Opting out of Sunday working during the Olympics – what employers need to know

Earlier this month, the Government confirmed that it would temporarily be lifting the restriction on Sunday opening hours for large shops during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Although it is a temporary move, employers still need to plan ahead and consider what they should do if their staff wish to opt out of Sunday working.

For most employees, whether or not they can be required to work on Sundays depends on their contract of employment. However, there are special rules for shop and betting workers. “Protected” shop and betting workers cannot be required to work on Sundays, while “non-protected” workers can opt out of Sunday working.

What is a “protected” shop or betting worker?

Can non-protected shop or betting workers opt out of Sunday working?

Notice to opt out of Sunday working temporarily reduced

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 restricts the Sunday trading hours of large shops to six hours between 10am and 6pm.





Video: Temporary change to the rules on opting out of Sunday working for shop workers in large shops

This restriction is being lifted for eight Sundays during the Olympic and Paralympic Games: from Sunday 22 July to Sunday 9 September inclusive. Because of this, the Government is temporarily shortening the notice that shop workers in these shops have to give to opt out of Sunday working.

What special arrangements have been put in place for shop workers in large shops to opt out of Sunday working during the Olympics and Paralympics period?

Timing of notice to opt out of all eight Olympics Sundays

The temporary change to the notice period will apply where the employee’s notice is given between 1 May and 9 July. Depending on when the notice is given during this time, the employee’s opt-out of Sunday working will cover all or just some of the eight Sundays during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

From which Sunday will an employee’s opt-out apply?

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