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An employer can only direct an employee to take annual leave in some situations. For example, when:

  • the business is closed during the Christmas and New Year period
  • an employee has accumulated excess annual leave.

The rules about when and if an employer can direct an employee to take annual leave is set out in awards.

An employee can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down if their award or 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’.

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 stand down and severe weather for more information.

Direction to take annual leave under an agreement

If you’re covered by an agreement, check the terms of your agreement for information about when an employee can be directed to take annual leave during a shut down.

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