Closedown Period Employer Obligations


With many businesses approaching their annual holiday closedown period, it is important for employers to make sure they are complying with their obligations under the Holidays Act 2003.

Giving staff notice of the closedown period

A large number of businesses will choose to partially or fully shut their operations over the holiday period.  This is referred to as a ‘closedown’ period.

In accordance with the Holidays Act, employers must give a minimum of 14 days’ notice of the closedown period commencing.  However, we recommend giving as much notice as possible and doing so in writing.  Employers or their human resources departments should be available to discuss any concerns their team may have about this this period.  This is especially the case when an employee will not have enough leave to cover the period.

Paying staff during closedown

This is usually a good opportunity to reduce annual leave balances and give your team a good uninterrupted break.  Employees can be directed to use their annual leave to cover the period, but notice must be given (as above).

What if my employee does not have enough annual leave?

If an employee has insufficient leave to cover the closedown period, they can either take leave without pay or, if agreed, leave in advance.  If an employer is agreeing to paying leave in advance there should be an agreement about how the balance will be restored.

What if my employee is not entitled to annual leave?

Employees who have not continuously worked with their employer for 12 months are subject to special payment provisions during the closedown period.  This is an area employers often get wrong, and it can be costly to remedy, so ensure you understand the obligations.

The closedown period and public holidays

Four public holidays occur during the typical closedown period (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and January 2nd).  Public holidays are not included in an employee’s annual leave and employers should treat them as a separate paid day.

This year the four public holidays occurring during a typical closedown period fall on a weekend. If the weekend is a typical working day for an employee, the public holiday is treated as falling on that day. However, if the weekend is not a typical working day for an employee the public holidays occurring on Saturday will ‘Mondayise’ and public holidays occurring on Sunday will ‘Tuesdayise’.

If an employee is required to work on a public holiday, they must be paid time and a half and may be entitled to an alternative day off.

So, if you are closing down and have not already done so, now is a good time to notify staff of the closedown.  If you have any questions regarding your obligations get in touch with the Black Door Law team.

Disclaimer:  This information is intended as general legal information and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a specific issue and wish to discuss it get in contact with the Black Door Law team.