For some businesses, the Christmas period is the busiest time of the year. However, it is also the time when most employees want to take leave.

Can employers refuse annual leave over the Christmas period due to high operational demands?

Annual leave may be taken for a period agreed between an employer and the employee, although the employer must not unreasonably refuse to agree to a request. Therefore employees do not have the right to take annual leave when ever they request but an employer must have a good and reasonable reason for refusing leave.

Annual leave requests should be considered on individual basis and communicated to the employee. Taking annual leave may also be subjective to a modern award or enterprise agreement.

Relevant factors to consider are, if the employee has accrued annual leave, the proposed leave period, operational requirements during the leave period, if any detriment will be caused to the business and how reasonable the notice is given.

A company annual leave policy can specify circumstances were requests for annual leave may be refused by the employer and alleviate potential disputes. For example, policy could state times of the year were annual leave will be refused or must be taken due to operational requirements.

For more information about annual leave contact ProcessWorx on (08) 9316 9896 or

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Written by Danielle McNamee


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