We have been asked by some members about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to working over the closedown period. We strongly encourage members to take a well-deserved break if they can do so, but we also understand that for various reasons, some of you will need to work over the Christmas closedown period.
Do I have to take leave?
As the Christmas Closedown requires you to utilise your leave entitlements, usually recreation leave with a combination of flex leave (for those have access to a flexible working hours agreement) the question is, ‘Can I be directed to take leave over this period?’
There are limits on an employer’s ability to direct you on to leave. The limitations differ for those employees under the Roads and Maritime Consolidated salaries Award 2019 (RMS Award) and Transport for NSW and Sydney Metro Salaries Conditions of Employment Award 2022 (TfNSW Award).
If you are under the RMS Award you can only be directed to take leave if you are in excess of your accrued recreation leave at:
- Six weeks and the direction is to take the leave within three months of notification (Clause 27.8(e)
- Eight weeks and the direction is to take leave within six weeks of being notified 27.8(f)).
If you are under the TfNSW Award, clause 23.1(d) provides limits on the accrual and direction to take leave. In accordance with clause 23.1(d)(i) you can only be directed to take annual leave if you have not taken two weeks of annual leave every 12 months.
I want to work over the Christmas closedown. What do I do?
Management may not be receptive to your request as the directive is clear to close most agencies down over this period. However, across most NSW Government agencies there will be the ability to accommodate staff who wish to work over the closedown period.
Please be advised though, that this may mean a relocation to a different work location or suitable alternative duties.
Ideally, if you were wanting to work over this period you would have already initiated the discussions with your relevant manager by now. If you have not you are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible.
If you are having difficulty in negotiating with your management to make arrangements to work over the closedown period then you can contact PSA member support on 1800 772 679 or by email for further assistance.