The Retail Trading Amendment Bill 2015 (NSW) was introduced on the 11th of November and is the first major reform of trading laws since 2008. The bill (which has passed but will come into effect on the date of assent) removes the restrictions on NSW businesses from operating on Boxing Day (26th December).
Previously, trading was only allowed in the Sydney Trading Precinct and within particular government areas for “exempted shops”.
Importantly, the Bill emphasises that shops may open on Boxing Day if it is staffed by persons who have “freely elected to work”. “This will not be satisfied where staff have been coerced, harassed, threatened or intimidated, or have been rostered or are required by the terms of an industrial instrument to work on that day.”
Employers are therefore encouraged to provide all employees with the choice of working. Failure to do so may amount to an offence, punishable by up to a maximum of $11,000 per employee. These provisions apply to all businesses in NSW and to all “restricted trading days” such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Anzac Day (before 1pm) and Christmas Day.
It also worth noting that there is no requirement for shops to open for trade on Boxing Day. This provision will trump any clause in a retail lease and lessors may be fined up to $22,000 should they force a business to open.
If you have any queries or would like some further guidance on restricted trading days, please call the NRA Hotline on 1800 RETAIL (738 245).