Finance Bill

Sunday working – If you are asked to work on a Sunday, do you have to? Here is a full run-down of your rights.

When you don’t have to work Sundays

In the following situations you may not have to work on a Sunday:

  • If you’re a shop worker who has been with the same employer since before 26th August 1994, you’re protected from having to work on Sundays and don’t need to (unless you want to). If you’re a betting worker who has been with the same employer since before 3rd January 1995, you’re protected also. You can, of course, give up this protection and work on Sundays by giving your employer a written ‘opt in’ notice and agreeing what Sunday’s you’re willing to work. These rules don’t apply in Scotland. If you ‘opt in’, you can change your mind at any time and ‘opt out’ (giving the notice that your employer requires)
  • If you’re employed as a shop worker or a betting worker in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you have the right to refuse to work on a Sunday by ‘opting out’ (you need to give one or three months notice to do this – see explanation below – but you don’t need to give a reason for doing so). If you don’t want to work on a Sunday and ‘opt out’, you’re then protected against dismissal, selection for redundancy, and other unfair treatment (e.g. refusal of promotion or training) that may occur as a result. You can take a case to an Employment Tribunal if any of these occur
  • If you ‘opt out’ of Sunday working your employer doesn’t have to offer you extra work on other days instead
  • You must be given the option to ‘opt out’ of Sunday working within two months of starting work (and you then need to give three months notice to opt out). If you are not given this option when you start work then you will only need to give one months notice to ‘opt out’.
  • There’s no service length requirement to be eligible for these Sunday rules
  • These rules obviously don’t apply if you’re employed to work only on a Sunday
  • ‘Large’ shops are defined as those with an internal floor area of 280 square metres or more (parts of the shops that is not used for serving customers, including selling and displaying goods, doesn’t count towards this area)
  • If you’re a practising Christian who has strong feelings about Sunday working, you should explain this to your employer, who should try to meet your requests (or they may be found to have discriminated against you for your religious beliefs).

You can read about your other employment rights here.