In HR we encourage forward planning and documenting the agreed plans. Some might say I am slightly obsessive about this. But, quite simply, planning and documentation is good! With Christmas rolling around, the plan we should all be working on right now is our Leave Management Plan.

What the holiday legislation says

  • An employer can only have one annual closedown a year; and
  • During this closedown period, an employer can direct the employee to take leave even if it means some or all of the leave is unpaid; and
  • An employer must give at least 14 days’ notice of the closedown.

Getting started

  • If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to start talking about leave plans for the festive closedown, if your business traditionally shuts down over the festive season.
  • Determine the dates you want to close and reopen and identify what interim cover you need.
  • Let your team know your planned closedown dates and ask them to get their leave requests in by a specific date (for the festive season and beyond) – remember these are requests only at this stage.

Once you have all the information you need, including leave requests from the team, you can start planning and negotiating if you need to. You might be able to grant all of the leave applied for. There might also need to be some negotiation, particularly if you require cover, or if too many of the team have asked for leave at the same time.

Leave is by mutual agreement and sometimes you might need to say no. How you have this conversation, and the alternatives you can offer an employee for other leave, make a big difference.

You might want to think about these questions:

  • Who had leave last festive season?
  • Can the interim cover be rostered so everyone shares the load?
  • Can some of the leave be approved, but not all?
  • Can other options be given for leave at another time?

And once you’ve got your leave plan in place, let the team know who is working, when they are working, as well as what leave you have approved.

Just a word of caution: we don’t advocate paying 8% out as a lump sum over the closedown. In doing this your team are unnecessarily taxed at a higher rate, and you run the risk of breaching holiday legislation if your team don’t get the opportunity to take their 4 weeks of leave across the year.

If you aren’t sure about how to get started and would like to have a chat about it, drop me a line anytime [email protected]