Don't celebrate Christmas but your employer is forcing you to take your leave over the holidays?

Unfortunately, if your company is closing down for the Christmas/New Year period, your boss can legally make you take your leave along with everyone else, says an employment expert.

Sherridan Cook, a partner at law firm Buddle Findlay, said while staff can be forced to take their leave over Christmas, there are laws around how this can be done.

"If any employer has a customary closedown then they can do so in accordance with the closedown provisions and Holidays Act," Cook said.


"A lot of businesses, particularly manufacturing or even professional services like law or accounting, will have customary closedowns already over the Christmas/New Year period and all staff take their leave at that time."

However, Cook says a customary closedown is not something an employee can just start immediately.

"If you don't have a customary closedown then you can start one, but you would have to use the usual provisions in the Act that allow employers to require employees to go on leave on 14 days' notice," Cook said.

Cook says employers would need to consult with their employees about putting a closedown in place, and then get them to agree to take their leave.

If an agreement can't be reached between the two parties, then a worker could be forced to take leave, providing they are given 14 days' notice.