Easter 2021: Public Holidays and Trading Restrictions

This year Easter Friday falls on April 2nd, Easter Sunday on April 4th and Easter Monday on April 5th. Only Easter Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays, on these days you will have to comply with public holiday pay for your employees.

Easter Friday and Sunday Restrictions:

While Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, it is a restricted shop trading day. There are three and a half days when almost all shops must be closed under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990. These days are:

  • Christmas Day (a public holiday)
  • Good Friday (a public holiday)
  • ANZAC Day, until 1.00 pm on 25 April (a public holiday)
  • Easter Sunday (not a public holiday)

Shops that can open

There are three types of shops that can open on restricted trading days:

  • Shops that can open with conditions and provided they meet certain conditions.
  • Shops that can open because of an area exemption.
  • Shops that can open on Easter Sunday because the local territorial authority has adopted a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy. Being able to open on Easter Sunday under a local territorial authority policy doesn’t mean a shop can open on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Anzac Day before 1pm.

You can open your takeaway bar, restaurant, or café if:

You only sell prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold.

Easter Sunday rights and responsibilities

All shop employees have the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday and they don’t have to give their employer a reason for refusing. This applies to all shop employees, eg:

  • Working in shops in an area where a local policy is created.
  • Working in shops that have criteria that exempt them from shopping restrictions, such as dairies and petrol stations.
  • Doing ‘non-trading’ work, such as shelf-stacking or stocktaking, on Easter Sunday in or from a shop (in areas with or without local policies or exemptions).

Employers who want a shop employee to work on Easter Sunday and shop employees who don’t want to work on Easter Sunday have specific responsibilities to each other and need to follow the required process. Click here for full Employer Responsibilities.

Opening on a restricted trading day is an offence

Shops that don’t fit into one of the exemption categories or are not within an area under which a territorial authority has made a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy, commit an offence if they open and trade on restricted shop trading days. The “occupier” of the shop may be liable for a fine of up to $1,000. The occupier of a shop includes:

  • Any agent, manager, supervisor, person acting or apparently acting in control of the shop;
  • Any hawker or person who carries on business by selling goods, or offering goods for sale by retail, or delivering goods to a customer; otherwise than in a shop.

Opening on a restricted trading day has no effect on ability to sell alcohol

Note that shop trading provisions allowing a bar, café, or restaurant to open on restricted trading days to sell goods such as food, have no effect on the conditions for the sale and supply of alcohol on these days (including Easter Sunday). The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 continues to apply and premises selling and supplying alcohol (such as bars, some cafes and restaurants) must comply with it. This means they are not permitted to sell alcohol on restricted trading days unless this is with a meal.

For more information, visit employment.govt.nz/public-holidays