As the festive season fast approaches, businesses are urged to take note of recent changes in annual leave regulations during shutdown periods. These new obligations, effective from May 1, 2023, impact employees employed under a modern award and are the result of rulings by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in August and December 2022. 

Traditionally, it has been standard practice for businesses to shut down during the holiday season from Christmas into the first weeks of the new year. However, the recent changes require employers to provide their affected employees with 28 days written notice of the shutdown period. This written notice must also be given to new employees as soon as reasonably practicable if they are engaged within 28 days of the impending shutdown.

The changes made by the FWC apply to all employees covered by 78 modern awards and affect employers directing employees to take paid annual leave during a shutdown. However, the FWC has not granted employers the power to direct employees to take unpaid leave during this period, which may present challenges for some businesses.

Deputy assists businesses in navigating these new rules via Newsfeed, a centralised communication tool that makes it easy to streamline and track compliance obligations related to written requests and acknowledgements. Employers can keep employees informed about updates and requirements related to annual leave and shutdown periods. 

Deputy encourages businesses to take proactive steps by reviewing existing employment contracts, leave policies, and procedures. Understanding and implementing these changes not only supports legal compliance but also fosters a more harmonious working environment.

Deputy chief product officer, Deepesh Banerji said, “Deputy is committed to helping businesses navigate these regulatory changes. With Deputy’s Newsfeed feature and expert support, employers can stay up to date and align their annual leave policies with the latest requirements.”

Deputy chief financial officer, Emma Seymour added, “Deputy understands that keeping up with evolving regulations can be challenging for businesses. Platforms like Deputy provide employers with an effective way to achieve compliance with annual leave rules during shutdown periods. By embracing this technology, businesses can streamline their compliance processes and maintain open lines of communication with their workforce.”