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Closing for Christmas? Don’t forget to tell staff

 

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Businesses planning to shut down across the festive season need to confirm close dates and notify staff in accordance with award requirements from now.

Many awards and agreements allow employers to direct staff to take annual leave, or unpaid leave when annual leave has been exhausted, during a shut down period. However, employees must be provided with specific notice for different awards. Certain awards require up to three months’ notice.

Workplace relations firm Employsure head of advice Josh Vikis said it is important employers comply with the notice periods set out in the award or agreement. The notice can be provided verbally, but Vikis recommends putting it in writing either via email or hard copy.

“In practice, issues in this area are easily avoided with clear policies and procedures together with early communication to staff,” he said. “Make sure you follow any rules under the award or agreement about notifying staff and what should happen during the shut down.

“If the award or agreement doesn’t say anything about shut downs or directions to take leave, you can’t force employees to use their leave. Instead, you can negotiate with them to take paid or unpaid leave but if they don’t agree, you can’t force them.”

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Here are a several examples of the minimum notice period requirements for different industry Awards:

Three months’ notice

Meat Industry Award 2010

Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award 2010

Two months’ notice

Building and Construction General On-Site Award

Joinery and Building Trades Award 2010

Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010

Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010

Four weeks’ notice

Clerks—Private Sector Award 2010

Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010

General Retail Industry Award 2010

Restaurant Industry Award 2010

 

You can view an interactive list of Awards and how much notice is required here.

 

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