Labour Day Weekend: What’s Open, What’s Not? We’ve Got Your Back

What's open Labour Day

For those of us in ACT, NSW and SA, Labour Day is coming up this Monday, October 3. If you aren’t sure what exactly the day celebrates, it commemorates achievements of the Australian labour movement — particularly, the start of the eight-hour working day, a victory for workers in the 19th century.

The argument for the cap on working hours in a day — which previously saw workers on the job for 10-12 hours a day, six days a week — was that each person should have eight hours of labour, eight hours of recreation and eight hours of rest, an idea by British socialist Robert Owen.

That said, what does the public day then translate to in terms of venue and shop opening hours? If you’re staying around home for it, or even travelling within these three states and territories, what can you expect to be open?

Related: Why Do We Get a Public Holiday for Labour Day?

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Restaurants, Bars or Cafés

Generally speaking, most venues will be operating normal trading hours on Labour Day. In saying that, many of them are usually closed on Mondays so that’ll remain the case. Check online or call ahead to avoid disappointment. Also, for those venues that are open, expect to pay public holiday surcharges on meals and drinks.

Bottle Shops

There are no restrictions on bottle shops trading on Labour Day so they can open any hours they want. The public holiday does require employers may penalty rates, so some smaller bottle shops may opt to stay closed. Again, check online or call ahead.

Shopping Centres

Major shopping centres including Westfield will adopt normal trading hours. That should be the case with independent shops, too, though keep in mind employee penalty rates may prompt them to shut Monday and that some don’t usually open Mondays anyway.


Most major supermarkets, including Woolworths and Coles, will be operating as usual on Monday. Independent food shops, though, may adopt the same mentality as mentioned above, opting to close because of having to pay penalty rates or not usually opening on Mondays.

Post Offices

Most post offices, including Australia Post, will be closed on Monday in ACT, NSW and SA. No local mail or parcel deliveries will take place, including Express Post items, on the Sunday or Monday.

The next guaranteed day of delivery for Express Post items posted before closing time on the business day before a public holiday will be the next business day after a public holiday. In other words, if you send an item Express Post on Friday, it’ll arrive Tuesday.

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