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Closing Down Over Christmas? This Is What You Need To Do

Published December 07, 2020 (last updated June 30, 2023) - Face2Face Field Service Manager
employer closes shop over christmas

While many businesses will experience their busiest period of the year in the lead-up to, or during, Christmas, many other businesses will take the opportunity to close down for a few days. 

If you’re looking to close down your business, here are the most important things you need to do. 

Understand the Annual Closedown Provisions  

Generally, businesses are allowed to have one customary closedown a year. Customary closedowns must be 12 months apart, however with the employee’s agreement a business can agree to additional times the operations are closed. 

If you give employees at least 14 days’ notice, you can make them take annual leave during the closedown. Employsure recommends you inform your employees well-in-advance of this date 

Understand Annual Leave 

What if an employee has no annual leave left? What if they have some annual leave left, but not enough to cover the entire shutdown? What if they’re not entitled to paid annual leave?  

The answers to these questions are something that you should be across before you communicate the shutdown to your staff. Not only will your staff probably ask you these questions, but if your staff are entitled to paid annual leave, it’d be wise to know exactly how much you need to pay! 

By the way, the initial answers to these questions are: 

  • The employer can direct the employee to take leave without pay 
  • An employee gets paid as much annual leave as they have accrued. With the employer’s permission, the employee may also take annual leave in advance (in other words, go into a negative leave balance) 
  • As above, the employer can direct the employee to take leave without pay 

Download Our Checklist

Before you close down your workplace, you don’t want to walk away on the last day and have that tingling feeling you’ve forgotten to turn off the stove or lock the front door. 

We’ve created a checklist with all the tasks you should complete before you leave on your break. 

Figure Out If You Need Any Staff Over That Period 

You may actually need some staff to make sure the lights are still on at your business, so to speak. 

For example, at Employsure, we always ensure that there are always advisors on call during the Christmas and New Year period so that no client query gets left unanswered.  

If you need a skeleton staff to still attend work, you can request that they do so.  

Keep in mind that you have extra obligations towards employees working over this period as they may be entitled to extra pay or an extra day off, particularly on public holidays. 

Communicate To Staff Well In Advance 

Even if the applicable Award obliges you to give your staff notice of a Christmas shutdown , Employsure recommends that you still notify your staff well in advance. 

Let staff know when you’re closing the workplace and when you’re reopening, and which staff or roles you require to work during the period you will be otherwise closed down 

For the employees who you require to stay back, Employsure recommends that you clearly communicate to the affected staff or their managers a separate capacity plan stating their working requirements  

Get Workplace Advice Now

Want to understand about your Christmas obligations? Get in touch for free, initial advice.

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