Do shop and betting workers have any special rights concerning Sunday working?
Yes. Shop and betting workers have the right not to be dismissed or selected for redundancy for refusing to do shop or betting work on Sundays. They also have the right not to be subjected to any other detriment, such as denial of promotion or overtime, for such a refusal.
For these purposes, who is a ‘shop worker’ or a ‘betting worker’?
A shop worker is anyone who, under their contract of employment, is or may be required to do ‘shop work’, which means work in or about a shop on a day when the shop is open for serving customers. A shop includes any premises where a retail trade or business is carried on. This extends to barber shops and hairdressers, hire service shops and auction rooms, but not to catering businesses such as restaurants or pubs.
Meanwhile, a betting worker is anyone who, under their contract of employment, is or may be required to carry out ‘betting work’, meaning work at a race track for a bookmaker that consists of dealing with betting transactions or work in a licensed betting office when it is open to customers.
How do shop or betting workers qualify for protection from a requirement to work on Sundays?
A Some shop or betting workers are automatically protected. In relation to England and Wales, an automatically protected shop worker or betting worker is one who, on 25 August 1994 in the case of a shop worker, or 2 January 1995 in the case of a betting worker, was employed as a shop or betting worker, but not to work only on Sundays, and has been continuously employed by the same employer as a shop or betting worker since that day. In Scotland, the applicable date is 5 April 2004 for both shop and betting workers.
An employee is also protected if they started work after the dates outlined above if, under their contract of employment, they are not and may not be required to work on a Sunday.
A protected shop or betting worker may simply tell their employer that they do not wish to work on Sundays.
Can shop or betting workers forfeit their protected status?
Yes. If protected shop or betting workers give their employer a written, signed and dated opting-in notice in which they expressly state that they wish to work on Sundays, or that they do not object to Sunday working, and then expressly agree with their employer to do shop work or betting work on Sundays or on a particular Sunday, they will lose their protected status.
They can, however, later serve an opting-out notice on their employer if they no longer wish to work on Sundays.
Can non-protected shop or betting workers opt out of Sunday working?
Yes. Shop and betting workers who are not protected, or those who have forfeited their protected status, have the right to opt out of Sunday working, so long as they are not employed to work only on Sundays.
To exercise that right, they must give their employer at least three months’ advance notice, in writing, of their intention to stop working on Sundays.
Are employers required to inform shop and betting workers of their right to opt out of Sunday working?
Yes. Within two months of recruiting a shop or betting worker, other than one employed to work only on Sundays, an employer must advise the new recruit in writing, in the form prescribed by the Employment Rights Act 1996, section 42, of their right to opt out of Sunday working, and the procedure for doing so. If it fails to do so, the opt-out notice period is reduced from three months to one.