Public holidays and shutdowns over the Christmas period

The Christmas and New Year period can significantly impact business operations for organisations across Australia. Some businesses may become significantly busier to keep up with demand, whilst others may be shutting down.

Public Holidays

For all states, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will be public holidays. Some states have opted to have part-day public holidays on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Take a look at the table below to see which dates are public holidays for your state.

christmas holidays chart

Shutdown Periods

For many businesses shutdown over the Christmas and New Year period is standard practice. However, there have been recent changes to shutdown periods, one of the main changes being that employers can no longer direct an employee to take leave without pay during a temporary shutdown period. This doesn’t exclude the possibility of unpaid leave. This can be agreed upon by the employer and employee in writing. Furthermore, if an employee doesn’t have enough leave, they can take leave in advance under provisions in some modern awards or enterprise agreements.

Employers also have more responsibility when it comes to providing notice of shutdown periods. Importantly, employers must provide 28 days written notice, or as soon as possible if there is a new employee that joins within that period. Additionally, all directions to take paid annual leave must be reasonable and in writing.

Lastly, temporary shutdowns can only be used when the employer intends to shut down all or part of their operation for a certain period. These changes will apply to 78 modern awards, which you can view by clicking here.

What Should Employers Do?

Employers who are planning on a shutdown across the Christmas period must ensure they provide written 28 days’ notice. Additionally, it is important to have discussions with staff members about the leave and what type of leave they wish to take.

Need Advice?

The Christmas period can be stressful for employers, especially with these new changes to shutdowns. ER Strategies are experts in assisting employers in managing their responsibilities. If you require help with the new shutdown laws, get in touch with us by clicking the button below.

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