Can I open on Easter Sunday?
This depends. If you plan to open on Easter Sunday, be sure to check your Council’s rules. Also, you must provide special notification to employees 4 to 8 weeks before Easter Sunday stating that they have the right to refuse to work. You can download our letter template for Easter Sunday Trading Notification from our resource library here.
Note: for 2023 this notice must be given between Sunday 12 February, and Sunday 12 March.
The following are situations where you are legally allowed to open your shop on Easter Sunday:
- If your local Council has adopted a Local Shop Trading Hours Policy that allows trading in your part of the district or city (see the full list below), then you can open.
- The shop is a garden centre.
- Your store is located in an area that is exempt from the shop trading hours restrictions (limited and conditional exemptions apply on Parnell Road in Auckland, the Christchurch Arts Centre, the Carnegie Centre in Dunedin, Market Place and Collins Road in Hamilton, the Napier Harbour Market, and Nelson if Founders Park is open – see the full list here).
- Your shop sells only food, drink, household items, personal items, automotive fuel, lubricants and accessories, and also you only have enough items to meet the needs of people who live or are staying in the area.
- The principal business is selling souvenirs and/or duty free goods, or prepared/cooked food that’s ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold.
- Your business is located at a public passenger transport station or terminal, and you sell the above items and/or books, magazines or newspapers.
- The shop is a pharmacy.
- Your shop is located in a place where an exhibition or show is being held. Also, these shows need to be primarily related to agriculture, art, industry, and science, or any of those matters.
- You only provide a service and don’t sell goods (e.g. video rental store, hairdresser, beauty therapist)
You can download our useful Easter Trading flowchart here. Are you still not sure? If you have any questions, please reach out to our Advice team on 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia) or email us at [email protected] to discuss your individual situation.
Which Councils have adopted a local Shop Trading Policy?
Some Councils have allowed shops the option of opening on Easter Sunday, as can be seen below. Find out if your local council allows you to open on Easter Sunday:
|COUNCIL DISTRICTS WHERE SHOPS CAN OPEN||COUNCIL DISTRICTS WHERE SHOPS CANNOT OPEN (UNLESS EXEMPT)*|
Western Bay of Plenty
Central Hawke’s Bay
* Exemptions apply depending on location and kind of store – see (2) to (8) above.
** Tasman District Council adopted the Easter Sunday Trading Policy in January 2022, on the recommendation of the Golden Bay Community Board. This enables shops and businesses throughout the Golden Bay Ward to trade on Easter Sunday if they wish. The rest of the Tasman district adheres to the status quo.
Please email us with any updates, [email protected].
Can I open my store on Good Friday?
Generally no. However, here are the six instances in which you can open your store on Good Friday:
- If your store is located in Queenstown, Paihia (7am-9pm), Picton (7am-9pm), or Nelson (if Founders Park is open), then you can open on Good Friday. Also, you can see the full list of exemptions here).
- Your shop sells only food, drink, household items, personal items, automotive fuel, lubricants and accessories; and also you have only enough items to meet the needs of people who live or are staying in the area.
- When the principal business is selling souvenirs and/or duty free goods, or you sell immediately ready-to-eat prepared/cooked food.
- Your shop is located at a public passenger transport station or terminal, and also you sell the above items and/or books, magazines or newspapers.
- The shop is a pharmacy.
- Your shop is in a place where an exhibition or show is being held. Specifically, these need to be mainly related to agriculture, art, industry, and science, or any of those matters, is being held.
Good Friday is a public holiday, so if your store is open or closed on this day, then standard public holiday entitlements apply to all of your employees. However, no specific notification requirements apply.
Can I open my store on Easter Monday?
Easter Monday is a public holiday – but any shop can open. And also, if you open, you will need to pay your team standard public holiday entitlements.
I want to open on Easter Sunday – what do I need to do?
If you want an employee to work on Easter Sunday, then you must give written notice to that shop employee of their right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday. This notice must be given at least four weeks (but not more than eight weeks) before Easter Sunday.
Notice needs to be in the form of a letter or email (you could send out a group email). A template is available from our Advice Service.
It’s important to note: Under the Act, all shop employees have the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday, and on this occasion they don’t have to give you a reason for refusing. Also, this rule overrides any existing requirements to work in the Employments Relations Act, or in the employee’s employment contract. This applies to all shop employees working on Easter Sunday (including those where the businesses were previously allowed to open). So, if an employee declines work, there must not be any repercussions for them.
If an employee does not wish to work on Easter Sunday, he or she needs to give you written notice of their intention to refuse work. Notice must be delivered to the employer within 14 days.
Do I need to pay time and a half and give my employees a day in lieu if they work Easter Sunday?
Generally, no. Because Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, there is no legal obligation to pay time and a half and/or offer a day in lieu. But, some employers do this anyway, as an act of good faith. It’s also a good idea to check your individual employment contracts for any entitlements that may be over and above minimum entitlements.
If my store does not open, do I need to pay my employees?
If your store is not open on Easter Sunday, you do not need to pay your employees, unless their employment agreement says you must. Generally, employees can take the day as annual leave if it is a normal working day for them, but some employers may choose to provide a paid day off.
Can anyone force me to open?
No, it’s entirely your choice! Even if your local Council has permitted trading in your district, there is no obligation for you to open your store. The law says that, even if your store is located in a mall and your contract requires you to open when the mall is open, you are not legally required to open on Easter Sunday.
Dash it all, it’s too complicated! What if I just open when I’m not allowed to?
If you open your shop when you are not allowed to, then 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.
Need more help?
Please call us on 0800 472 272 (1800 128 086 from Australia) – or email us at [email protected].
Did you know that there are nine situations in which you can choose whether or not to open your store on Easter Sunday, and six instances of which you can open on Good Friday. As a Retail NZ member you can reach out to our Advice Service to talk through your individual situation and understand if you are able to open. Not a Retail NZ member yet? Click here to learn more about joining our supportive Retail NZ community.
Updated 20th February 2023.