ACT Labor's decision to give Canberrans a new public holiday "smacks of populism" and the government should take away another day off in lieu, according to the nation's peak hospitality advocate.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced during the ACT Labor conference that Easter Sunday would become the 14th public holiday in the ACT next year, hailing it as a win for workers.
But Australian Hotels Association chief executive Stephen Ferguson said the decision was another financial challenge to businesses, adding about $20 an hour to an average hospitality worker's wages.
"People working on this day were already earning Sunday rates, this just means fewer businesses will be open and less people are able to earn money," he said.
"If we are going to make Easter Sunday a public holiday, why don't we look at taking away Family and Community Day?"
Mr Barr also used his speech to defend the weekend penalty rates system.
"We need a clear work/life balance to protect precious time with our families and friends, as well as a clear recognition of the cost of having to work outside the traditional, Monday to Friday working week," he said.
"This is a win for all the hard working emergency services personnel, retail and hospitality workers that work on Easter Sunday rather than spending it with their friends and family."
Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Robyn Hendry said the extra public holiday would not impact on the working week, being bookended by Good Friday and Easter Monday, but came with costs.
"Broadly speaking we're not looking for more public holidays, but we would recognise Easter is one of those times that is special," she said.
"This won't stop people travelling at Easter, it will just erode the profit for the tourism operator."
There were 13 public holidays scheduled in the ACT this year, with Family and Community Day the next on September 28. The extra day will make 14 in 2016, the same as NSW and Victoria, who also have an Easter Sunday public holiday. The number can vary slightly in any year due to dates landing on different days of the week.
Ms Hendry said the business community's calls for lower penalty rates on ordinary Sundays, where restaurant and cafe workers were generally paid double their base rate, were unrelated to the one-off Easter day.