Did you know that best practice is to provide your employees at least 4 weeks’ notice of any shutdown period?
So, if you are closing your business for any time during the upcoming holiday period, and you have not already done so, you should notify your employees in writing by the end of today.
You should also check your Award for any particulars about shutdown periods, public holidays and leave; however the minimum standards are:
• Permanent employees must be paid their ordinary hours for any public holidays that would have been a usual day of work. For example, if an employee normally works 5 hours on a Saturday, they will need to be paid 5 hours on Christmas Day, even if they are not required to work.
• You cannot change an employee’s roster simply to avoid having to pay public holidays.
• If an employee is required to work on a gazetted public holiday, they may be eligible for additional pay and/or public holiday rates depending on the Award or agreement in place.
• If an employee has insufficient paid leave available to cover any shutdown period, you may be able to direct them to take unpaid leave. You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman website to help you find the information that applies to your business.
• If an employee is sick on a public holiday and provides reasonable evidence, they should be paid their ordinary hours for the day and these hours will not be deducted from their personal leave balance. If they are sick on a day that would have been an annual leave day, it should be processed as personal leave, not annual leave.
Remember that holiday periods may not a joyous time for everyone; some of your employees may not celebrate the religious festival; some may be separated from loved ones and be lonely during this period; some may be facing financial stress or other personal issues; therefore, try to take these factors into consideration when deciding what your business will be doing during the holiday period.
If you need help determining a plan for your business the next holiday period, we are here to help.