The agreed minimum Christmas closedown for those covered by the terms of Industry EBA 2011-2015 (the EBA) is from 24 December 2014 until 9 January 2015 inclusive. Under the EBA, employees who have not accrued sufficient pro-rata annual leave at the time of the agreed Christmas closedown may be stood down by the employer in order to give them the minimum leave of absence required. Without the accrual of sufficient annual leave, an employee will be on unpaid leave. In order to plan financially for a period of unpaid leave, it is advisable that employees are notified in advance of the requirement to be stood down over the Christmas/New Year period.
Members are reminded that it is a breach of the EBA (and the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010) for an employee to be paid for accrued annual leave at Christmas or any other time, unless the employee takes annual leave or their employment is terminated. Each employee before going on annual leave is to be paid in advance the wages they would normally accrue during the leave period. However, members are not obliged to pay RDOs in advance, and are therefore entitled to pay the EBA RDOs falling on 7 to 9 January 2015 as part of the first week back – ensuring that employees have a full week’s pay.
Annual leave taken during the Christmas closedown is paid at the ordinary rate being paid to the employee immediately prior to the taking of the annual leave, plus annual leave loading; travel and site allowances are not payable on annual leave (although travel is used in calculating the annual leave loading entitlement).
Members should note that under the EBA, an employer terminating an employee due to lack of work must pay in addition any public holiday, or group of public holidays, falling within 10 calendar days after the termination. Therefore, employers intending to terminate an employee due to lack of work are encouraged to ensure that the termination has taken effect by 12 December 2014, in order to avoid any obligation to pay the public holidays of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.