Tips for Management Organising Work Christmas Parties

Another year and again we are ready to “celebrate” what has been achieved, and make our resolutions for 2015.

This year seems to have passed by so quickly and it is hard to believe we are now in the “Christmas Party Mode”…….

This time of year can become a night mare for business owners and their management team, so we thought it is timely we “revisited” what we refer to as the:

“Ten Tips to ensure PCBU’s Duty of Care at Christmas Parties is met”

1. Risk Assessment: Know where the event is going to be held, the place, the people. What are the plans should you need to put them into action.

2. Relevant WHS Policies: Alert the team of the relevant company policies. Ensure they understand that the Christmas gathering and celebrations are an “extension” of the workplace. Make sure they re-visit and refresh their memory as to the contents of the Drugs and Alcohol Policy, Company Car use, Harassment and Social Media, e.g. needing another’s permission to post a photo on Face book, to guide what is acceptable and unacceptable and even legal and illegal behaviour.

3. Managers Responsibility: Ensure your mangers are fully versed on the relevant company policies and fully aware of their responsibilities such as setting the tone for the event by their own behaviour, being alert to what is happening and taking action as required; and a procedure for if someone is intoxicated could be developed accordingly.

4. Insurances: Check you have the appropriate and sufficient insurances in place for both the venue as well as the caterer.

5. Venue Staff: Take a minute to brief the staff that will be serving or attending your staff at the venue. Make them aware of what your staff polices are so they understand the behaviour you expect from your team.

6. Travel/ Transport: Take into consideration how your people will travel to and from the venue. Will you organize taxi charges? Will you provide a bus for them to travel together in? Are there suitable arrangements for the returning home or safe travel of the staff in the evening / late night?

7. Invitation: Send out an invitation to the attendees that has a clear START AND FINISH time. Maybe also consider including dress code, extra “partners” that are able to attend and other specifics.

8. Catering: Ensure there is adequate food and non-alcoholic beverages available to lessen the effects of alcohol. Perhaps part of the venue scope would be plenty of water available.

9. Underage: Identify all under-age attendees and make them known to bar staff. Perhaps appoint a buddy who is available to them if necessary. This would be part of your planning and risk based process.

10. After party: Make it clear in the invite any festivities that continue after the designated end of the Christmas party are not endorsed by the employer and are on the employees’ own time. This is why it is important to make clear “time frames” on the invitation or any memos etc. relating to the event.

Christmas parties are a great way to get together and celebrate what has been (for many) a tough year. Remember employers can be held responsible for employee’s inappropriate statements and conduct.

Consequently to ensure the Festive Season does not turn into a Miserable New Year a PCBU needs to take necessary steps to guarantee its duty of care. Put some thought into your celebrations and ensure they do not “cost you” all the hard work you have put in through 2014

Have a safe one!


Lynn and the team at P.B.C.&S

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