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The Sunday Trading Act - Guidance on Workers' Rights

Please note: Basildon Borough Council does not enforce this part of the Act. Any complaints or grievances would need to be dealt with via a private solicitor.

The Sunday Trading Act creates two new rights for shop workers, who are either ''protected shop workers '' or ''opted out shop workers''.

The new rights given are: -

  • the right not to be dismissed or made redundant for refusing to work on Sundays
  • the right not to be discriminated against in the payment of bonuses or in obtaining promotion for refusing to work Sundays

The new rights do not apply to persons who only work on Sundays

Opting Out of Sunday Working - Protected and Opted Out Shop Workers

A Protected Shop Worker is a person:

  • who was employed as a shop worker before the Sunday Trading Act commencement date of August 26 1994
  • who was not at that date employed only to work on Sundays
  • who has been continuously employed since that date as a shop worker


Opted Out Shop Worker is a person:

  • who has given notice (called an Opting Out Notice) to his employer that he/she objects to working on a Sunday.

The shop worker, whether protected or unprotected, must give their employer three months notice of their objection.

There is no actual Opting Out form to be completed but notice must be in writing to the employer.

The written notice to the employer must be signed and dated by the worker and to the effect that the shop worker objects to working on a Sunday.

Opting back in at a later date
If at a later date, the shop worker decides that they would, after all, like to work on a Sunday then the Act allows them to reverse their previous decision by giving their employer what is called an Opting in Notice which basically says that they now wish to work or have no objection to working on a Sunday. As with opting out, written notice to the employer must be signed and dated by the worker and to the effect that the worker no longer objects to working on a Sunday.

New Workers
In the case of new shop workers who have to work or may have to work on Sundays the employer should give the worker a written statement informing them of their rights under the Act within two months of starting work.

For further information regarding workers' rights and The Sunday Trading Act, visit  Businesslink Website   

Printed below is an example of the statement of statutory rights that newly employed shop workers, who may be expected to work on a Sunday, should receive from their employer within 2 months of starting work.



NEW EMPLOYEES STATUTORY RIGHTS IN RELATION TO SUNDAY SHOP WORK 

You have now become employed as a shop worker and are, or can be, required under your contract of employment to do the Sunday work your contract provides for.

However, if you wish, you can give notice, as described in the next paragraph, to your employer and you will then have the right not to work in or about a shop on any Sunday on which the shop is open once three months have passed from the date on which you gave notice.

Your notice must: -

  • Be in writing
  • Be signed and dated by you
  • Say that you object to Sunday working

For three months after you give notice, you employer can still require you to do all the Sunday work your contract provides for. After the three month period has ended you have the right to complain to an industrial tribunal if, because of your refusal to work on Sundays on which the shop is open, you employers-Dismisses you, or does something else detrimental to you, for example failing to promote you.

Once you have the rights described, you can surrender them only by giving your employer a further notice, signed and dated by you, saying that you wish to work on Sundays or that you do not object to Sunday working and then agreeing with your employer to work on Sundays or on a particular Sunday.


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