Getting Familiar with the Sunday Working Rules

If you run a business that operates on Sundays, then it is important you make yourself aware of the rules surrounding Sunday working as there are various obligations you need to adhere to.

In most cases, if you include a clause in an employee's contract stating that working on Sundays is a requirement, then they will be obliged to observe it. However, if you operate within the retail sector or betting industry, then you will be subject to a different set of rules.

Retail and Betting Sector Sunday Working

In these two sectors, workers are actually allowed to opt out of working on Sundays, regardless of whether their contracts state they are required to do so. The one exception to this rule is, if the employee is only contracted to work on Sundays and no other day, then they won't be permitted to opt out.

If you run a business in the retail or betting industries and have staff wishing to opt out of Sunday working then they are required to provide you with three months' notice to do so. During the notice period you can decide whether you wish for them to continue working on Sundays. This gives you time to make arrangements for alternative staff to stand in for their Sunday shifts.

Employer Obligations

As an employer, you also have obligations. Within two months of an employee starting work with you, you are required by law to notify of them of their right to opt out of Sunday working. It is wise to have a standard template letter ready to use. If you fail to provide this notification, then should an employee decide to exercise their right to opt out, they will only have to provide you with one month's notice rather than three. So it is obviously in your best interests to make the notification.

Avoiding Discrimination Claims

If a member of staff opts out of working on Sundays, be careful not to treat them unfavourably. If they are dismissed for this reason, then it is likely you will have an unfair dismissal claim on your hands.

Sunday Working and Rates of Pay

Employees who work on Sundays are often under the misconception that they are entitled to higher rates of pay compared to standard working days. However, this is not the case unless their contract expressly states as such.

If you are in any doubt over your obligations as an employer concerning Sunday working, your bookkeepers will be able to advise you on the current regulations.

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