Here am I sitting at my office desk in a big call centre. Hardly any calls, not my regular day at work. Certainly not indeed, Good Friday being a statutory holiday.
These days are:
- Christmas Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Sunday; and
- ANZAC Day, until 1.00 pm on 25 April.
Exemptions include dairies and service stations that are able to sell essential items, pharmacies able to trade as usual, and garden centres opening on Easter Sunday.
Shops in tourist destinations Taupo and Queenstown are also exempted.
Retailers can be fined $1000 for each outlet breaching the law, plus court costs. However, many are prepared to face the penalties because they can make much more money by trading.
Retailers remain opposed to the law, which they say is outdated.
While many restaurants and cafes opened on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, some chose not to because of the additional costs of paying staff (time-and-a-half) on public holidays. Others pass the charge onto consumers implementing a holiday surcharge.
There are again two sides to a coin.
Family First NZ Party is rejecting calls for any liberalisation of Easter trading laws and says that workers deserve this special annual break to spend time with their families. A Research NZ poll in 2010 found that almost two out of three New Zealanders oppose a change to the legislation to allow retailers to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
What are you views? In your country is there any Statutory Holiday that the country stops and takes a break?