the employee’s personal commitments, like family or caring arrangements
  • how much notice the employee gets about the extra hours
  • what the employee’s contract says.

Employees who work on public holidays may also be entitled to a penalty payment or an alternative day off, depending on the terms of their award or agreement.

For all workplaces

Christmas parties are often a time where employees ‘let loose’ and there is a real risk of health and safety incidents occurring where alcohol and celebrations are involved.

Our infographic has some great tips for managing a Christmas party safely.