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It's Christmas Time! Do you know your obligations to your staff?

The festive season is coming! Read on to find out more about your employer responsibilities and how to keep your key staff happy over Christmas and beyond.

SafetyNest Blog | Christmas Staff Obligations

The festive season is coming, bringing with it lots of merry cheer and fun.

The kids are brimming over with excitement about Santa and the team will all be looking forward to a break in the summer sun.

However, it is not all sunshine and beach trips! When it comes to running an ECE Centre, there are your employer responsibilities to think of too.

Are you ready for the Christmas break?

If you are worried about the upcoming silly season, then stop panicking. Here at SafetyNest, we have you covered.

Read on to find out more about your employer responsibilities and how to keep your key staff happy over Christmas and beyond.

Employer Responsibilities

Leave and Close Down Periods

Often, many Centres will choose to close for the holiday period. This makes sense as many families will be withdrawing their children from the Centre during this time for holidays or time at home together.

If you are intending to close your Centre over Christmas, then you will need to give your staff 14 days’ notice. You can require your staff to take annual leave for the closedown period. If your staff do not have enough holiday leave, then they must take as much as they can in Annual Leave. For the balance, you can choose to give them some leave in advance, or they are able to take it unpaid.

For employees who are not yet entitled to holiday leave, you may have to consider special provisions. They can either take some holiday leave in advance, you agree to move their leave entitlement date to the shutdown date, or they are paid 8% of their gross earnings as at the closedown date.

Don’t forget to factor in the public holidays and extra entitlements if your Centre remains open and your staff end up working.

For more info on how this works, contact us or have a look at the Employment NZ site here.

Christmas Party

It is not just your legal obligations that you need to consider. There is also the social aspect of an end of year celebration.

The great thing about a Christmas party is that it is more than an opportunity to party. If done right, your Christmas celebrations can be a great team building experience too.

Getting the team together outside of work hours to mingle in a social capacity can strengthen their bonds as they get to know each other as people. Celebrate some wins that you have had throughout the year and recognise hard work and dedication. This will help to make your team feel valued and respected. It will result in greater loyalty from them all year round.

Think carefully about what you might do for your celebration. It doesn’t have to break the budget, but it should be something that everyone can enjoy and participate in. Make sure it is hosted in an environment where everyone will feel comfortable and can get home safely afterwards.

Keeping Your Staff Over Christmas

Working over the Christmas period is not ideal for some people. After all, everyone is out enjoying the sunshine and their families may be at home while they are out working. So, it is important to consider what your employees are giving up to be at work.

Yes, you are going to pay them of course. But, there are some other things that you can do to ensure they want to stay working for you after the festive season ends!

Make It More Relaxed: If you can make the work environment a more relaxing one then it removes the stress element. Let the team dress more casually, decorate the workspace and generally take things easier than normal. This relaxation of the rules will show your staff you trust them to get on with things.

Have Fun: Everyone is out having fun on their holidays, so try to make it fun in the workplace too. Try and factor in a bit of downtime, especially if you are going through a quieter period.

Be Flexible Where Possible: If you can find some way to offer flexible work hours, then your team will thank you for it. Also, make sure the shifts are fairly allocated, so no one feels disadvantaged.

Consider A Bonus Or Gift: Everyone likes to feel appreciated during the holidays. So, why not show your appreciation with a bonus or a gift. These things don’t need to cost a lot if you have a small Centre but can be very meaningful.

Christmas and the festive season can be a tough time to navigate when there is staff involved. But if you can be conscious of the season and act accordingly in your dealings with your team then you should all start the New Year in a great position.

And a great way to ensure you are ticking all the boxes is to have quality HR software to rely on. If you aren’t yet using SafetyNest, then sign up for your free trial here.

*Please note the content of this article is intended for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek individualised advice for your Centre should you need it.


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