Make Easter Sunday a public holiday?
18 August 2009
Professor Joellen Riley says she has received wide support for a new law covering public holidays as part of her forthcoming review for the NSW Government.
A new law covering would avoid the annual confusion for employers and workers about when and if substitute days off are granted.
However, Professor Riley anticipates business resistance to some suggestions.
''Employer groups have suggested it would be a bad thing to name Easter Sunday as a public holiday. They argue it will cost a lot of money. I'd like the employers to give me some figures on that,'' Professor Riley says.
Easter Sunday is not named a public holiday in any state legislation, but is a restricted trading day in NSW. Professor Riley says this is because all Sundays had traditionally been holidays and legislation had not kept up with working patterns.
''It is anomalous that a shop employee whose employer has a special exemption from the restrictions of the Shop Trading Act to trade on Easter Sunday should be requested to work without receiving any public holiday penalty rates,'' the paper says.
Professor Riley says workers should be entitled to refuse to work on that day, although state legislation would not be able to determine whether penalty rates were paid. ''Time to do things other than work and shop are becoming rarer and rarer in our modern world,'' she stipulates
Another contentious issue is the granting of substitute days off when a public holiday falls on the weekend. The report said it would be ''a small step'' to provide additional days off when Christmas and Boxing Day fell on a Sunday - ''especially given broad community expectation that families will enjoy a two-day break at Christmas''.
Contact: Greg Sherington
Phone: +61 2 9351 0202