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  • How to manage public holiday obligations this Anzac Day and beyond

How to manage public holiday obligations this Anzac Day and beyond

As the Anzac Day public holiday approaches and Australians across the country come together to honour veterans, employers must make sure they’re on track with their legal obligations.

First published on Thursday, Apr 20, 2023

Last updated on Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024

3 min read

Anzac Day is a public holiday that marks the anniversary of soldiers landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula during the First World War in 1915. Remembrance Day and Anzac Day often go hand in hand as dates dedicated to commemorating Australian veterans.

ANZAC is an acronym taken from the letters of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. A unit formed by Australian and New Zealand troops in Egypt before the landings at Gallipoli. The first Anzac Day as we know it was observed on the 25th of April 1916, and over a century later its traditions endure.

In 2024, Australians and New Zealanders will commemorate Anzac Day on Thursday, April 25th. As with any public holiday, this means employers across the nation have different obligations when it comes to trading hours and their employees.

Every state and territory has its own trading rules during public holidays. So, it’s important for employers to make sure they’re following state legislation when managing their staff calendars.

Here’s a look at the approach each state and territory takes:

Victoria: Anzac Day is a public holiday in Victoria. Under Victorian law, Anzac Day is a restricted trading day. This means employers must comply with the Shop Trading Reform Act 1996 prohibiting most shops—aside from a few exemptions like chemists and restaurants— from trading on restricted trading days.

New South Wales: NSW follows Victoria’s lead by marking Anzac Day as a restricted trading day. Many businesses cannot trade before 1 pm on April 25th, except for a few businesses like chemists, small shops, and those who have an exemption from NSW Fair Trading.

Queensland: The state will observe the public holiday, but trading hours will depend on the category of retail shop each business falls under. Some businesses that are exempt—like food and grocery shops—can trade unrestricted on Anzac Day, while those that aren’t must be closed.

Australian Capital Territory: Anzac Day is a public holiday in the ACT, but there are no trading restrictions for businesses in the region.

Northern Territory: The territory will mark Anzac Day as a public holiday and will follow the Australian Capital Territory’s lead with no trading restrictions for businesses.

Western Australia: Most businesses in Western Australia must close on Anzac Day. But some businesses that are exempt from trading restrictions, and have certificates to show their exemption from the law, may remain open. Pharmacies and newsagents are among the businesses that may stay open on Anzac Day.

Tasmania: Most businesses in Tasmania cannot open before 12.30 pm on Anzac Day. Businesses that are exempt from this rule include bottle shops, cafes, and car yards.

South Australia: The state will commemorate Anzac Day on the 25th of April along with the rest of the country. Businesses in South Australia will follow trading restrictions that depend on their location and whether or not they fall into one of the categories of exempt businesses.

If you’re uncertain about what rules apply to your business this Anzac Day, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Non-compliance with trade restrictions can lead to fines and intervention from the Fair Work Ombudsman. You can make sure you’re making the best decisions, and stay on the right side of the law, by getting in touch with BrightAdvice.

Staying on top of your public holiday obligations this Anzac Day

As an employer, there’s a lot you need to think about. Making sure your trading hours are compliant with state legislation is one challenge. Another is dealing with holiday management.

With a public holiday falling on a Thursday, you may be bracing for a storm of leave requests for Friday as employees try to get a long weekend holiday. Dealing with last-minute leave requests is never fun, and it can also end up leaving you understaffed.

Make sure you get ahead of the requests with a people management system that makes it easier. Learn how BrightHR’s staff holiday planner and staff roster software can help take away the stress of leave management on Anzac Day and beyond.

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