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.

Vehicle Award

Temporary changes to the Vehicle Award

On 11 May 2020, the Fair Work Commission varied the Vehicle Award by adding a temporary new Schedule I. Schedule I operates until 31 August 2020.

Schedule I changes entitlements relating to:

  • full-time and part-time employees' hours of work
  • annual leave.

The changes under Schedule I apply to employees engaged in vehicle industry repair, services and retail work.

They don’t apply to employees engaged in vehicle manufacturing under the previous sections 2-4 of the Vehicle Award (such as vehicle manufacturing employees, drafting, planning and technical employees and supervisory employees). This is because from 29 May 2020 the Manufacturing Award started covering these employees. Go to Changes in awards in 2020 to learn more about coverage changes to the Vehicle Award.

Schedule I also doesn’t apply to employees in the JobKeeper scheme. For information about the JobKeeper scheme, see JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

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

These changes may affect the information on this page.

Go to Vehicle Award changes during coronavirus for more information about the changes and when they apply.

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award [MA000089].

Employees can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down. They have to be given at least 4 weeks notice before the leave needs to be taken.

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

  • all of their accrued annual leave and then
  • unpaid leave for the rest of the shut down.

An employee can also agree with their employer to take annual leave in advance.

An employer can shut down the business 2 times a year or up to 3 times a year where most of the employees agree. Check the Vehicle Award for full information on when a business shuts down, including how long the shut down period can be.

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 while on paid leave during a shut down period.

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

Source reference: Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award [MA000089] clause 29.6, 29.7 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.

Think a mistake might have been made?

Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.

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.

Help for small business

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