Can my employer make me take leave over Christmas/New Year?

19 December 2019

It’s a fitting time of the year to explain the process if your employer chooses to close down over the Christmas/New Year period.

Can they really do that?

Yes they can and they can require you to take your annual holidays during the period of the closedown, but they must give you 14 days’ notice of their intention to do so.

Employees entitled to annual holidays

You are entitled to four weeks holiday a year when you have worked for at least 12 months You must use your annual holiday entitlement balance to cover the close down period. If your balance is not enough to cover this period, the employer can allow you to take annual leave in advance and/or leave without pay or another form of leave as agreed to by the employer.

Nominating a date as the start of the closedown period

The employer may alter the anniversary date of the annual holiday period so that you get full entitlement to your annual holidays prior to the closedown period.

How are Public Holidays treated during the shutdown?

If a business has a close-down period that includes public holidays, for example, over the Christmas and New Year period, then the you are entitled to a paid public holiday if you would normally have worked on that day if the closedown was not in effect.

During Annual holidays

If an you are on annual leave when there’s a public holiday, you get a paid public holiday if you would normally have worked on that day, and you do not lose an annual leave day.