Do the shut down provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) apply to the current pandemic situation?
Yes, the shut down provisions can apply to the current circumstances – a shut down is simply when a business temporarily closes down (this is common around Christmas, Easter and New Year). During a shut down, you can direct permanent employees to take annual leave and you can inform casual employees they are not required to work on the shut down days.
If employees do not have sufficient annual leave, you will need to advance the leave. Under modern awards, it is usually a requirement that you give notice of a direction to take annual leave – you should check this before making the direction.
Note that during a shutdown you cannot try to operate your business yourself or with your partners because if the business is operating, the shutdown provisions of the FW Act do not apply.