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Easter Sunday Trading Restrictions

Published February 13, 2018 (last updated on June 7, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


Many employers will soon begin planning Easter rosters and trading hours, so now is the time to remind you of notification requirements that relate to Easter Sunday. The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 was amended in 2016 to enable territorial authorities to decide whether retailers in their districts can open on Easter Sunday.

Key details

  • Some shops can open on restricted trading days provided they meet certain conditions.

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

Shop trading conditions

Shops can open with conditions and provided they meet certain conditions such as those with an area exemption or because the local territorial authority has adopted a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy.

Under the law, territorial authorities can introduce local polices for shop trading in their entire district or in limited areas on Easter Sunday. Territorial authorities must consult their communities using the special consultative procedure on any local policy to allow shop trading on Easter Sunday.

Shop employees’ right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday

All shop employees have the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday without any repercussions for their employment relationship. If an employer wants employees to work on Easter Sunday, they must follow a specific process to let their employees know (in writing) that they have a right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday. This process must be completed each year an employer wants an employee to work on Easter Sunday and can’t just be written into the employment agreement.

If an employer can’t open their shop on Easter Sunday (due to their territorial authority not having a local policy, ability to open with conditions or existing area exemption) but still wants shop employees to work, (eg to stack shelves or do stock taking), they must still follow the same process. This is because the law change gives all shop employees the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday.

Need more information?

Further information about trading restrictions, criteria, and conditions for employers is available on the Peninsula advice line 0800 675 700.

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