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Closed for the Season: All About Holiday Shutdowns

December 07, 2017

With the holidays upon us, people are thinking about their holiday plans. Employees are likely planning their time off; they may be thinking about travel plans and holiday shopping, whereas employers are probably wrapping up year-end. As part of this, employers who are not considered essential services or governed by legislation may be assessing the company’s business needs for the end of the year, including whether or not to keep the business open between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

For many businesses, the holidays represent a slow season. Employees and business partners are likely to push back any major business until their return from the holidays, and closing shop may just make sense. Temporary closures offer employers an opportunity to give employees some much needed time off at the end of the year to recharge, and may also give businesses a chance to save on operating costs when business or production may be slow, including heating, cooling, electricity, and possibly employee wages.

When it comes to temporary shutdowns around the holidays, one question most business owners immediately ask is whether or not they have an obligation to pay employees for the time off. For some employers, paying employees during the closure isn’t a choice but an obligation. For others, it may be best practice for the employer to pay employees for any time they would have worked had the business not been closed. However, while this sentiment may be nice, paying employees where no obligation exists may not be feasible for every business. Before closing for the holidays, employers will need to think about their legislated obligations, including payment requirements and options. Check out our "Pay by the Rules" blog article and download our 3-Step Guide to Holiday Pay to learn more! 

Holiday closures can be a great relief to both employers and employees, offering a chance to recharge the whole company as you prepare for the New Year. That said, the holiday season can be stressful, especially where the closure affects an employee’s income or entitlements. To help with a smooth closure, plan how it will play out for everyone involved and begin your communication early. Maintaining regular and consistent communication with staff and clients will help to ensure the closure remains merry and bright.

To ensure the time off accomplishes the twofold purpose of helping employees recharge and saving operating costs for the business, be sure to reflect on how these decisions will affect your staff and customers.

Considering shutting down over the holidays? Download our FREE Holiday Shutdowns Guide to look at some things you should consider before closing shop.

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