Over the Christmas period many businesses close their doors for a well-earned break and take time with their family. As a business owner you need to consider Fair Work rulings on directing employees to take leave in this period. 

According to Fair Work employers can only direct employees to take annual leave or unpaid leave in this period if their registered award allows it. Many of these awards, such as the Retail Award, require employers to give 4 weeks’ notice to their employees to take annual leave. 

If nothing is outlined in the rules of an employee’s award regarding the Christmas shutdown period then an employee and employer can come to an agreement when taking annual leave or unpaid leave. 

Remember there are public holidays over the Christmas period. These days need to be paid according to your employee’s award and employment type. 

  • Christmas Day – Friday 25 December, the public holiday is on the same day 
  • Boxing Day – Saturday 26 December, the public holiday for this is rolled to Monday 28th December 
  • New Year’s Day – Friday 1 January, the public holiday is on the same day. 

Further details are available on the Fair Work website regarding “Direction to take leave annual leave during a shutdown period”.