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Top 5 holiday season HR questions answered!

Better HR – Australia’s number one online employment relations service

At this time of the year, we’re always inundated with calls from employers wanting answers to some tricky HR issues over the Christmas/New Year holiday period.  I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of the top five questions and answers which you may find of use in your business.

1.  Can I refuse an employee’s requests for holidays?

Yes, if an employee asks to take holidays and it’s not convenient to your business, then you can refuse the request as long as it’s ‘reasonable’. See our National Employment Standards (NES) Info Pack for more information.

2. Can I ask my employees to work on public holidays?

Yes, you may ask your employees to work on a public holiday but they may refuse if your request is ‘unreasonable’.

However, the nature of your workplace and the employee’s personal circumstances – including family responsibilities – need to be taken into account. Again see our NES Info Pack for more information.

3. Can I ask my employees to take their holidays when it suits my business?

Yes, provided you give the right amount of notice, you can ask your employees to take some of their holidays when it is convenient to your business. Likewise, you can usually restrict the amount of annual leave employees can take in busy periods.

4.  Can I close my business over the Christmas/New Year period?

Yes, provided you give your staff the right amount of notice prior to the close down.  If you haven’t already given notice, it’s probably too late now for this year’s Christmas period. Carefully check any applicable Modern Awards for further information.

5. What are the declared public holidays over the Christmas period?

Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day all fall on weekends this Christmas. So the states and territories have all come up with their own mix of substitute and additional days, with some states declaring an extended public holiday period from 25 December to Tuesday 28 December (inclusive).  To find out the rules in your particular location, consult our handy Christmas public holiday chart.

Paid Parental Leave webinar
I’m sure you’re aware that Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme, funded by the Government, comes into effect on 1 January 2011.

We’re running a special webinar session on 2nd February on what the new law means to your business.  As there’s a six month transitionary period, we’ll outline your responsibilities and obligations that come into effect on 30 June 2011.

2 February 2011, 12:30 pm AEDST

Register now!

Merry Christmas!

Finally, I would just like to take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and peaceful festive season. And may your business continue to prosper and grow in 2011!



This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice may be necessary in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this article. Better HR Pty Ltd is not responsible for the results of any actions taken on the basis of information in this article, nor for any error or omission in this article.