Annual Leave & Christmas Shutdowns: your rights

There are rules about when CBA can and can’t direct you to take leave.

CBA has recently sent out an email outlining their “expectations” to do with taking your annual leave and have begun communicating with people about a three week long Christmas Shutdown for “non essential” areas.

We’ve had many questions from members about this issue already, and want to make sure that everyone is aware of their rights under the Enterprise Agreement. Regardless of what CBA might “expect” or “need” you to do with your leave, there are actually rules about when they can and can’t direct you to take leave.

We’ve written to CBA this afternoon about the way they’re handling both matters. Our letter is here for you to read, and we’ll be sure to keep members in the loop.

If you’re under pressure to submit leave that you’re uncomfortable about, CONTACT YOUR UNION ON 1300 366 378 – we can help.


  • CBA can only direct an employee to take leave if they have more than 6 weeks accrued.
  • Even if you’re directed to take leave, CBA must try to reach agreement with you about when and how. This means that your personal circumstances have to be considered. Contact the union for support in this circumstance.
  • You can not be directed to take leave if it would push your final balance below 4 weeks.


  • CBA does not have the ability to direct you to use your leave, take unpaid leave or purchase leave for a Shutdown. They can, however, shutdown areas at their discretion.
  • CBA only has the ability to direct you to take leave as outlined above. They could use their ability to direct you to take leave for a Christmas Shutdown, but the rules outlined above would apply.
  • If you don’t have enough leave for them to direct you to take leave for all or some of the shutdown, CBA would either have to find work for you to do, or pay you for the shutdown period.

CBA’s emails also ask members to take their Long Service Leave yearly, which is not something they can direct. They can ask, but you don’t have to agree. If you’re being pressured to take your LSL, contact the FSU immediately.

The flowchart below clarifies what is and is not allowed with regard to your annual leave. Please share it with your colleagues if they have questions.

There is a downloadable version here:, with more detailed guidance on the back. Please share it with colleagues.

CBA’s communications give the impression that they can require you to take all of your leave, every year. This isn’t the case. We’d urge you to forward this email to your colleagues so that they know their rights.

If you have more questions or specific concerns, please call our Member Rights Centre on 1300 366 378.


Authorised by Julia Angrisano, National Secretary