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Easter trading: New rules for you and staff

If you’re a shop owner, new rules mean your council may let you open on Easter Sunday. However, you can’t make your employees work that day. 

When: From Easter 2017 depending on each individual council. When it gets close to Easter 2017, check with your local council.

Why: This law change addresses growing demand from the public and retailers to open for business on Easter Sunday. Currently, the law restricts most — but not all — businesses from opening on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and until 1pm on Christmas Day and Anzac Day.

What: Changes to the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 mean local authorities can let shops in their districts open on Easter Sunday.

For employers who plan to open on Easter Sunday, this means you must tell staff of their right to refuse to work, eg by group email. This must be done:

  • between eight and four weeks before Easter Sunday, or
  • as soon as possible if new staff join your business less than four weeks before Easter Sunday.

Details of the law change (external link)  — Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment 

Find your local council (external link)  — Local Government New Zealand

For employers who plan to open on Easter Sunday, this means you must tell staff of their right to refuse to work, eg by group email. This must be done:

  • between eight and four weeks before Easter Sunday, or
  • as soon as possible if new staff join your business less than four weeks before Easter Sunday.

For employees, the law change means they can:

  • refuse to work on Easter Sunday without giving a reason and without repercussions — but they must tell you they’re not going to work
  • raise a personal grievance against you if they believe they’ve been: 
    • made to work Easter Sunday, or
    • treated badly for refusing to work Easter Sunday.

An employee who doesn’t intend to work Easter Sunday must tell you in writing within 14 days of receiving the right to refuse. This can be by letter or email.

Restricted shop trading days (external link)  — Employment New Zealand 

Public holidays clause (external link)  — Employment Agreement Builder

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