Scrap Easter Sunday?
Employees in Auckland may have to work on Easter Sunday from next year.
Last week Auckland Council approved the first step of what could lead to changing policy about working on Easter Sunday from 2018.
From April council will engage with communities to help decide whether to retain the current rules of no Easter Sunday trading or allowing Auckland retailers to open.
The decision came after amendments to the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 were made last year, putting the onus on councils nationwide to decide whether retailers could open on Easter Sunday.
Previously shops could open every day of the year except Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Anzac morning.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website said if change was adopted all shop employees would be able to refuse to work on Easter Sunday without any repercussions.
There are no plans to change trading laws for Good Friday.
First Union retail and finance secretary Maxine Gay said the union was disappointed council was going through with the consultation.
‘‘We’re fielding dozens of calls from our members who are worried about what this means for their Easter Sunday plans,’’ Gay said.
‘‘The reality is local communities aren’t calling for Easter trading changes in Auckland, there are no media campaigns, and a number of businesses are half-hearted about it. There’s simply no appetite for change.’’
Mayor Phil Goff said he wanted to hear what communities had to say about Easter Sunday trading.
However, he questioned the need for businesses to open on Easter Sunday.
‘‘It’s not simply about religious observance. Three and a half days a year for family time, is that asking too much?’’ Goff said.
Councillors Efeso Collins, Richard Hills and John Watson were against changing the policy.
Collins said allowing people to work on ‘‘resurrection Sunday’’ would have a huge impact on families.
In August the findings will be reported to council. Council will then decide if it will begin special consultation about allowing retailers to open in 2018. Brand new construction with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and double grammar zone.
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