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Trading on Easter Sunday

Amendments to the Shop Trading Act 1990 came into force in 2016, and as from 1 January 2018 individual councils throughout New Zealand can decide if they will allow business trading in their area.

Previous restrictions limited Easter Sunday Trading for shops which sold food and drink, petrol, gardening equipment, services (hairdressers, etc.) and souvenirs.  These amendments remove these restrictions and will allow businesses to open on Easter Sunday if they wish to do so, depending on the policy of the relevant council.

It is important that the business owner checks the relevant council policy on Easter Sunday trading in their area to ensure they are compliant, and if a business owner has more than one shop throughout different areas of the country, they will need to check the Easter Sunday trading policy with the relevant local council in each of those areas to determine whether they are authorised to trade.

Where the business owner opens for trade without authorisation from the relevant council they risk being fined.

There are also important points for Employers to follow with regard to Employees if they are wishing to open on Easter Sunday:

  • Prior to Easter Sunday, the employer must provide their employees with at least four weeks notice and no more than 8 weeks notice, if they are going to request their employee(s) to work on Easter Sunday.
  • Easter Sunday this year falls on 1 April 2018 meaning notice must be given to employees no later than 4 March 2018. This date will change every year depending on the date Easter Sunday falls.
  • This notice must be given in writing and either delivered in person, sent by email or as specified in the employment agreement.
  • The employee must be informed of their right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday. They do not have to provide a reason for not wishing to work.
  • If the employee who has declined to work on Easter Sunday is made to feel that the employer is pressuring them into work or if they are treated unfairly in any way for not working, the employee can take out a personal grievance.

An important point for Payroll purposes is that Easter Sunday is not a Public Holiday.  Therefore the employee is not entitled to Public Holiday payments or alternative days off if they work on that day.

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