sunday working
7th September 2017

Can UK Workers Really Opt Out Of Sunday Working?

A story in the Daily Mirror regarding weekend workers opting out of Sunday working has been gaining traction on social media this week. Enrique Garcia is an employment law consultant with the ELAS Group. We asked him to take a look:

“This article covers the Sunday Working Rights rules which state that people who work in shops or in betting shops have the right to opt out of working with the public on Sundays.  However, it is not strictly true that people can opt out of working on Sundays entirely.  For example, if a shop opens on Sunday at 12pm, staff who come in to do a stock take from 8am to 12pm can’t use the Sunday opt-out provision to avoid working on a Sunday because they are working at a time when the shop is not open to the public.

How Could Your Staff Avoid Sunday Working?

“Employees who wish to opt out of Sunday working must give 3 months notice.  It is true that if an employer fails to advise employees in writing of their Sunday working opt-out rights then this notice is reduced to one month.  Employers have two months from the date an employee starts work to give them written advice regarding the right to opt out. The reason for wanting to opt out is irrelevant; it could be to attend church, visit family, rest, play golf or catching up on the latest box set.

“If an employee is employed to work only on Sundays then this law does not apply.  There is no obligation on the employer to offer alternative hours e.g. if an employee is employed to work Saturday and Sunday and they opt-out of Sunday working, there is no obligation on the employer to ensure they are offered an alternative day.  However, employees cannot be dismissed or treated poorly due to their opting out, for example, being given all the horrible jobs or unfavourable shifts.”


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