Your guide to Christmas and New Year public holidays and trading hours

It’s Christmas time – and that means confusion over public holidays.


With the states and territories each having their own laws when it comes to public holidays and their subsequent restrictions, businesses constantly need a refresher on whether they can open on Christmas or Boxing Day.


Thankfully this year isn’t as complicated as the last few, when Christmas Day or Boxing Day fell on weekends. Businesses were in an uproar about states giving out additional public holidays, and thus forcing companies to pay an extra day’s worth of penalty rates.


Everything’s a little clearer this year – but you still need to make sure you have all your scheduling right.


Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Christmas-New Year public holiday season.




Christmas Day and Boxing Day are both public holidays in Victoria, along with New Year’s Day. All normal public holiday rates apply for anyone working.


Only Christmas Day is a restricted day, on which exempt shops are permitted to open. To be exempt, you must have 20 or fewer persons employed in the shop at any time on the restricted trading day, and the number of persons employed by the business is no more than 100 at any time in the week before the actual restricted day.


There are some exemptions to this, including chemists, petrol shops, restaurants, cafes, takeaway outlets, “service providers” and hire outlets, such as video stores.


New South Wales


Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are all public holidays. Both Christmas Day and Boxing Day are restricted trading days, which have their own rules – you can check them out here. There are some exemptions for small businesses.


New Year’s Day isn’t a restricted trading day.




Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are all public holidays in Queensland, but there are some key trading restrictions.


Christmas and New Year trading has special laws covering the 18th to the 24th. You can read those here, as there are some key rules you’ll need to know about as a small business.


On Christmas Day specifically, all non-exempt shops will be closed. You can find out if you’re an exempt or non-exempt shop here, although to be sure you should check with your local government business authority.


Mostly, exempt shops are those that predominantly sell goods by retail. Trading hours of exempt shops are totally unrestricted.


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