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Canberra gets another public holiday – number 14

By Alexandra Craig - 25 August 2015 12

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced at the ACT Labor conference over the weekend that as of next year, Easter Sunday will be a public holiday – the 14th public holiday in the ACT.

The Chief Minister referenced the need for a clear work/life balance to protect time with our family and friends, as well as having a clear recognition of the cost of having to work outside the traditional Monday to Friday working week.

When I worked in retail, I remember feeling super ripped off when I had to work Easter Sunday and would miss out on our big family lunch with all my extended family, and I wouldn’t get paid more than the Sunday before or after. I obviously agree with penalty rates and I think having them in place is the right thing to do.

However, I wonder how this will affect Canberra. A lot of people go away for the Easter weekend and I think Canberra is pretty quiet that time of year. With three public holidays in close succession (Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday), we could end up with a lot of small businesses shutting up shop and taking off for Easter themselves.

There are a handful of cafes in Canberra that open on Good Friday and they make an absolute killing, lines out the door and a long waiting list, picking up all the extra customers that would have usually gone elsewhere on a regular day. I think this is a pretty smart move by cafes to stay open, especially if they know cafes in their immediate area are going to be closed.

I think it’s difficult for small business that aren’t cafes with a busy clientele – for example smaller speciality stores are probably more likely to close for the whole weekend because I assume the cost of staff would be far greater than the weekend’s takings.

There’s always one or two hospitality venues that complain about penalty rates until the cows come home, but if you look at these venues on any regular day – they’re fairly average and it begs the question, are they just using penalty rates as an excuse for their failing business?

Should Easter Sunday be a public holiday in the ACT?

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12 Responses to
Canberra gets another public holiday – number 14
chewy14 9:03 am 28 Aug 15

Sandman said :

As for the suggestion that an Anzac Day weekend deserves a Monday off, you’re obviously self focused and don’t have a clue what Anzac Day is about.

Playing 2-Up and getting blind drunk?

retirement_fund 8:32 am 28 Aug 15

Why not make every Monday a public holiday. Then everyone can exit canberra like they do now at every opportunity. This is a ridiculous argument as far as private enterprise is concerned. My rent is not free on public holidays OR Sunday’s, Saturday’s etc and I have to stay open seven days a week to stay viable. Canberra government doesnt have to pay penalties on Easter Sunday because there are no public servants that stay in Canberra anyway! (Sorry to the few government workers who do work this period) so what does it matter to them? Just another nail in the coffin for businesses in Canberra. I think we have ENOUGH public holidays now.

Crazed_Loner 1:18 am 28 Aug 15

Given that Easter Sunday is supposed to be one of the holiest days, if not the holiest, on the Christian religious calendar, I’m amazed it isn’t a public holiday already but I don’t see the need for Easter Saturday to be a public holiday. It’s a day which commemorates…what, exactly?

Sandman 9:32 pm 27 Aug 15

What a load of cr*p. The sense of entitlement in this city has reached stratospheric levels of insanity.

Isn’t it bad enough the entire city shuts down for 2 weeks over Christmas, now they want an Easter shutdown too?
As for the suggestion that an Anzac Day weekend deserves a Monday off, you’re obviously self focused and don’t have a clue what Anzac Day is about.

Queanbeyanite 6:39 pm 27 Aug 15

It’s none of the Government’s business how private businesses run themselves.

If you don’t want to work those hours then get another job.

There are plenty of perfectly capable people who would like to earn a bit of extra cash over holidays but the rigmarole involved in hiring them puts business owners off.

ChrisinTurner 3:02 pm 27 Aug 15

I am at the National Folk Festival at EPIC so it makes no difference to me. Plenty of food there.

shellcase 1:50 pm 27 Aug 15

It’s fairly easy, I suppose, to be free and easy with other people’s concerns and money. The ACT gummint has little going for it nowadays, will clutch at any straw.

To say it improves the work-life balance is rubbish. We don’t need fourteen public holidays, we can do with considerably less. This additional impost makes it that much harder to keep a business viable.

Roll on election 16.

tim_c 1:41 pm 27 Aug 15

I’d always thought every Sunday was a public holiday

watto23 12:22 pm 27 Aug 15

I don’t think the Easter Saturday needs to be a public holiday. Also the argument around penalty rates is flawed, because the issue should be about whether a mall can force a shop to open on a Sunday. That way if a store can’t make money on a Sunday they don’t have to open. Then penalty rates are irrelevant.
Also rents are the biggest cost for small business, not workers salaries, but tackling those is much harder. However I do think penalty rates could be changed, double rates is fine for a public holiday, but not for a Sunday IMO.

Kalliste 6:53 pm 25 Aug 15

Would prefer for Anzac Day on a weekend to be a public holiday on the Monday again rather than Easter Sunday listed as one.

Dame Canberra 9:53 am 25 Aug 15

I’m with you, Alexandra. It used to drive me mad working in retail that Easter Sunday wasn’t a public holiday. Sunday penalties were the same as public holiday rates, so it wasn’t really about the pay for me.

I would have preferred the business to shut shop from Friday to Monday so that I could go away with my extended family without work getting in the way, or leaving the owners in the lurch.

madelini 9:44 am 25 Aug 15

Lots of businesses are closed for the whole weekend anyway (or at the very least, have reduced trading). Given this, it makes sense for the people who have to work on the Sunday to receive adequate pay.

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