Easter Trading Laws

New law for trading on Easter Sunday

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 was amended to enable territorial authorities to decide whether retailers in their districts can open on Easter Sunday.

 The key changes to the law are:


Territorial authorities can now create local policies to allow shop trading across their entire district or in limited areas on Easter Sunday. 

To adopt, amend or revoke a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy, territorial authorities are required to use the special consultative procedure.  Once it has been adopted, amended or revoked, the authority must make the policy publicly available. 


All shop employees have the ability to refuse to work on Easter Sunday without providing a reason to their employer. 

Employers who want employees to work on Easter Sunday must advise the employees that they have the right to refuse to work.  This must be done by notice in writing between 4 and 8 weeks of the Easter Sunday (or in the case of a shop employee whose employment with the employer started 4 weeks or less before the relevant Easter Sunday, as soon as is reasonably practicable after the shop employee’s employment with the employer starts).

Employees who intend to refuse to work on an Easter Sunday are required to inform their employer by a notice in writing no later than 14 days after they receive the notification from their employer (or as soon as reasonably practicable after he or she receives notice if their employment started 4 weeks or less prior to the relevant Easter Sunday).

The employer must not treat the shop employee adversely because the shop employee refuses to work on an Easter Sunday.  



If an employer treats an employee adversely because he or she refuses to work on an Easter Sunday, or compels an employee to work on an Easter Sunday, the employee now has grounds to raise a personal grievance against the employer.  

The public can contact their territorial authority directly for more information about proposed local policies for Easter Sunday shop trading.