Easter is often a time of confusion for SME owners, with each state having its own set of rules about public holidays and restricted trading.
This year Good Friday falls on Friday, April 14. Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday are on April 15 and 16, respectively, and Easter Monday is on Monday, April 17.
Which state considers which date a public holiday, and when do you need to watch out for restricted conditions? Here’s a quick recap of the rules for 2017.
Victorians get four public holidays for Easter: Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. This means when employing staff on these days, public holiday loading rates in their relative awards will apply.
Good Friday is a day of restricted trade in the state, meaning the only businesses able to trade are “exempt companies”. To be exempt, a business must not have more than 20 people employed in a business at any time on the day, and the total number of people employed in the seven days leading up to Good Friday must not exceed 100.
If you run a chemist, cafe, petrol station, service provider, hire outlet or takeaway store operating in the state, you are also exempt and are able to operate on Good Friday.
New South Wales
New South Wales also grants a public holiday for all four days in the Easter period, meaning penalty rates have to be paid for those working on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday, and Easter Monday.
Like Victoria, Good Friday is a day of restricted trade in the state, but there are also exemptions, including if your business is in an exempt area, if it is a small shop or holds a hotel licence.
After an amendment of Queensland’s Holidays Act last year, for the first time the state will get the Easter Sunday public holiday, meaning the state will observe all four days of the Easter period as public holidays for the first time.
The Queensland Government is also considering a number of changes to restricted trading on public holidays across the board, but for the time being, trading restrictions continue to vary across the state, based on the type of business. More information on which businesses are exempt can be found here.
Australian Capital Territory
The ACT observes Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday as public holidays. There are no trading restrictions on Good Friday or across the long weekend.
South Australia considers Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday public holidays. The state determines whether businesses can trade on public holidays through a series of complex criteria, including whether a business is located in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District.
Find out whether your business is considered “exempt” here.
Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in Western Australia. Businesses must be closed on Good Friday in the state, with a few exceptions, which can be found here.
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The Northern Territory observes Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday as public holidays. There are no restrictions on Good Friday trade, however many businesses elect to close.
In Tasmania, Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays, as is Easter Tuesday under some awards and agreements, as well as the state public service. Trading is not restricted on Good Friday, but if you are unsure if your business will be affected by the Easter Tuesday holiday, review the awards that apply to your staff and contact local business associations or the Fair Work Ombudsman for more information.