Unravelling Public Holiday Payments and Christmas Shutdowns
Public Holiday Payments
If you close down your business over the Christmas and New Year period, and that period includes Public Holidays, your Employees are entitled to be paid for any Public Holidays that fall on those days of the week they would normally work.
Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
So, let’s look at this year (2020) where Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on a Friday. If one of your Employees works every Friday, they are entitled to be paid for each of those days because it’s a normal working day for them .
Boxing Day and Day After New Year’s Day
Now Boxing day and the Day after New Year’s Day (2nd January 2021) both fall on a Saturday. These days will both be ‘Mondayised’. This means that the holidays of Boxing Day and the Day after New Year’s Day will be observed the following Monday on 28th January 2020 and 4th January 2021, respectively. Staff who normally work a Saturday are entitled to be paid for each of those days, because it’s a normal working day for them.
Because Boxing Day (26th December 2020), and the day after New Year’s Day (2nd January 2021) fall on a Saturday this year both these days are observed as Public Holidays. This means that staff who normally work Saturdays will receive full pay, but not work on that day.
Casual/On Call Staff
If Casual or On Call staff can show a pattern of working on Fridays this year (2020) they are entitled to claim payment for Christmas Day (2020) and New Year’s Day (2021).
Working on a Public Holiday
The Employer may ask the Employee to work on a Public Holiday, but they don’t have to agree. The Employee agrees not to work on any Public Holiday unless asked to do so.
If the Employee doesn’t work on a Public Holiday, they will get a paid day off if a Public Holiday falls on a day that would otherwise be a working day for them.
If the Employee works on a Public Holiday, they will be paid their relevant daily pay or average daily pay, plus half that amount again for each hour worked (time and a half).
The Employee will also get a paid day off at a later date if the Public Holiday was a day that would otherwise be a working day for them. The date of this alternate holiday will be agreed between Employer and Employee. If they cannot agree, the Employer can decide and give the Employee at least 14 days’ notice.
Annual Closedowns – Employee payments
If you want to close down your business over the Xmas period you need to give your Employees 14 days’ notice of the closedown. And there should be a clause to that effect in your Employee’s employment agreement.
All your Employees are entitled to Annual Holidays at the time of the closedown, even if they currently have a zero Annual Holiday balance. As long as your Employees get 14 days’ notice of the closedown they must stop work for the duration of the closedown.
Your Employee can take as much of their Annual Holidays balance as they need to cover the closedown period.
However, if your Employee doesn’t have sufficient Annual Holidays to cover the whole closedown period, they may use all their current Annual Holiday entitlement and negotiate with their Employer to take some Annual Leave in advance. Or take Leave Without Pay.
There are special provisions for any of your Employees who.
- haven’t worked continuously for you for 12 months yet, or
- have worked for you for 12 months but have taken unpaid leave of more than one week which has moved out their annual anniversary date, or
- are receiving Annual Leave on a Pay-As-You-Go basis.
Employees must get paid 8% of their gross earnings as at the closedown date from either the start of their employment if they haven’t worked continuously for 12 months for their Employer, or from their last anniversary date for Annual Holidays if they have already worked for their Employer for at least 12 months. Any monies already paid as 8% of Pay-As-You-Go or already taken as Annual Holidays in advance is deducted.
You, as Employer could also offer the Employee some Annual Holidays in advance or move the Employee’s anniversary date for Annual Holiday entitlement purposes to the date the closedown starts. In some situations, an alternative date close by to the close down can be nominated by the Employer.
Employers Can Nominate A Date To Be Treated As The Start Of The Closedown Period
For Employees whose work is subject to a regular annual closedown, and who have not become entitled to Annual Holidays at the time of the closedown, the Employer can nominate a date that will be treated as the date that the closedown starts.
This date will then become the date the Employee becomes entitled to Annual Holidays each year regardless of their actual start date of employment or the actual date of the start of the closedown. This date must be reasonably connected to the timing of the regular annual closedown.
For example, an Employer might set the date down as 18th December, making sure this date always comes before the annual closedown. In practical terms unless the Employer agrees that an Employee can take Annual Holidays in advance, the Employee will always get their full entitlement to Annual Holidays just before the start of the closedown. This is the only situation where an Employer can choose a particular date for Employees to be entitled to Annual Holidays
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