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Proposed changes to Easter Sunday business law

Proposed changes to Easter Sunday business laws

Work may no longer be compulsory on Easter Sunday following a proposed amendment to the shop trading hours repeal act.

Workplace relations and safety minister, Michael Woodhouse, today announced an amendment to the act, which would allow local councils to decide whether certain businesses could remain open on Easter Sunday.

Councils would follow standard bylaw protocol when deciding which businesses could remain open and would be subject to consultation from the community.

The proposed bill would also grant workers the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday without having to give a reason.

Prime Minister John Key says shop-trading hours over the Easter weekend have always been a contentious issue.

“Queenstown benefits from tourist trade on Easter Sunday, While Wanaka which hosts a number of events over the weekend, is not exempted (from current law.)”

Parliament has considered changes to the act in 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012, with the only successful amendment occurring in 2001 which allowed garden centres to remain open.

Hon Michael Woodhouse spoke at the Prime Ministers post-cabinet press conference in Wellington, and outlined some finer points of the amendment:

“The amendment represents a sensible way forward which provides a real choice to local communities a businesses and workers alike.

Those who want to spend the day with friends and family can, while those happy to work can earn the extra money.”

The bill will be introduced in the next few weeks, but is likely to come into force around 2016.

Because the amendment places power into local councils hands to draw up the bylaws, it is unlikely workers and businesses will see any effect until Easter 2017.

The vote will be a party vote by National, and Woodhouse indicated they had support from both Act and United Future.

National has no plans to amend working hours for Easter Friday.

Minister Woodhouse at the post-cabinet press conference:

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format.

ENDS

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