9.05.2018

Christmas/Annual Closedown Periods

Employers are entitled to have a Christmas closedown – provided they customarily have had a closedown period.  Unfortunately, what constitutes “customarily” is somewhat unclear: an employer that has always closed down over Christmas will be fine, but what about, for example, a new (Greenfields) business wanting to close down at some point in its first year of operation?  Factually, such businesses can’t customarily have had a closedown period because they did not exist before.  Whether the Courts will allow a ‘start-up’ to have a closedown is unknown.

Where an employer has customarily had a closedown period, then they can continue that practice provided that:

  • They give employees at least 14 days notice of the closedown; and
  • Employees are informed that they will be required to take annual holidays during the closedown.

If an employer is going to have a closedown period, best practice is for them to tell employees in writing – a general memo about when the business will close and reopen and that employees will need to take annual holidays is acceptable.

If specific employees do not have sufficient holiday entitlements (which will include those within their first year of employment), then send them a personal letter.  These employees will be paid at 8% of their gross earnings to the date of commencement of the closedown and the employer may discontinue their work during the closedown period.

If an employer has not previously had a closedown period, then, under the Holidays Act 2003, they cannot decide to start the practice now.  However, the Holidays Act allows an employer and employee to agree to take annual holidays, or, if there is no agreement, an employer can direct an employee to take annual leave by giving at least 14 days notice (there may be greater notice or different provisions in an employment agreement).  Through that process, an employer could direct all employees to take their annual leave entitlement – creating a de facto closedown period.  However, an employer could not direct an employee who has no entitlement to annual leave to take leave in advance or leave without pay.

Do you need expert legal advice?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
Kerry_100x100 1
Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

Related Articles / Insights & Opinion

Employment Law Team – Some exciting changes
The Employment Law team at Hesketh Henry is thrilled to welcome Jodi Sharman back from parental leave.  Jodi is excited to be back at her desk.  We are also happy to announce that Sam Houliston has ...
25.09.2018 Posted in Employment Law
LexisNexis Foreign Investment Law Guide 2018-2019
Hesketh Henry has authored the New Zealand chapter of the LexisNexis Foreign Investment Law Guide 2018-2019, a guide for foreign investors interested in doing business in New Zealand. The chapter prov...
25.09.2018 Posted in Foreign Investment
Getting the Deal Through: Construction 2019
Partners Nick Gillies, Helen Macfarlane and Christina Bryant are the contributing authors of the New Zealand Chapter of the 2019 edition of “Getting the Deal Through Construction”. Getting...
19.09.2018 Posted in Construction Law
UAE COMPANIES LAW UPDATE
New Zealand businesses looking to establish a foothold in the UAE have many options
10.09.2018 Posted in Trade and Commodities
When You Can’t Have it Your Way
Antares Restaurant Group Limited (which owns and operates Burger King in New Zealand) has received a whopper of a sanction – a ban on the company supporting visa applications until July next year.
4.09.2018 Posted in Employment Law
Getting the Deal Through: Shipping 2019
The Marine team at Hesketh Henry have again contributed to Getting the Deal Through: Shipping 2019.
30.08.2018 Posted in Maritime Law
A Guide to Concurrent Delay
Hesketh Henry was pleased to host the New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors on 14 August 2018, where one of our construction partners, Nick Gillies, presented on concurrent delay.  The same pre...
22.08.2018 Posted in Construction Law
Send us an enquiry
For expert legal advice, please complete the form below or call us on (09) 375 8700.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.