Staff leave during the Christmas shutdown

Do you understand your employer obligations during the Christmas shutdown? If your business is shutting down over Christmas, it’s important to know what happens with staff who don’t have enough annual leave to cover the period. We recently answered this question:

QUESTION | We currently offer our team the option to take advanced annual leave over our Christmas shutdown if they have an insufficient balance. However, we would like to know if we can also provide the option to take unpaid leave or long service leave. Is this allowed?


Before navigating the HR world of shutdowns, it’s important to check the award/enterprise agreement relevant to your staff. That way, you are aware of any stipulations with regards to leave during this period.

Typically, employers can work with staff to come to a mutual agreement with regards to shutdowns and taking either unpaid leave or annual leave in advance. It is important to note, however, that employees cannot be forced to take unpaid leave. If an employee does not agree, they have to be paid their ordinary rate of pay.

With long service leave (LSL), under Queensland legislation, there are no restrictions on whether or not it can be taken early. So, providing an employee has worked for your company for ten or more continuous years, it could be offered.

Are you unsure about shutdowns and need some HR advice? Get in touch with our team.