The short answer to the question about whether someone can be forced to take annual leave is yes, sometimes, but in very limited circumstances.
If someone has an accrual in excess of 8 weeks they can be forced to take it, but they can negotiate when to take the excessive portion of leave - an employee can’t just be told they have to take it tomorrow.
The Regis staff agreement set out like this:
16.6 Direction to take annual leave
An Employee must take annual leave if they are directed to do so by the Employer in circumstances where:
(a) the Employer shuts down the part of the business in which the Employee works (for example over the Christmas/New Year period). If the Employee does not have sufficient annual leave accrued to cover the shut-down period he/she may be required to take unpaid leave; and/or
(b) an Employee is employed on a full time basis and has accrued at least eight weeks' annual leave, or where an Employee is employed on a part time basis and the Employee has accrued the pro rata equivalent of eight weeks' annual leave. In such circumstances, the Employer may direct the Employee to take an amount of annual leave to reduce the Employee's accrued annual leave balance to six weeks(or in the case of a part time Employee, the pro rata equivalent of six weeks'annual leave).
Staff can also apply to cash out some portions of annual leave under certain circumstances.
We hope everyone is safe and well, and members can keep in touch by contacting HACSUassist via email@example.com or 1300 880 032 or talk to HACSU organiser Geoff Blyth.