Twenty-two shops throughout New Zealand have been found to have broken trading laws by opening on Good Friday.
Inspectors visited 38 businesses and will be out again on Easter Sunday.
Under the Shop Trading Hours Repeal Act 1990, most shops must remain closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday and until 1pm on Anzac Day. Retailers can be fined up to $1000 if they open illegally.
Exemptions apply for restaurants and cafes, convenience, souvenir and duty free stores, pharmacies and shops in premises where there are bona fide shows or exhibitions.
The FIRST Union, which represents many retail workers, says the amount of shops breaking the law is disappointing and similar to previous years.
General secretary Robert Reid says businesses that ignore the law should be penalised with more than just a fine.
"If companies simply keep breaching these laws, it's certainly our belief that, rather than have a paltry fine of $1000 per breach, they are committing a criminal act and they should have their takings taken from them."
Robert Reid says although National MP Jacqui Dean's Easter Trading Bill relates to a particular area in Otago, there are about 267,000 people working in retail who could be affected if Easter trading rules were relaxed nationwide.