Christmas Eve post-6pm public holiday should have been repealed in this year of COVID

A prominent Brisbane man about town and long-time QEW reader has reminded me that last year I posted on the ridiculous Christmas Eve half-day public holiday, and he said that it was particularly costly in this year of COVID. Here’s a great note he sent me which I’m grateful he’s given me permission to publish:

Gene, this is an old post on Christmas Eve penalty rates, but worth revisiting.

In a Covid year when small business and marginalised workers (casuals, part timers, students, etc) have had it rough, it appears that a poor policy decision has kicked an own goal for Queenslanders.

2020 Christmas Eve activity in South East Queensland was DEAD, especially from mid afternoon onwards. Retailers, restaurants and hospitality venues all appeared very quiet. It looks like they closed early, rather than pay huge penalty rates on what used to be a big retail and hospitality evening. Imagine what activity and employment has been missed because of this poor policy decision?

This high wage structure pushes shoppers further into the arms of online retailers, making it harder for our students and part timers to find local work.

It is to be hoped that the retail peak bodies get this data and use it as evidence that the extra public holiday declaration has backfired on the Queensland community.

It would also be great for union leaders to hear from these marginal workers who missed out on work and much needed income. It might help arrest the decline in private sector union membership if their voice was heard.

Given Queensland’s parlous employment situation, we need every opportunity available to grow our economy and create jobs.

I fully agree with my long-time reader’s excellent remarks.

Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to

Retail has been very challenging in this year of COVID, so why make it more difficult with unnecessary public holidays and penalty rates?

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4 Responses to Christmas Eve post-6pm public holiday should have been repealed in this year of COVID

  1. Glen says:

    Gene I don’t think business has the backbone to articulate its position these days, they are weak and complicit and fail to stand up for their businesses, not since the anti MRRT campaign over a decade ago has business publicly campaigned for its interests to achieve an outcome.

    • Gene Tunny says:

      Thanks for the comment Glen. Yes, arguably some of the peak bodies are too afraid of being cut out of the loop by government to argue their case as they strongly as they could. That said, being cut out of the loop is a real risk for them as I recall it happened after the 2004 election when Commerce Qld appeared to back the opposition during the campaign.

    • verbatim9 says:

      Yes, business and residents in Qld should be more aware on whats going on and be more vocal about it, with submissions and advocacy to drive better reform.

  2. verbatim9 says:

    This holiday doesn’t make sense. It just induces additional cost for smaller business and the hospitality sector. Unfortunately this was driven SDA without any particular implications for the overall Qld economy and its citizens. The objective here for workers to get paid better after 6pm hasn’t really worked, as most businesses now close at 6 pm incl major supermarkets while other businesses have skeleton staff. This holiday should be amended to start at 9 pm on Christmas eve or abolished all together.

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