Planning a Christmas shut-down

Are you planning to close over the Christmas and New Year period? There are many business benefits such as cost savings and fewer customers, many suppliers are also closed and it allows employees to have a break and return refreshed in the new year. However, while the business may benefit from a shut-down, there are many employees who do not like the practice and argue that it may incur hidden costs related to disengaged employees and higher staff turnover.


Employees who may dislike a Christmas shut-down


  • Those who started during the year and have not accrued a full year’s annual leave. An employee who started after August 2018 may not have accrued enough paid leave to cover the shut-down period and will have to take unpaid leave.
  • Those with cultural backgrounds that do no recognise Christmas and may have other celebrations at different times of the year.
  • Those who want to save their annual leave for non-peak holiday times or who want to take their full 20 days per year all at once.
  • Those who prefer to use a quiet time at the workplace to catch up on major projects or do “admin” type of work that they are usually too busy to do.


So what are your options?


Small businesses usually do not have as much flexibility and potentially more cost pressures to accommodate employees but there are some possible options such as:

  • Having regular informal conversations with each employee to identify what his/her circumstances and preferences are.
  • Close the office but allow employees to work from home during the break but discuss and set work outcomes beforehand.
  • Allow employees to take unpaid leave during Christmas/New Year.
  • Pay employees for their mandatory Christmas/New Year annual leave but then allow them to take unpaid leave at another time of the year.


It is important when hiring employees to make them aware of any compulsory December/January annual leave policies before making the job offer.

If you require assistance with planning for a Christmas shut-down, please contact ProcessWorx on (08) 9316 9896 or email



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