As the festive season approaches, businesses are being encouraged to make their Boxing Day plans – and ensure they do the right thing by their staff and customers.
NSW Business Chamber regional manager Joe Townsend said Boxing Day was “a balancing act” but could be a win in many ways.
Anecdotal evidence said it was “reasonably busy” and a worthwhile day to open.
“It’s typically led by your larger franchise businesses running some Boxing Day sales, but then that draws people out of their homes and into the community a bit more,” Mr Townsend said.
“It provides the opportunity to continue that ‘shop local’ campaign … so people don’t just do the online Boxing Day sales but see what’s in store.”
He said more food and beverage businesses were opening, too: “There are a lot of people wanting to go out for a nice family lunch or brunch on Boxing Day.”
NSW Industrial Relations adviser David Madden visited Tamworth today, going door-to-door with information on Boxing Day retail, including to Peel Street shops and 28 Shoppingworld tenants.
A key message was: “There’s nothing wrong with opening … as long as staff freely elect to work.”
Fines apply to employers who “coerce, harrass, threaten or intimidate” a staffer into working; or landlords who force retail tenants to open.
These “freely elect” protections were introduced after changes to the NSW retail trading laws that once restricted trading on the day.
“Put a bit of paper on the board and go, ‘If you want to work, put your name up’ – that’s the best and easiest way to do it,” Mr Madden said.
Tamworth Business Chamber president Jye Segboer said most members were smaller businesses that might find wages a hurdle.
“Chains don’t actually cop that hard cost because of having employees on enterprise bargain agreements. [It’s] a hard playing field for private sector businesses to open on those days, up against people who are not paying the same.”