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Submission on Discussion Documents on Easter Trading and Holidays Legislation

Summary

  • Caritas continues to oppose any further extension or liberalisation of Easter trading hours.  We wish to see Easter maintained as one of the very few remaining communal moments of rest in our society.
  • Caritas does not see sufficient inconsistency between trading and liquor sales legislation to justify this reopening of a wider debate about Easter trading hours.
  • We recognise there are inconsistencies within existing legislation, and are prepared to see some reconsideration of current exemptions.  But it must be recognised that removing rather than extending exemptions might be a better way of resolving current inconsistencies.  Any exemptions should be understood to be the exception rather than the rule.
  • We would like to see Easter Sunday given the status of a public holiday, subject to “mondayisation” arrangements.  However, we do not accept further liberalisation of trading hours as the price for that.  We believe that would result in fewer workers having the day off.
  • We wish to see greater employee protection for those who refuse to work on Easter Sunday or other restricted days under the legal status quo, given the number of retail exemptions that currently exist.
  • We support greater protection for leaseholders, a clarification of the responsibilities of Labour Inspectors, and an increase in penalties – including instant fines - for those who disregard current restrictions.
  • The balance between retail activity and rest was lost in 1990 when the retail industry gained 51 additional shopping days each year. With only three and half restricted trading days remaining, we believe balance can only be achieved by strengthening existing restrictions, rather than removing them.

See also the 2006 submission on Easter Trading and the 2009 submission on the review of the Holidays Act.

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