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In NSW, the NSW Industrial Relations agency regulates the retail trading hours for businesses including public holidays. The regulation of trading hours aims to prevent any unfair advantages by restricting trading hours on certain holidays. It also ensures that employees can take some time off during these public holidays. Unless your business is exempt, you cannot trade on:

  • Christmas day;
  • Boxing day;
  • ANZAC day before 1 pm;
  • Good Friday; and
  • Easter Sunday.

Exemptions to Trade on Restricted Days

An occupier of a shop may request an exemption so your business can trade on restricted days by applying to NSW Industrial Relations. Here, your application will only be approved if it is in the public interest to do so. They will also consider if there are any other exceptional circumstances. When looking over your application, the agency will also consider:

  • the nature of your shop and the kind of goods that you sell;
  • if there is a special need for your shop to be open on the particular restricted days;
  • if there will be any potential effects of the exemption upon local businesses in the area; and
  • if there will be any effects on the employees required to work on the restricted days.

The following retail traders are allowed to trade on restricted trading days:

  • pet shops;
  • nurseries;
  • newsagencies;
  • bazaars;
  • book stores;
  • chemist shops;
  • florists;
  • seafood shops;
  • fruit and vegetable shops;
  • music stores;
  • restaurants;
  • cafes;
  • souvenir shops;
  • shops that are near venues used for physical recreation;
  • take-away food and drink stores;
  • tobacconists;
  • vehicle service centres; and
  • petrol stations.

Exemptions to Small Shops

Small shops, apart from those listed above, are exempt from the requirements to suspend trading on restricted days. The definition of a small shop is where the shop:

  • is owned by a maximum of two people or one corporation; and
  • has a maximum of four regular employees.

Voluntary Employee Arrangements

An employee may only work on a restricted day if the employee has agreed to do so. This agreement must have been made without any:

  • coercion;
  • harassment;
  • threat; or
  • intimidation.

There are penalties in place if an employer forces an employee to work on restricted days. If an employee has been forced under duress to work on a restricted day, the employer may be fined up to $11,000 per employee.

Key Takeaways

You should always ensure that your business is complying with laws surrounding when you are legally able to trade. It is crucial that, unless your business is exempt, you do not trade on specific public holidays. If you force an employee to work on these days, you may receive an $11,000 fine per employee. If you have any questions about your responsibilities as an employer, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.


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