By Kymberly Martin

Christmas Day now a public holiday.

Christmas Day has just been gazetted as a public holiday for Victoria, in line with other states. This means that December 25, 26 and 27 will be treated as public holidays for the purpose of employee entitlements.

This will have ramifications for retailers as employees will be entitled to public holiday rates on all three dates. “It also means that proactive retailers who have already scheduled and budgeted their Christmas rosters, will need to revisit these and realign relevant wage rates,” National Retail Association chief executive, Dominique Lamb said.

In other public holiday news, the Northern Territory Government is currently debating plans to introduce half-day public holidays over Christmas. The proposed changes were announced in October and if it goes ahead many retailers will be forced to pay penalty rates to staff working between 7pm and midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.


Don Taylor from Murray Oakley Discount Electrical (pictured above) said as the store does not have late-night trading it would not be affected by any changes. A similar response came from another electrical retailer in Darwin.

Joe Fernandes from Betta Home Living Darwin is one retailer not bothered by the proposal. “It will not affect us as we don’t do late-night trading now we are a standalone store.  I think it will affect the hospitality industry more,” he told AR.

However, Fernandes admitted to being surprised by the move. “It was not one we were expecting. It’s a new government up here and we would be hoping for more positive news to increase consumer confidence.”

According to Dominque Lamb there has been no consultation with the retail industry and the move will be “devastating” to retailers as they head into a busy time of the year.  “There will be some retailers who are unable to afford more penalty rates during the Christmas and New Year period, and as a result will shut their doors for trade.

“We ask that the government consult with the retail industry and consider the potential consequences of further public holidays during Christmas and New Year before they go ahead with this scheme.”