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Sunday Working Rights

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 26 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Sunday Working Contracts Shops Betting

Various businesses are open on Sundays. The obvious examples are shops, transport, restaurants and leisure facilities. But it doesn't matter what line of work people are in. These days, there's a strong possibility an employer may ask for Sunday working.

Contracts

A contract of employment may include a clause obliging an employee to work on Sundays. This obligation may be a regular commitment or an occasional request. Either way, an employee with such a contract must be ready to work on Sundays.

A written statement of terms and conditions may contain similar wording to a contract. Any employee unsure about Sunday working should read his or her contract or terms and conditions.

An employee with a contract that fails to mention Sunday working does not have to work on Sundays. An employer who wants such an employee to work on Sundays must change the contract.

The employer and the employee must agree to the contract change. An employee is not obliged to accept a change that adds Sunday working to the contract terms.

When a contract does not include Sunday working, any attempt by an employer to make an employee work on Sundays is a breach of contract.

Retail Workers and Those in the Betting Industry

Special Sunday rules apply to people who work in shops or in the betting industry. The contracts may say that employees must work on Sundays, but employees have a right to opt out. Employers must inform staff about this right within two months of taking them on.

Anyone who wants to take the Sunday opt-out must put a request in writing. The employer has a right to three months' written notice.

Employers do not have to offer alternative work to those who opt out of Sunday working. An opt-out does not affect the security of a job, however. The law does not allow employers to sack shop and betting industry workers who use the Sunday opt-out rule.

Long-Term Shop and Betting Industry Workers

Other Sunday rules apply to long-term shop and betting industry workers. Long-term shop workers are those who've worked since 25 August 1994 for the same employer. Long-term betting industry workers are those who've worked since 2 January 1995 for the same employer.

A long-term employee simply has to tell an employer he or she doesn't want to work on Sundays. There's no need to give three months' written notice. This protection is for workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland only.

Long-term workers can choose to come in on Sundays, if they wish. They must give employers written notice. Employees should agree what Sundays they are prepared to work, what hours they will do, and what work they will perform.

A long-term worker who opts to work on Sundays can opt out in the future. Any employee who wants to stop Sunday working in these circumstances must give the employer an agreed amount of notice.

Religious Belief

Christians may prefer not to work on Sundays. The best approach, as recommended by the government, is to speak to the employer. If all goes well, the employer will take a reasonable view and adjust shifts.

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a member of staff because of his or her religion. In some instances, Christians may need to invoke this law. It may be wise to seek guidance from Citizens Advice or a Union before confronting an employer.

Extra Money for Sunday Working

The law does not oblige employers to pay more for Sunday working than they would on other days. The employer can choose whether to pay extra or not.

In some business areas, normal working hours follow a set Monday to Friday, or Monday to Saturday pattern. An employer may decide to pay time-and-a-half or double time for those who come in on Sundays. Some employers offer time off during the week for working on a Sunday.

Employees should check their contracts, and terms and conditions. If there is no mention of Sunday working, but they are happy to come in on a Sunday, they should speak to their employers about extra pay or holidays.

Difficulties With Sunday Working

People's circumstances change. Someone who regularly works on Sunday may wish to stop. Shop and betting industry workers have the chance to opt out. Other workers should speak to their employers to see if it's possible to come to an arrangement. Unions, Citizens Advice Bureaux and Community Legal Advice may be able to give help if a problem arises.

