Is your workplace shutting down over Christmas? Know your rights

Fair Work Ombudsman

My work is shutting down over the holidays – can I be directed to take annual leave?

It depends on your award or enterprise agreement. Many have rules about how and when you can be directed to take leave, including how much notice your employer needs to give you. If there are no rules, you can agree with your employer to take annual leave or unpaid leave.

Read more about Shutting down over Christmas and New Year.

What if I don’t have enough leave?

If your award or enterprise agreement allows it, your employer can direct you to take annual leave in advance, or take unpaid leave.


Check the rules in your award by selecting your industry on the Direction to take annual leave during a shut down page, covering popular industries like retail, manufacturing and hospitality.


If you’re covered by an agreement, search the business name to find yours on the Fair Work Commission website.

Do I get annual leave loading?

Your award or enterprise agreement will set out how you should be paid when taking annual leave, including whether you should get leave loading.

Learn more on the Payment for annual leave page.

What happens when a public holidays falls during my annual leave?

If it’s a day you’d usually work, you should be paid for the public holiday. The day also shouldn’t come out of your annual leave balance.

I’m working as skeleton staff – how should I be paid?

If you’re working through the break while the rest of the business shuts down, you should be paid your normal rate, unless your award or enterprise agreement says otherwise. If you work a public holiday your usual public holiday rate will apply.

Learn more about Working on a public holiday or use our Pay Calculator to get public holiday and penalty rates.

How can I stay up to date with information about my rights and obligations?

Subscribe to the Fair Work Ombudsman newsletter, or follow them on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter for updates about pay, leave, employment conditions and more.


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