Reading time: 3 minutes

With the holiday season upon us, many businesses shut down for the Christmas period leaving employees in limbo about their holiday arrangements. Some employers may force their employees to take their annual leave when their business is closed. But, is this allowed?

What Does The Award or Enterprise Agreement Say?

Whether your employer can force you to take annual leave depends on the terms of your Industry’s Award and registered agreement. You will most likely need to take paid annual leave if your award or agreement says that you must do so during the Christmas break, or that your employer can direct you to take annual leave. You can, however, try to negotiate an alternative arrangement with your manager.

For example, any in-store retail employees will be required to take annual leave during the closure of a business for the holiday period. The employer must, however, give at least four weeks’ notice before the employee takes leave.

Other industries that can also direct employees to take their annual leave during business shut down periods include:

  • Real estate,
  • Hospitality, and
  • Cleaning services.

On the other hand, any health professionals, architects as well as building or construction workers cannot be directed to take their annual leave during any business shut downs (except for employees in dental or medical practices). To find more about your particular industry awards and agreements, we encourage you to visit Fair Work Australia (FWA) or speak with an employment lawyer.

The Award or Agreement Must Be Reasonable

The award or agreement must be reasonable. For example, if the employee has an excessive amount of annual leave saved, then this is sufficient for an employer to force an employee to take their annual leave. FWA have also considered it reasonable to direct employees to take their annual leave during any shut downs that the business has, such as over the Christmas and New Year period.

FWA have considered the following factors are relevant when assessing the reasonableness of the employees award and registered agreement:

  • The needs of the business;
  • The needs of the employee;
  • Any prior agreed arrangement/s between employer and employee;
  • The time of notice given to the employee;
  • The business’ past practices.

Key Takeaways

In short, if your business closes during the Christmas period and your award and agreement allows your employer to direct you to take annual leave, then there may not be too much that you can do.

Your best chance is negotiating alternative arrangements and compromising with your manager or employer to see if they are flexible with annual leave.

Questions? Get in touch on 1300 544 755.


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards