Shops that can open
There are three types of shops which 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 (council) has adopted a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy. This doesn’t mean a shop can open on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Anzac Day before 1pm.
Easter Sunday rights and responsibilities
All shop employees have the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday. They don’t have to give their employer a reason for refusing. This applies to all shop employees, for example:
- working in shops in an area with a local council policy
- working in garden centres
- working in shops that are exempt from shopping restrictions, such as dairies and petrol stations
- doing ‘non-trading’ work such as shelf-stacking or stocktaking in or from a shop. This includes areas with or without local policies or exemptions.
Employers and employees have specific responsibilities to each other and a process they must follow when:
- employers want a shop employee to work on Easter Sunday
- shop employees don’t want to work on Easter Sunday.
Opening on a restricted trading day is an offence
Shops that don’t fit into one of the exemption categories, or are not in an area where a council 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.
Use our tool to find out whether you can trade on restricted shop trading days.
The mondayisation of a public holiday for an employee has no effect on shop trading restrictions. The trading restriction isn’t mondayised and shops don’t have to close twice. If ANZAC Day or Christmas Day fall on a Saturday or Sunday:
- Shops must close on 25 April or 25 December because of restricted trading (unless they can open with conditions or have an area exemption).
- Shops can open with no restrictions on the following Monday (even if the holiday is mondayised for some or all of the employees).
Restricted shop trading for ANZAC Day only occurs on 25 April. Restricted shop trading for Christmas Day only occurs on 25 December.
Opening on a restricted trading day has no effect on conditions for the sale and supply of alcohol.
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 about the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, visit Alcohol.org.nz (external link)
Tools and Resources
Easter Sunday trading template letter for employees - PDF 53KB
Employees intending to refuse to work on Easter Sunday can use our template letter as a guide.
Easter Sunday trading template letter for employers - PDF 84KB
Employers can use our template letter as a guide when informing employees of their right to refuse work on Easter Sunday.
Holidays Act 2003 - PDF 1.8MB
Guidance on holidays and leave.
Subscribe to our email newsletter
Receive news and updates each month from Employment New Zealand.