Hospitality Business Magazine

Employer requirements over the Easter holiday period


Waitress holding cup of coffee in cafe

Anyone wanting to do something or go somewhere over the Easter break has had to plan ahead earlier this year with Easter falling in late March. For the majority, Easter is a time to sleep in, eat too many hot cross buns and Easter eggs, have the last summer BBQ and tidy up the garden. But for many in the hospitality sector, it’s another busy long weekend as people take advantage of the last days of summer. It also means that you need to know the rules around Easter trading and the sale and supply of alcohol.

Whether you choose to open your business over Easter, or not, there are requirements for employers to follow regarding making the necessary arrangements with staffing and any restrictions of trade that may apple.

We have pulled together the following information; which we trust you will find useful.

Days impacted over the Easter weekend:

Here is a quick guide on what you need to be aware of over the Easter weekend:

Good Friday – is a public holiday and also has restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

Saturday – is a normal trading day

Sunday – is a normal trading day

Easter Sunday – is not a public holiday but has restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

Easter Monday – is a public holiday.

Restrictions on the sale of alcohol over Easter – Good Friday and Easter Sunday

Sale of alcohol restrictions apply on all of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act prohibits the sale or supply of alcohol to anyone from any licenced premises (including restaurants and entertainment venues) on Good Friday and Easter Sunday other than to persons on the premises to dine, living on the premises as a lodger or as an employee (in respect of hotels) or where a special licence has been obtained.

This means that no-one may be sold or supplied alcohol on any licensed premises on these days unless they are on the premises to dine.

A person is not present on licensed premises to dine if he or she is on the premises more than an hour before he or she starts (or is due to start) eating a meal or more than an hour after he or she finishes eating a meal. To clarify, a meal must be substantial rather than just snack food.

In respect of hotels and taverns, once dining is completed and any alcohol is purchased while dining has been consumed, persons cannot remain on the premises even if they are not consuming alcohol. This is because persons cannot be on hotel and tavern premises outside licensed hours except from 6am until licensing hours begin for the day. Licensed restaurants, conveyances and entertainment venues, may have persons on the premises anytime but must restrict the sale and supple of alcohol on these days to persons on the premises to dine and within licensing hours.

There is very little guidance on the amount of alcohol that may be purchased while dining, just that any alcohol that is purchased must be consumed while dining or finished shortly after dining is completed. The more alcohol purchased the more difficult it may be to say that a person is present on the premises to dine.

Accordingly, alcohol sale and supply for all types of licence must cease at midnight on each of Thursday 24 March and Saturday 26 March unless one of the above exceptions applies. This is because Good Friday and Easter Sunday have restrictions on the sale of alcohol effective from midnight.

Off licences are also not able to sell or supply alcohol from the premises on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. However, off-licences where wine is produced on the premises may be sold and supplied within licensing hours on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday is not a public holiday

Easter Sunday is not a public holiday and if an employee does not work Easter Sunday because the business closes (perhaps as a result of Sale of Alcohol restrictions) then whether an employees get paid or not depends on their employment agreements.

For full time employees who are guaranteed a fixed number of hours the employer will need to reach agreement with them beforehand about rescheduling hours elsewhere or pay them for the hours lost due to the closure irrespective. Part time and casual employees are easier as they should simply be able to rostered off on that day.

Article supplied by Hospitality New Zealand.