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Shop staff to get extra rights over Sunday working

Posted: 22nd March 2016   In: Business Employment

Shop staff are to be given more freedom to opt out of Sunday working following a government decision to devolve some control to local councils.

The new measures will enable councils to “zone” any relaxation of Sunday trading laws so they will be able to prioritise high streets and city centres. This will enable them to help drive footfall to struggling high streets by allowing them to open longer.

As the changes could impact on shop workers, they will be given extra protection. They will now be able to give just one month’s notice to large shops that they no longer want to work Sundays, down from the current 3 months.

They will also have a new right to opt-out of working additional hours.

As a further measure, the government will strengthen the duty on employers to notify employees of their rights about working on Sundays.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “These new powers are about giving local areas the choice to extend Sunday trading hours to meet the needs of their local businesses and communities. It is local people who will make the decision.

“Extending Sunday trading hours has the potential to help businesses and high streets across the UK better compete as our shopping habits change. The rights of shop workers are key to making these changes work in everyone’s interests. We are protecting those who do not wish to work Sundays, and those who do not want to work more than their normal Sunday working hours.”

The powers will be devolved to unitary and district councils in England, county and county borough councils in Wales, and also to the Mayor of London.

The changes are due to come into effect in the autumn and are contained in the new Enterprise Bill, which will also cut red tape for businesses and create a Small Business Commissioner to help small firms deal with issues such as late payment.

We shall keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact John Carter if you would like more information about the issues covered in this article.