The definitive guide to Christmas and New Year 2010 public holidays and trading restrictions

Businesses might be preparing themselves for the Christmas Eve onslaught, but they need to keep in mind one important topic – the chaos of public holidays.

And this year, it’s even worse. With Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day all falling on weekends, each state has its own schedule of which days are classified as public holidays, for which extra pay must be awarded, and which days have restricted trading hours.

To keep you updated, here’s SmartCompany’s ultimate guide to the Christmas and New Year public holidays and trading restrictions:

Which days are public holidays?

New South Wales and Queensland

Christmas Day on Saturday, December 25 is classified as a public holiday. A substitute holiday for Boxing Day will be held on Monday December 27, while an additional holiday for Christmas Day will be held on Tuesday, December 28.

Saturday, January 1 is also declared a public holiday, while an additional holiday will also be held on Monday, January 3.

Australian Capital Territory

Christmas Day is now classified as a public holiday, but Boxing Day is not. A substitute day for Christmas will be held on Monday, December 27, while another will be held for Boxing Day on Tuesday, December 28.

New Year’s Day will not be classified as a public holiday either, with a substitute holiday to be held on Monday, January 3.

Victoria

Christmas Day on Saturday, December 25, is not a public a holiday. A substitute public holiday will be held on Monday, December 27.

Boxing Day on Sunday December 26 is declared a public holiday, and an additional public holiday will be held on Tuesday, December 28.

New Year’s Day will be declared a public holiday on Saturday, January 1, and an additional holiday will also be held on Monday, January 3.

South Australia

Christmas Day on Saturday, December 25 is not a public holiday, and a substitute public holiday will be held on Monday, December 27.

An additional holiday for Proclamation Day will be held on Tuesday, December 28.

New Year’s Day will not be declared a public holiday on Saturday, January 1, with a substitute public holiday to be held on Monday, January 3.

Western Australia

Christmas Day on Saturday, December 25, and Boxing Day on Sunday, December 26, are both public holidays. But additional public holidays will be provided for both on Monday, December 27 and Tuesday December 28 respectively.

An additional holiday for New Year’s Day will be held on Monday, January 3.

Tasmania and Northern Territory

Christmas Day and Boxing Day are not classified as public holidays, with substitute holidays to be held on Monday, December 27 and Tuesday, December 28.

New Year’s Day will not be classified as a public holiday either, with a substitute holiday to be held on Monday, January 3.

What are the laws regarding trading hours?

New South Wales

Both Christmas Day and Boxing Day are classified as restricted trading days in New South Wales. This means that all shops except small or exempt shops cannot open.

Exempt shops in New South Wales are those which are listed in certain exempt locations. Businesses need to contact the Government’s industrial relations department to determine if they are in an exempt area.

However, small shops are exempt, and these are identified by the following criteria: if the shop does not exceed two owners, or own corporation, the owner or owners take the profits from the business, and if the total number of employees engaged by a small shop does not exceed a total of four regular employees.

Queensland

All non-exempt shops must be closed on Christmas Day, but December 26 is not a public holiday and normal Sunday trading will apply. Trading on the December 27, 28, January 1 and January 3 are all permitted.

Independent retail stores have unrestricted trading hours except on Christmas day – except independent stores that are predominantly food/grocery shops.

A full list of exempt stores is available here, but some include:

  • antique shop
  • aquarium and aquarium accessories shop
  • art gallery
  • arts and crafts shop
  • bait and tackle shop
  • book shop, newsagency
  • bread shop, cake shop, pastry shop
  • camping equipment shop
  • chemist
  • confectionery shop
  • shop
  • funeral director’s premises
  • hair salon, beauty salon or barber shop
  • ice-cream parlour
  • licensed premises within the meaning of the Liquor Act or Wine Industry Act
  • and/or motor cycle parts
  • soap shop
  • souvenir shop

Victoria

Christmas Day is a restricted trading day in Victoria. This means that only exempt shops are permitted to open.

Exempt shops include businesses that have 20 or fewer persons employed in the shop at any time during a restricted trading day, or the number of persons employed by the business is no more than 100 at any time during the seven days immediately before the restricted day.

However, there are some shops that are exempt from these restrictions, and these include:

  • chemists
  • petrol shops
  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • takeaway outlets
  • service providers
  • hire outlets (including video stores)

Australian Capital Territory

There are no restrictions on trading on public holidays, however, as a general rule most large shopping centres do not open on Christmas.

South Australia

Under new shopping arrangements, major stores will be closed on Christmas Day, Sunday December 26 and December 27. These shops will also be closed on New Year’s Day and Sunday, January 2, 2011.

Additionally, shops will close at 6pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Retailers have the ability to apply to trade on two public holidays, either the Tuesday, December 28 or Monday, January 31, because of Christmas Day and Boxing Day falling on a weekend. But many retailers have already been granted exemptions.

A list of exemptions already granted can be accessed here.

But this arrangement has already brought scorn from Coles chief executive Ian McLeod who said earlier this month the situation was “backwards”.

“The state government has closed supermarkets for three consecutive days over Christmas and two days back-to-back over New Year so customers will have to stock up on essential pantry items to avoid running out,” McLeod said.

“To add insult to injury, the state government has forced supermarkets to close at 6pm (CDT) instead of 9pm on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, two of the busiest days of the year, limiting the time that workers have to do last-minute shopping.”

Western Australia

The following trading hour restrictions apply to all businesses in Western Australia, except exempt shops*:

  • Christmas Eve, Friday December 24 – 8am to 6pm
  • Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25 – CLOSED
  • Boxing Day, Sunday, December 26 – 10am to 5pm
  • Monday, December 27 – 8am to 5pm
  • Tuesday, December 28 – 8am to 5pm
  • New Year’s Day, January 1 – CLOSED

All of these restrictions apply to general retail shops in the metropolitan area, including those in the Joondalup, Perth and Fremantle Special Trading Practices.

*These restrictions do not apply to stores in the City of Rockingham or the Two Rocks and Yanchep localities. And small retail stores, along with special retail shops, may trade on any day.

Tasmania

Trading hours are unregulated, but shops will not be permitted to trade on Christmas Day.

Northern Territory

No trading restrictions are in place, but most shopping centres do not open on Christmas Day.

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