NT Boxing Day Decision: a big win for retail and fast food workers

Christmas has come early for retail and fast food workers across the Territory, with the NT Government announcing today that Saturday December 26 will be recognised as a public holiday in 2020.

The SDA – the union for retail, fast food and warehousing workers – welcomes this decision by the NT Government which makes sure that Territory workers have the same rights on Boxing Day as workers in most other states in Australia. 

This means that workers will be entitled to public holiday penalty rates and have the option to take the day off on both December 26 and the substituted public holiday – December 28.

This has been a difficult year for retail and fast-food workers. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, SDA members in the Territory did not have the opportunity to work from home or in a socially distanced environment.

Instead they were inadvertently drafted as frontline workers with minimal protection from an unknown disease.

This is a huge win for Territory workers. Unless the Government acted, thousands of workers across the Territory could have been forced to work on boxing day instead of spending it with their family and close friends.

Most retail and fast food workers don’t have the luxury of working a 9 to 5 job, Monday to Friday. If the Government hadn’t stepped in, workers would have been robbed of their family time and their well-deserved public holiday penalty rates on Boxing Day this year.

This decision brings the Northern Territory into line with Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia in recognising Saturday December 26 as a public holiday.

It’s great to see the NT Government listening to the needs of retail and fast food workers and taking action on this issue.”