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Xmas Party and Closedowns

Published 04 Dec 2017

The Christmas season is upon us once again, here's a couple of pointers on the common seasonal issues.


You are required to give a minimum of 14 days' notice to staff if you intend to have one.
You can only have one closedown period per year per employee. This can be at different times for different departments or areas.
Staff either take annual leave, unpaid leave or annual leave in advance if you both agree.
There are 4 public Holidays over the xmas period; Christmas Day (25th Dec), Boxing Day (26th Dec), New Years Day (1st Jan) and January 2nd.
If any of these days are in your closedown period you must pay staff for them as if they were working, provided it would have otherwise been a normal working day.

Please see last month's article on Public Holidays for a calendar of dates

Health & Safety and the Xmas party.

Neither being after hours nor off site diminishes either the employees required code of conduct nor the employer's duty of care.
If you're hosting your staff off site you should consider the venue from a risk management point of view. Does the venue have risk management plans or emergency procedures? If not consider doing your own appraisal if reasonable.
Ensure you have polices on Drugs & Alcohol, Bullying & Harassment and Disciplinary Procedures.
Management should lead by example and set the standards and tone at the event.
Remind staff prior to the event about acceptable use when it comes to alcohol, and their obligations and consequences with respect to the above.
Do not provide unlimited free alcohol.
Provide food and soft drinks.
Remember since 2014 the drink-driving alcohol limit was slashed by nearly 40%, consider providing transport home.