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Commission urges businesses to know Easter laws

Commission urges businesses to know and follow the law over Easter.

Issued 16 April 2014

Release No. 97


Easter Saturday and Sunday are not public holidays, casual staff may not be covered under the Holidays Act and businesses must not mislead customers when applying a surcharge.

That’s the message the Commerce Commission wants to reinforce with businesses, such as cafes and bars, contemplating opening over Easter.

Commission General Manager Competition, Kate Morrison says it’s easy to think that the four days over the Easter period are all public holidays when they are not.

“Easter Saturday and Sunday are not public holidays and traders should not apply a surcharge to compensate for higher wages on those days.”

“Businesses should also be aware that they may not be able to apply a surcharge if staff working on Good Friday and Easter Monday are casual and therefore not being paid extra under the Holidays Act regulations,” said Ms Morrison.

Ms Morrison says this is a regular battle with some in the business community who are either prepared to flout the law or have not made themselves aware of the Act.

“Businesses can charge what they want and consumers can then make a decision to shop there. But it would be misleading under the Fair Trading Act to apply a surcharge on Saturday and Sunday and claim it was due to the Holidays Act.”

“When businesses are applying a surcharge in legitimate circumstances they must prominently advertise it and be honest about the reasons for it,” said Ms Morrison.

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