Unions have condemned NSW legislation relaxing Boxing Day trading laws, saying the move by the state government amounts to a betrayal that will “ruin Christmas” for workers.
The changes to the Retail Trading Act, which passed NSW parliament on Wednesday night, allows shops across the state to open on Boxing Day after a two-year trial of the measure. “It’s outrageous that this legislation has been passed, despite a review of the two-year trial of trading on Boxing Day that showed no economic benefit to NSW, but a huge negative impact on workers,” SDA NSW branch secretary Bernie Smith said in a statement. “Mums and dads who should be with their kids will be pressured back to work on Boxing Day.”
The new law includes protections to stop retailers from forcing staff to work on the traditional public holiday.
So while the act won’t force employers to open their doors, staff would be able to choose whether to work or not, with retailers facing fines of up to $11,000 if they force staff to work on December 26. But the safeguards are out of touch with the reality for many retail workers, according to the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).
“Even though the government assures workers they won’t be forced to work, anyone who’s held a casual or part-time job knows that there is always pressure to work public holidays,” ACL director Kieren Jackson said in a statement. (7-News)