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Hi, I wonder if someone could help. I work within the financial sector in a controls job that validates IT service resiliency. I have worked for my organisation for more than 20 years & performs my job well. The organisation which I work for likes to present itself to the world as a forward thinking, caring sharing service provider and employer. I have always believed this but recently Overtime / TOIL arrangements for my role has been challenged as we do need to work overnight through the night sometimes to perform the tests we do to limit disruption to our business. My contract is a standard 9-5 Monday to Friday and the overtime policy is written that if you work overtime you can claim time & half. However as we work overnight we have been advised previously that we still need to maintain our contractual hours if working overnight that runs too or from Monday - Friday. Some indivuals have even just work 2am - 9am and gained just 1/2 hour overtime for each hour worked overnight as we are told that we still need to work our contractual hours. Our local overtime needs fall outside the organisations policy at the moment and it doesn’t differenceate if you perform overtime during “normal” hours or overnight & it doesn’t detail anything around a right to recover from overnight overtime or the 11 hour European work time directive. It appears that some in my department may be taken advantage of and receive different overtime than others. Can you provide any help as I have now been told that my objection to not having an overtime policy that sits in with my local areas business objectives and that because I have called out that I can not comply to health & safety compliance (& am the only one too) is now leading to an investigation and that when they decide a scenario may suit having TOIL & overtime my whole area will loose out. Things are not documented and I would like them to be so that as colleagues we all now that we are being treated fairly and equally.
Theworkplacegremlin - 26-Oct-17 @ 9:39 PM
Hi I've been working at the same retail job for 6 years 16 hours a week due to being a single parent. In this time i have never worked a Sunday but always work a Saturday. I have signed a contract saying i will be available on a Saturday night to do stock takes when ever they are scheduled which i do. They are now on the rota to be done on a Sunday morning 5am and no one has a say we have to do them this is without changing our contacts is this even allowed?. If i opt out of Sundays then when it comes to stock take week do they still have to give me my contacted 16 hours only at the min when its stock take its included in my 16 hours due to being on housing benefit i never go over my 16 hours a week so will i loose them2.5 hours when it is stock take? And will i even be able to opt out of a Sunday shift and still not have to come in for a stock if its on the rota for a Sundayas i never signed anything saying i will do stock on Sundays only Saturdays as stated in my contract.. Please help i have spoken to my manager and higher above but basically get the same response... Im the only single parent part time worker in my shop so im pretty out numbered when it comes to my vote and only seems to be me its not working for G
G - 25-Oct-17 @ 9:00 AM
Hi I work in a cafe and we are open Monday to Saturday but as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve is on a Sunday this year my boss has decided to open. Do I have to work on them days when I don’t normal work them?
Jill - 25-Oct-17 @ 6:25 AM
Jay - Your Question:
I work in retail middle management and opted out of sunday working over 2 years ago due to beliefs and to give more support to my wife caring for my autistic son, and drum in some kind of routine for us all. Anyway, this year, with both christmas eve and new years eve falling on a sunday, I have been asked by a superior which one I WILL be working, not can I work one of them.I responded that I wont be working either due to the fact that it would break my sunday opt out agreement, to which I got the response 'no it wont, it doesnt apply at christmas'. Is this true? Im concearned that firstly if I do work one of them, they can make me work more in the future,and secondly if I work one of them my opt out will become void. So where do I stand please?

Our Response:
Sunday is Sunday wherever it falls. If it doesn't mention in your contract about exceptions at Christmas or New Year, or in your contract about specific working over the Christmas holiday period (which may conflict with your Sunday working), then your employer has the right to honour your opt out. However, I would double-check with ACAS after reading your contract, just to make sure you are within your rights to refuse.
WorkingRights - 16-Oct-17 @ 11:14 AM
I work in retail middle management and opted out of sunday working over 2 years ago due to beliefs and to give more support to my wife caring for my autistic son, and drum in some kind of routine for us all. Anyway, this year, with both christmas eve and new years eve falling on a sunday, I have been asked by a superior which one I WILL be working, not can I work one of them.I responded that I wont be working either due to the fact that it would break my sunday opt out agreement, to which I got the response 'no it wont, it doesnt apply at christmas'. Is this true? Im concearned that firstly if I do work one of them, they can make me work more in the future,and secondly if I work one of them my opt out will become void. So where do I stand please?
Jay - 15-Oct-17 @ 2:33 PM
Silver63 - Your Question:
I work in a supermarket, I have worked there for 8 years now part time , my contract says I work set days and set hours , I have never worked a Sunday , I work wed , thurs , fri and Saturday, I have never been told about "opting out of Sunday " but now they are trying to get me to work on Sunday, I have other commitments on Sunday and the other days I don't work, can anyone tell me where I stand please, ( my other commitments are looking after my grandchildren and elderly parents) many thanks

Our Response:
Usually, the employer and employee both need to agree to any contract changes. If you do not wish for changes to be made, your employer cannot force you, please see link here.
WorkingRights - 9-Oct-17 @ 1:57 PM
I work in a supermarket, I have worked there for 8 years now part time , my contract says I work set days and set hours , I have never worked a Sunday , I work wed , thurs , fri and Saturday, I have never been told about "opting out of Sunday " but now they are trying to get me to work on Sunday, I have other commitments on Sunday and the other days I don't work, can anyone tell me where I stand please, ( my other commitments are looking after my grandchildren and elderly parents) many thanks
Silver63 - 9-Oct-17 @ 12:05 AM
ekim - Your Question:
Hi, I have just given my employer my 1 months notice for opting out of sundays as they have never told any staff about the opt out scheme. I am an Assistant Manager in Retail and have been for sometime, I'm on a 40 hour contract. The Hr department has come back to me saying they are changing my contract from 40 to 34, subsequently dropping my annual pay by more than £2000 a year. Are they within their rights to do this? as it does feel like they are using this to bully me into not opting out of sundays. I have explained the reasons to my employer why I am doing this, but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

