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Directing an employee to take leave

Q: We are considering directing an employee to take annual leave. Could you please provide some information about this and point out where the requirements are set out in the legislation?

A: If the employee is covered by an award or enterprise agreement, you will only be able to direct the employee to take leave in accordance with the provisions set out in that industrial instrument.If the employee is award- or agreement-free, section 94(5) of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that as an employer, you can direct an employee to take leave, but only where the requirement is reasonable. It will generally be reasonable where the employee has accrued an excessive amount of annual leave or if the business is being shut down for a period, such as during the Christmas/New Year break. Whether the direction to take leave is reasonable will also depend on the amount of notice that is given to the employee, as well as the amount of leave the employee is directed take.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Annual leave for current advice.

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