Christmas Update

Christmas Update – 15th December 2021


Somehow, we are in the last sprint to Christmas. It feels like this year has gone very fast, and yet, so much has happened.

Before we sign off for a couple of weeks, there are a few things that you need to know:


Christmas Period Payroll – things to remember

The Christmas season brings more complex payroll scenarios. Here are a few things you need to know and remember:

  1. Christmas Stat Days (and the same applies to New Years)
    Christmas Day and Boxing Day are on Saturday and Sunday, this year. This means that, unless Saturdays and Sundays are a normal day of work for staff, the holidays get Monday and Tuesday-ised. Here are some scenarios and how your staff will need to be paid:

    1. Your employee works Monday-Friday – Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be observed on Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th and staff will have a paid day off for those days. If staff work on these days, they must be paid time and a half as a minimum and be entitled to a full day in lieu.
    2. Your employee works Sunday-Thursday – Christmas Day will be observed on Monday 27th. Boxing Day will remain as observed on Sunday 26th. Staff will have a paid day off for Sunday 26th and Monday 27th, unless they work, in which case they will be compensated as in (a).
    3. Your employee works Tuesday-Saturday – Christmas Day will remain as observed on Saturday 25th. Boxing day will be observed on Tuesday 28th. Staff will have a paid day off for Saturday 25th and Tuesday 28th, unless they work, in which case they will be compensated as in (a).
    4. Your employee works Saturday and Sunday – Christmas Day and Boxing Day are observed on the Saturday and Sunday and staff will have paid days off or, if they do work, will be compensated as in (a).
  2. Close Down and Annual Leave Anniversary Dates
    As per the Holidays Act, where there is a Company enforced close-down period, any employee who has been working for the Company for less than 12 months, from the first day of close-down, should be paid out 8% of their gross earnings to the date of closedown, minus any leave taken in advance, in lieu of holiday pay. Their Annual Leave anniversary date will then become the date of the first day of close-down and their 12 months to Annual Leave entitlement will start again.

    In situations where you have staff who have been around for more than a year but this requirement has not been actioned in the past, the employee’s entitlement anniversary date in payroll must be changed to a date approximating the date of closedown. This may mean that you have not complied with the Holidays Act. If you have concerns about this, it is not urgent, but you should contact us in the New Year.

Changes to the Covid Protection Framework Industry Guidelines

Please be aware that some of the Industry Guidelines have been amended since they were first issued.  For example allowing takeaway businesses to be considered to be retail and not food and beverage (see below).  There is no apparent way of tracking these changes, so while we will do our upmost to ensure we are getting the most up to date information to you, we strongly advise that you intermittently check your industry guidelines and ensure that you are still operating as required by the Framework.

Food and Beverage businesses who are operating solely as a takeaway business are now not required to sight or verify vaccination passes. Takeaway businesses can operate under the same guidelines and requirements as retail – under Orange, this means 1m distancing and mandatory face mask wearing. Operating under these rules means that any seating area you have cannot be used.

Businesses who operate as both a sit-down venue and a takeaway venue must decide which industry category they will operate under.

The Industry Guidelines can be found towards the bottom of this web page:

For more information on these guidelines, vaccination passes and the verifier app, please see our previous updates. These can easily be found on our website, under ‘Keeping You Posted’.


Risk Assessment Process for determining a suitable response to the risk of covid infection at work

The government promised this, and it is now available – if you want to consider mandating vaccination in your workplace and are not covered by a mandated ruling from the government you will need to follow a health and safety risk assessment.  The government have now produced some guidelines as to how you could do this, if you have not already done so.  This guidance can be found at:


Template termination letter example

We have had a lot of queries regarding needing to terminate employment of an unvaccinated employee, after a thorough risk assessment or change process.

This is a very delicate process and a little different to a normal process. As such I do not believe that a template letter can be provided for this purpose.  Please get in touch if you need a letter drafted for your company.

Please also remember that anyone who is being dismissed due to not being vaccinated, after the relevant fair process, must be given four weeks paid notice. This cannot be paid out as employees will have the right to change their mind and get vaccinated in order to keep their job within this four-week period.  In this situation the termination letter and notice are automatically cancelled (by the operation of the law) unless such cancellation unreasonably disrupts your business.  However, once you have followed a fair process and issued a termination letter, you can commence recruiting for a replacement.


Essential HR Team Update

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Jess Yardley has been appointed to a Junior Advisor role.  She has been building her experience and her academic qualifications and I am very comfortable to have her now giving you all advice on my behalf.  Many of you will know her from administrative HR support she has given you.  It is a big relief to me.


Essential HR Christmas Break Dates

While Mike will be on call throughout this period, Essential HR will be closed from Thursday 24th December until Monday 10th January 2022.

We hope that you all have a lovely Christmas and we will see you in the New Year.


Thank You, from Essential HR

I cannot end a year without thanking you all for entrusting us with your HR advice and support.  This year has seen more uncharted territory and it has been my pleasure to help guide you through it.  It has been tough for all of us and I want again to thank you for bearing with us as we have learnt and tried not to drop any balls in the process.


Essential HR are here to help.  For ongoing help call us on – 03 3650532, or you can contact Mike directly on 027 2808546 or

I’m happy for you to pass this on to others.

And if you need to conference call, we are all set up with Zoom.

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

Keeping You Posted

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