Our Response:
In this case, you may benefit more from speaking to ACAS directly.
WorkingRights - 3-Oct-17 @ 2:02 PM
Hi, I have just given my employer my 1 months notice for opting out of sundays as they have never told any staff about the opt out scheme. I am an Assistant Manager in Retail and have been for sometime, i'm on a 40 hour contract. The Hr department has come back to me saying they are changing my contract from 40 to 34, subsequently dropping my annual pay by more than £2000 a year. Are they within their rights to do this? as it does feel like they are using this to bully me into not opting out of sundays. I have explained the reasons to my employer why i am doing this, but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Any advice would be great. Thanks.
ekim - 29-Sep-17 @ 4:44 PM
I work in retail and I do 37.5 h a week, Sunday to Thursday. On my contract it says I can opt out by giving 3 month notice. I did that. Now my company says that I have to work another day instead but may question is can they force me to do that? Even if it's not in my contract and there is no law saying anything about it. They have also given a 30 h contract to one of my colleagues and said that he's got a strong reason for it. Can I refuse to work another day? I said I can do 2 h extra every day to make up them hours but they don't want me to. What shall I do?
Ev - 9-Aug-17 @ 2:15 AM
I work in horse racing administration for the bha. Under my current contract i have to work 12 saturdays, 16 sundays and 4 bank holidays in addition to my part time week day hours. For working the weekends and bank holidays i am given 18 toil days. I have just been informed that i will no longer get the toil days but will still have to work the weekend and bank holiday rota. I have been told i will get a one off good will payment but how much this will be has not bern disclosed. Thereafter my wages will not increase to compensate the loss of 18 toil days. As i am a single parent receiving working tax credits i will not even benefit from the one off payment as i will be penilised the next year thtough my tax credits.The toil days are very valuable to me as i am legal the guardian, raising my six year old grandchild. Can i and my collegues be forced to accept this change in contract.
Capricorn - 26-Jul-17 @ 4:41 PM
Norwich foxy - Your Question:
My wife works in retail has done for many years and opted out of Sunday work. Company have now issued a new contract which states 3 months notice has to be given to opt out and she may have to work during those 3 months. Is this not against the law based on the original opt out Help please!!

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether the original contract says you employer can change the terms. She might wish to give ACAS a call if she feels her employer is treating her unfairly and wishes to find out her rights.
WorkingRights - 18-Jul-17 @ 2:46 PM
My wife works in retail has done for many years and opted out of Sunday work. Company have now issued a new contract which states 3 months notice has to be given to opt out and she may have to work during those 3 months. Is this not against the law based on the original opt out Help please!!
Norwich foxy - 18-Jul-17 @ 2:01 PM
I work in retail and opted out of Sunday's a year ago. BuT am I allowed to work overtime on a Sunday even though I opted out ???
Home - 4-Aug-16 @ 9:08 PM
It seems very strange the type of action your daughters employee had taken would generally be due to some sort of disciplinary action . I would contact Acas for advice on the matter . Sadly some employers have some strange ways of dealing with colleagues best of luck
Mike m - 2-Jun-16 @ 9:07 PM
sad123 - Your Question:
Seeking advice. I work in retail and have just given 3 months notice to opt out of Sundays last Sunday shift 29th May. My employees have told me I have to lose my Sunday hours (6) they wont give me hours anywhere within the business on any other department. (A large retail store of 400 employees) I have been told that my contract will change as of this week. The company stopped paying time and a half on a Sunday, but my reasons for opting out is for family reasons, having three children who need me to be at home on a Sunday as my husband works weekends. Can they do this? Advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

Our Response:
You don't say what your contract is. If it is zero hours, then your employer has the choice of what hours he/she can give you and while this informal contract works well for some, for others it can lead to uncertainty, especially for those workers who wish to be certain of their hours. If your contract is fixed hours, then your employer is under no obligation to give you overtime, if these are the hours you agreed to in your contract. In this case you may wish to give ACAS a call in order to see what your options are with regards to the type of contract you have.
WorkingRights - 1-Jun-16 @ 11:35 AM
Seeking advice.I work in retail and have just given 3 months notice to opt out of Sundays last Sunday shift 29th May.My employees have told me I have to lose my Sunday hours (6) they wont give me hours anywhere within the business on any other department.(A large retail store of 400 employees)I have been told that my contract will change as of this week. The company stopped paying time and a half on a Sunday, but my reasons for opting out is for family reasons, having three children who need me to be at home on a Sunday as my husband works weekends.Can they do this?Advice would be greatly appreciated.Many thanks.
sad123 - 31-May-16 @ 2:09 PM
Hello can anyone give me advice my daughter whos 21 has been working for spec savers finished her probation and was given her new contract lucy worked very hard always arrived on time clean and smart had brilliant customer services skills sold over £80.000 worth of eye wear the in 5 months had a great relationship with all her colleagues and enjoyed her job so much she did an excess course at Canterbury uni studying every night whilst working full time she gained 92 % pass and was accepted to start a optom dispenser course in sept and which her boss offerd to fund for the 3 years then last week her boss ask her to go to the stock room where she was told to leave the shop as she was no longer required to work there any more she ask why what had she done wrong and was told by her boss she didn't have to give her a reason she would be paid a months notice but would not be required to work her notice with that she was escorted from the premises asked to give her jacket scarf name badge keys etc in front of staff and customers at 5pm she was so humiliated and shocked as to why she was put onto garden leave shes has written a letter hoping for an answers but the reply was your contact states we are within our rights
Suey - 12-Jul-15 @ 9:05 PM
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