New shutdown rules for awards

Banner illustration with icon of scales of justice and text reading, 'Award changes'

Published 28 April 2023 | Updated 22 December 2023

Many awards will have new rules on shutdowns from 1 May 2023.

What’s changing

From 1 May 2023, many awards will have updated rules on taking annual leave during a shutdown.

A shutdown is when a business temporarily closes, such as during Christmas and New Year. Learn more about shutdowns at Direction to take annual leave during a shutdown.

The new rules mean:

  • employers may require employees to take paid annual leave during a temporary shutdown
  • employers must provide at least 28 days’ written notice of the temporary shutdown period to all impacted employees
  • the requirement to take annual leave must be reasonable
  • the notice period can be reduced through an agreement between the employer and the majority of impacted employees
  • an employee who doesn’t have enough paid annual leave to cover the whole period can form an agreement with their employer for other options for the days not covered, such as:
    • using accrued time off
    • annual leave in advance, or
    • leave without pay.

Where an employee has agreed to take unpaid leave during a shutdown, payment for the public holidays that fall during that time will depend on:

  • any award or agreement provisions that apply
  • the circumstances of when the employee agrees to use unpaid leave
  • any agreement between employer and employee to be paid for public holidays.

Employer notice period agreement before a shutdown

Sue owns a cleaning company and her business is covered by the Cleaning Services Award. She wants her employees to use their paid annual leave for a shutdown. She agreed with her employees to give a 14 day notice period of this requirement before a shutdown.

Since Sue and her employees formed an agreement for the shorter period, she doesn’t need to provide the required 28 days’ notice in the award.

Employee required to use paid annual leave during a shutdown

Bert works at a restaurant and is covered by the Restaurant Industry Award. He has been told by his employer, Nathan, that the restaurant is shutting for kitchen renovations for 5 days. The days are Bert’s normal working days.

Nathan has also provided Bert with a written notice that Bert must use his paid annual leave during the shutdown.

Before the shutdown, Bert had accrued 7 days of paid annual leave. Because the shutdown will last 5 days, Bert will have 2 paid annual leave days left after the shutdown has ended.

Who the changes apply to

These new rules apply to employees and employers covered by one of the affected awards.

We have updated our website information on directions to take annual leave during a shutdown. This includes for popular awards and industries like:

  • building and construction
  • hair and beauty
  • hospitality (including fast food and restaurants)
  • real estate.

Access your industry from our Direction to take annual leave during a shutdown page. Just select your industry from the drop-down menu to get award-specific information.

Which awards are changing

Below is a list of awards that are changing.

Unsure of your award? Use our 3-step Find my award tool to help work out what you’re covered by. Reading the award can help you determine if you’re covered by it too.

If you know your award already, you can access a copy directly from our List of awards page. From 1 May, your award will include the new rules for shutdowns.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award
  • Aircraft Cabin Crew Award
  • Airline Operations–Ground Staff Award
  • Alpine Resorts Award
  • Aluminium Industry Award
  • Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award
  • Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award
  • Aquaculture Industry Award
  • Asphalt Industry Award
  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award
  • Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award
  • Building and Construction General On-site Award
  • Business Equipment Award
  • Car Parking Award
  • Cemetery Industry Award
  • Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award
  • Cleaning Services Award
  • Clerks—Private Sector Award
  • Coal Export Terminals Award
  • Commercial Sales Award
  • Concrete Products Award
  • Contract Call Centres Award
  • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award
  • Electrical Power Industry Award
  • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award
  • Fitness Industry Award
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award
  • Gardening and Landscaping Services Award
  • Gas Industry Award
  • General Retail Industry Award
  • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award
  • Hair and Beauty Industry Award
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award
  • Higher Education Industry—General Staff—Award
  • Horse and Greyhound Training Award
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award
  • Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award
  • Joinery and Building Trades Award
  • Journalists Published Media Award
  • Legal Services Award
  • Local Government Industry Award
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award
  • Meat Industry Award
  • Mining Industry Award
  • Mobile Crane Hiring Award
  • Miscellaneous Award
  • Nursery Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award
  • Pest Control Industry Award
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Award
  • Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award
  • Poultry Processing Award
  • Premixed Concrete Award
  • Professional Employees Award
  • Racing Clubs Events Award
  • Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award
  • Real Estate Industry Award
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award
  • Restaurant Industry Award
  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award
  • Salt Industry Award
  • Seafood Processing Award
  • Security Services Industry Award
  • Silviculture Award
  • Storage Services and Wholesale Award
  • Sugar Industry Award
  • Supported Employment Services Award
  • Surveying Award
  • Telecommunications Services Award
  • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award
  • Timber Industry Award
  • Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award
  • Water Industry Award
  • Wine Industry Award
  • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award.

Stay up to date

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More information


To learn more about these award changes, access the Commission decision.

You can also learn more about the Commission’s review of awards at 4 yearly review of modern awards.

Website information

Learn more about shutdowns and annual leave at Direction to take annual leave during a shutdown. You’ll find industry information for many popular awards there – just select your industry.

For more technical information on shutdowns and other leave entitlements, go to our Library article Difference between stand down, unpaid leave and shutdown.

Also see: