Chriatmas

The 4 most asked questions about Christmas work rights

Are you working over the holidays? Is your employer closing for the Christmas break?KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS

Recent studies show 34% of employees will be taking leave because the business they work for is shutting down over the Christmas/New Year period. This means you could be forced to take annual leave and be left unsure about what your wages will be over Christmas. Knowing your rights and what you can claim for wages will ensure you have a worry-free Christmas if you are forced to take leave.

THE TOP 4 MOST ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOLIDAY WAGES:

1. CAN MY EMPLOYER ASK ME TO WORK ON PUBLIC HOLIDAYS DURING THIS TIME?

The easy answer is yes however it cannot be mandatory. 

Employees don’t have to work on a public holiday however, an employer can ask an employee to work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable. An employee may refuse a request to work if they have reasonable grounds. 

What is a reasonable request:

  • the employee’s personal circumstances, (eg. family responsibilities)
  • whether the employee will get more pay (eg. penalty rates)
  • the needs of the workplace
  • the type of work the employee does
  • whether the employee’s salary includes work on a public holiday
  • whether the employee is full-time, part-time, casual or a shiftworker
  • how much notice the employee was given about working
  • the amount of notice the employee gives that they refuse to work.

Read more here:: Working on Public Holidays

 

2. ARE THERE DIFFERENT PAY REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS?

The general rule of thumb is yes. It’s important to know which award or agreement you are employed under. Minimum conditions at work come from registered agreements, awards or legislation. 

When a business has a registered agreement in place and it covers the work that the employee does, then the minimum pay and conditions in
the agreement will apply. If there’s no registered agreement that applies and an award covers the employer and the work the employee does, then the minimum pay and conditions in the award will apply.

There are more than 100 industry and occupation awards that cover most people working in Australia. This means many employees who aren’t
covered by an agreement will most likely be covered by an award. 
 

Where no award or agreement applies, the minimum pay and conditions in the legislation will apply.

 Find your Award Here: List of Awards & Agreements 

3. CAN AN EMPLOYER MAKE ME USE MY ANNUAL LEAVE DURING SHUT DOWN?

Yes, provided guidelines are taken into account. The first place to check is your Letter of Employment or Employment Contract, also your employer should let you know in advance.

An employer can only direct an employee to take annual leave in some situations. For example, when:

  •  the business is closed during the Christmas and New Year period
  • an employee has accumulated excess annual leave.

The rules about when and if an employer can direct an employee to take annual leave are set out in awards and registered agreements.

Read more here: Employee Annual Leave Guidelines

4. WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH ACCRUED LEAVE?

If the award or agreement provides for it, you can be directed to take annual leave in advance of accrual, or unpaid leave, for some or all of the time.

Some awards or registered agreements allow an employee to take annual leave in advance if the employer agrees in writing.

If the award or registered agreement says that employees can take annual leave in advance, employers and employees must make a written agreement about the annual leave in advance.

The agreement must be:

  • signed by both the employee and employer
  • say how much annual leave is being taken in advance
  • say the day that the leave will start.

Employers must keep a copy of the agreement with your employee records.

If an employee takes leave in advance and their employment ends before they’ve accrued it all back, their employer can deduct the amount still owing from the employee’s final pay. 

Readers also enjoyed: LinkedIn Tips and Tricks
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Looking for further inspiration?

We have lots of resources and tool to help your job search. Click below to see more.