Posted on: Feb 14, 2018

Territorial authorities (city and district councils) may now establish local policies that allow “shops” within their area, or parts of it, to trade on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday falls on 1 April this year, and given the strict notice that needs to be provided in order to request a shop employee to work on Easter Sunday, we thought we better post something to remind everyone of their rights and obligations under the Shop Trading Hours Act.

All shop employees have the right to refuse work on Easter Sunday without giving a reason to their employer. Employers can’t compel their shop employees to work on Easter Sunday or treat them adversely for refusing to work.

In order to request an employee to work on Easter Sunday, employers must:

  1. Notify employees in writing that they have a right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday.
  2. Give notice at least four weeks before the relevant Easter Sunday, but no earlier than eight weeks before the Easter Sunday.  So this year, notice must be given by 4 March, but no earlier than 4 February.
  3. If an employee has started work within four weeks of the Easter Sunday the employer must give this notice (of the right to refuse) as close to the start date of the employee’s employment as possible.

An employer who is unable to open their shop on Easter Sunday but still wants shop employees to work (eg to stack shelves or do stock taking), must still follow the same process.

Failing to comply with the notice requirements and requiring an employee to work on Easter Sunday will be considered “compelling them to work”, for which, the employee could bring a personal grievance.

If an employee is going to refuse work on Easter Sunday:

If you have any questions about the notice requirements or the application of this Act to your unique workplace circumstances please contact us.


This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.