Christmas shutdowns and Christmas parties


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Shutting down your business over Christmas

Before you decide to shut down your business, you need to check that there is a term in your award or agreement that allows you to require your employees to take paid annual leave.

If your award or agreement doesn’t let you require your employees to take paid leave, then you’ll need to negotiate with your employees – you can’t make them take their annual leave.

If you’re not covered by an award or agreement, you can require your employees to take paid annual leave if the request is ‘reasonable’.

What if an employee doesn’t have enough annual leave to cover the shutdown?

This can sometimes happen if someone has just started with the business and hasn’t had time to accrue all the annual leave necessary. For instance, a person who started on December 10 won’t have accumulated a week’s annual leave by 24 December.

Some awards and agreements say what happens when there is not enough leave to cover the shutdown. Check to see what your award says.

If there are no rules in your award or agreement about this, you could:

  • allow your employee to take paid leave in advance
  • your employee could agree to take unpaid leave.

However, you must still pay your employee their normal wages for the shutdown time off if:

  • they don’t agree to take unpaid leave, or
  • you don’t want to advance them paid annual leave.

Having an office Christmas party?

The annual Christmas party is a great time to celebrate the achievements of the year with your staff.

If you’re hosting a Christmas party, it’s important to be aware that you as the employer are generally responsible for the health and safety of your staff at the party.

Remember, while it’s a great time to relax and promote a positive work culture, Christmas parties are workplace functions so everyone should be on their best behaviour.

If you require your employees to attend the party, they’ll need to be paid for the time.

Source – Fairwork Australia

What are the Tax Consequences of a Christmas party?

The tax implications will vary depending on whether to party takes place on site or offsite and the dollar value per employee. If the amount is more than $300 beware – you may be up for fringe benefits tax. For more information you can be found on the ATO Website .

Note: If you read this article you will realise the tax man does not know how to have fun!

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