In its submission to the Queensland Government, the National Retail Association expressed objection to and concern about the lack of consultation with industry prior to the announcement, the financial impost on business that this change will have and the limited time-frame for businesses to amend staffing rosters.

CEO of the National Retail Association, Dominique Lamb highlighted “The retailers who will be hurt most by this are not large multi-nationals, but mum-and-dad small business owners who work ridiculous hours just to make ends meet. These small retail outlets also rely on the Christmas trade period to support their operation during more lean times of the year.”

For employers who had planned on trading on Christmas Eve past 6:00pm, your full-time and part-time employees are now entitled to be absent from work if they were going to be rostered past this time.

Managing absences

You must request that your employees work past this time, and your employees may refuse your request if it is unreasonable, or for reasonable grounds. Factors that will determine reasonableness include:

• whether the employee has family and caring responsibilities;
• what the needs of the workplace are;
• how much notice you have given them to request they work; and
• how much notice the employee gives of their refusal.

Additionally, any work performed by your employees past 6:00pm will need to be paid pursuant to the relevant public holiday penalty rate outlined in the applicable modern award or other applicable instrument.

If you need any support in managing your employees attendance at work this Christmas Eve, please contact the NRA Workplace Relations team on 1800 RETAIL (738 245) for further guidance.