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Easter - grey area for employers

Easter - grey area for employers

If you want to open your business over Easter, there are important employee entitlements to be aware of on Easter Sunday in particular.

As usual, Easter falls over the weekend, meaning there will be plenty of retail and hospitality businesses wanting to open. Senior Employment Relations Adviser from Employsure, Melodi James says, “No matter what industry you’re in, and regardless if your business is open or closed over Easter, there are a number of things you will need to consider for the upcoming Easter long weekend.”

Public holiday entitlements.
Getting entitlements right for public holidays can be tricky for employers according to Ms James, “a recent case determined by the Employment Relations Authority (Wendco (NZ) Ltd v MBIE), demonstrates the challenges for employers who operate varying rosters or hours to determine ‘otherwise working days’. She added there are common contentions that require individual assessment surrounding:
• choosing between relevant daily pay and average daily pay
• entitlements for people with variable working days or casual employees
• determining if employees are entitled to an “alternate day”

Ms James says the Employment Relations Authority cases don’t always deliver clear answers on public holiday entitlements, “resulting in a grey area for employers.”

Shop trading conditions.
Shops can open with conditions and provided they meet certain conditions such as those with an area exemption or because the local territorial authority has adopted a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy.

Shop employees’ right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday.
All shop employees have the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday. If you want employees to work on Easter Sunday, you must follow a specific process to let your employees know (in writing) that they have a right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday. “This process must be completed each year and can’t just be written into the employment agreement. If you cannot open on Easter Sunday but still want employees to work, (for example, to stack shelves or do stock taking), you must still follow the same process,” Ms James said.

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