A state-by-state guide to the Easter 2016 public holidays and trading hours

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For small business owners and operators, the Easter long weekend can be one of confusion.

The Australian states and territories each have different laws that affect public holidays and trading hours over the Easter period.

This year Good Friday falls on Friday, March 25, followed by Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday on March 26 and 27, respectively.

Monday, March 28 is Easter Monday.

Here’s an overview of the public holidays and trading hours across each state and territory.

Victoria

This Easter, Victorians will receive four public holidays on Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. This means employers will need to pay penalty rates on those days.

Good Friday is a restricted trading day in Victoria, with only exempt retail shops allowed to trade.

Shops are exempt if they have 20 or fewer people employed in the shop at any time during Good Friday and if the total number of people employed by the business and its related entities is not greater than 100 at any time during the seven days immediately preceding Good Friday.

Outside of the retail industry, there are other types of businesses that are allowed to trade all year, including on Good Friday. These include chemists, petrol stations, restaurants, cafes, takeaway outlets, service providers and hire outlets such as video stores.

New South Wales

Employers in NSW will also be paying their employees penalty rates on four days this Easter, with Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday all public holidays for the state.

Like Victoria, Good Friday is a restricted trading day in NSW. However, there are some exemptions, including for small shop retailers, holders of hotel licences and businesses within specified exempted local government areas. For information about each of the exempt categories, click here.

Queensland

This year, Queensland will observe public holidays on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday.

Trading hours across the state vary depending on the type of business, with exempt shops able to trade throughout the Easter period without restrictions. The list of exempt shops is lengthy and includes bookshops, milk bars, hair salons, service stations, restaurants and cafes and licensed premises.

Non-exempt shops in South East Queensland must close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Independent retail shops must also remain closed on Good Friday, apart from grocery stores and those that predominantly sell food.

There are also trading restrictions for businesses that sell and serve alcohol.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT will observe four public holidays this Easter period, with Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday all classified as public holidays.

Stores are permitted to open on public holidays and there are no trading restrictions, however, many businesses opt to close on Good Friday.

Northern Territory

Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday are all public holidays in the Northern Territory.

Retail trading hours are not restricted in the NT and businesses can open when they like. However, most stores choose to close on Good Friday.

South Australia

South Australians will have three public holidays this Easter: Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday.

The state has some of the more complex rules around trading hours and Easter trading restrictions will depend on both the size of your business and where it is located. Find out where your business stands here.

Western Australia

Western Australia will observe two public holidays this Easter period, on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

General retail shops in WA must remain closed on Good Friday.

Exemptions to trading restrictions can be obtained by small retail shops, special retail shops and small filling stations. More information about these categories is available here.

Tasmania

Tasmania observes three public holidays for Easter, however, it is the only state or territory to observe a public holiday on the Tuesday after Easter.

Tasmanians will have public holidays on Good Friday, Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday, although Easter Tuesday is a restricted public holiday and observed only by some awards and agreements and the state public service.

Trading hours are generally unrestricted in Tasmania, however, businesses may need to contact the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce or the Fair Work Ombudsman to find out if they are affected by the Easter Tuesday public holiday.

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Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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  • Robert M

    Hi Eliose. The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is not the only source of advice to the business sector in Tasmania and as an occasional commentator to your online offerings as well as specialists and supporters to the small business sector, additional sources should have been included.