Direction to take annual leave during a shut down

Due to the impacts coronavirus is having on the community, a number of unions and employer associations are applying to the Fair Work Commission to increase award flexibility.

This may affect the entitlements on this page.

For a list of determinations and to see if your award is affected go to Temporary changes to workplace laws during coronavirus.

An employee can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down if their award or registered agreement allows it.

What is a shut down?

A shut down is when a business temporarily closes during slow periods of the year, such as Christmas and New Year. It is also called a 'close down'.

Find information about when an employee can be directed to take paid and unpaid annual leave during a shut down in your award by selecting from the list below.

Hospitality Award

Temporary Hospitality Award flexibility

On 24 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission varied the Hospitality Award by adding a new Schedule J. It was initially due to stop operating on 30 June 2020.

On 29 June 2020 they extended and changed parts of Schedule J. The extended sections and new changes apply until 27 September 2020.

Schedule J adds award flexibility to the Hospitality Award during the impact of coronavirus. It changes entitlements relating to:

  • employees’ classifications and duties
  • hours of work for full-time and part-time employees
  • requests to take annual leave.

The new Schedule J applies to employers and employees covered by the Hospitality Award. Use Find my award if you’re not sure which award applies to you.

From the first full pay period or on after 1 July 2020, Schedule J no longer applies to employees in the JobKeeper scheme. Instead, these employers can use the temporary Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions to manage their workforce more flexibly.

For information about the JobKeeper scheme and the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions, see JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

While Schedule J operates, an employee’s usual terms and conditions of employment under the Hospitality Award continue to apply, unless they’ve been changed by Schedule J. If they have, Schedule J applies instead.

These changes may affect the information on this page.

Go to Hospitality Award flexibility during coronavirus for more information about Schedule J and when it applies.

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Hospitality Industry (General) Award [MA000009].

Employees can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down (also known as a close down). Employers need to give their employees at least 4 weeks notice before the leave needs to be taken.

A shut down doesn’t mean the entire business has to close down. An employer can shut down individual parts of their workplace as well.

If an employee doesn't have enough annual leave to cover the shutdown, they can agree with the employer to take

  • annual leave in advance or
  • unpaid leave.

If an employee doesn't agree to either, they have to be paid their ordinary pay rate for the shut down. They can’t be forced to take unpaid leave.

Use the Notice of requirement to take annual leave for close down letter template (DOC 130KB) when directing employees to take annual leave during a shut down.

Accumulating annual leave during a shut down

An employee will continue to accumulate annual leave only when on paid leave during a shut down.

Catering in primary and secondary boarding schools and residential colleges

Employees providing catering in primary and secondary boarding schools and residential colleges can be directed to take unpaid leave during official term breaks, semester breaks and the summer Christmas holiday period.

They have to be given at least 1 weeks notice, in writing, before the leave needs to be taken.

If work within the employee’s skills and experience is available during these periods, they will be offered that instead of taking unpaid leave.

An employee can also agree to take accrued paid annual leave or long service leave during these periods. They will continue to accumulate annual leave, sick leave and long service leave while on paid or unpaid leave during these periods.

To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Hospitality Award summary.

Source reference: Hospitality Industry (General) Award [MA000009] clause 30.4, 30.5 external-icon.png

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A shut down isn't the same as a stand down. A stand down is when an employer sends employees home if there is no useful work for them to do. Reasons for stand down include events out of the employer’s control like a natural disaster. See Pay during inclement weather and stand down for more information.

Direction to take annual leave under an agreement

If you’re covered by a registered agreement, check the terms of your agreement for information about when an employee can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down. To find a registered agreement, go to the Fair Work Commission website external-icon.png.

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Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
  • getting help from us if you can't resolve it.

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