Extended Easter break sparks SME confusion

Small businesses are confused about the trading hours and pay rates over the extended Easter weekend, mirroring the scenario during Christmas and New Year, according to an industry lobby.

 

This year in Victoria, many workers are planning for a five-day break because Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday are all public holidays.

 

However, Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, after the Baillieu Government overturned laws allowing only businesses with fewer than 20 employees to operate on the day.

 

Tuesday has been declared a public holiday because Anzac Day and Easter Monday fall on the same day. Trading restrictions will apply on Anzac Day, with most shops unable to open prior to 1pm.

 

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which supported the Baillieu Government’s decision to scrap the Easter Sunday public holiday, says some employers are still confused.

 

VECCI workplace relations manager Alexandra Marriott says businesses are often uncertain about when to open and what penalty rates to apply.

 

“Then there’s confusion about the collision between Anzac Day and Easter Monday, given the trading restrictions for Anzac Day apply on Tuesday but the ceremonial aspects for Anzac Day will proceed on Monday,” she says.

 

Public holidays are a topic of confusion because they are covered by both state and Federal laws, the latter of which falls under Labor’s Fair Work Act 2009. The act allows states to declare their own public holidays.

 

Marriott says national harmonisation of public holidays has merit when the public holiday is celebrated across the country, rather than statewide, such as Melbourne Cup Day.

 

For pay issues, she advises businesses look at the modern award or the enterprise agreement that the employee is covered by, and the relevant trading laws for the state. Here is a state-by-state rundown:

 

New South Wales


In New South Wales, every day on this year’s Easter weekend – from Good Friday to Anzac Day – are public holidays.

 

However, New South Wales makes a distinction between restricted trading days and unrestricted trading days. Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day prior to 1pm are restricted, while Easter Saturday and Easter Monday are unrestricted.

 

Australian Capital Territory

 

Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Monday and the replacement holiday for Anzac Day are all public holidays. Easter Sunday is not a public holiday.

Queensland


Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Monday and the replacement holiday for Anzac Day are all public holidays. Easter Sunday is not a public holiday.

 

Northern Territory

 

All days during the Easter weekend, except Easter Sunday, are public holidays.

 

Western Australia


Good Friday, Easter Monday and the Anzac Day holiday on the Tuesday are all public holidays, but Easter Saturday and Sunday are not holidays.

 

South Australia


Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Monday and the Tuesday holiday are all public holidays. Easter Sunday is not classified as a holiday.

 

Tasmania


Good Friday, Easter Monday and the Tuesday are public holidays, while Easter Saturday and Sunday are not holidays.

 

Meanwhile, market research agency IBISWorld predicts travel will be the greatest outlay for most people over the break, with $195.5 million expected to be spent on short-haul travel and driving expenses.

 

According to IBISWorld, family budgets will also swell to accommodate increased food costs, with spending on food forecast to jump 2.7% on last Easter.

 

Spending on chocolate will be considerably more than on alcohol, with confectionary sales expected to hit $171.4 compared to $129.8 million on liquor. Strong sales in seafood are also expected, with $21.2 million forecast, up 2.5% on last Easter.

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