End of Year Workplace Celebrations

End of Year Workplace Celebrations

November brings Melbourne Cup functions for the race that stops the nation and then before we know it Christmas will be here.  Mince pies are already in the shops and Christmas decorations are starting to pop up everywhere.

This means that it is time for work functions!  Booking the venue, planning the party and sending the invites are the easy bits.  Managing staff expectations and behaviour, while keeping on top of the end of year can be more challenging.

Now is the time to start planning for the end of year and end of year celebrations so everyone gets to have a good time.

Each year we receive panicked calls from clients shocked about the antics of staff at the work Christmas party, stressed about end of year shut down notices and rostering for the festive season while accounting for the public holidays.  The team at HR Law have put their heads together for some top tips for making the end of year a little less stressful for everyone.

1. Decide if the business is shutting down

If the answer is yes, decide when and for how long.  The key is to then communicate this to staff and outline the expectation during the shut down.  For instance, are staff expected to take annual leave?  What about if they have insufficient leave?  Are there any modern award requirements that must be satisfied?

Early communication is often key to a smooth shut down, and a requirement of many modern awards!

2. Plan the party AND the pre-party communication

So much focus is on the party and rightly so, it is a great time for staff to come together and let their hair down.  No one wants things to get out of hand however, resulting in a post party hangover that turns into a post party litigation!  Use the time now to hold refresher training on the company’s code of conduct and workplace parties policy.  Also plan correspondence to be delivered to all staff, whether that be by email, on notice boards, flyers in the lunch room etc., reminding everyone that the workplace policies apply at the party, staff are to abide by the policies and expected standards of behaviour.  It’s also great to outline the party program (arrival time, food and drinks on offer and transport arrangements) so there are no surprises.

3. Know your public holidays

Know what days or part-days (yes that’s right!) are public holidays in each State and Territory the company operates across.  This will make it easier to plan rosters, shut downs and wages over the end of year period.  It may also be worth exploring if the applicable modern awards allow for public holiday substitutions either for the workforce, part of the workforce or even individuals.

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