Sunday trading

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The opening of shops for trading on a Sunday, which is governed by the Sunday Trading Act 1994 as consolidated in the Employment Rights Act 1996. Small shops may open at will on a Sunday. The 1994 Act repealed the Shops Act 1950, which prohibited large shops from Sunday trading. Large shops with a floor area over 280 square metres may now open on Sundays, provided that they open for no more than six hours beginning no earlier than 10.00 a.m. and ending no later than 6.00 p.m. Shops may not open on Easter Sunday and, under the Christmas Day (Trading) Act 2004, large shops may not open on Christmas Day. Fines can be levied for breach of the requirements. The Act also controls noisy unloading on a Sunday.

Shopworkers (other than those specifically employed to work only on Sundays) have the right not to be dismissed or selected for redundancy for refusing to work on Sundays. They are also protected from suffering any other detriment (for example, loss of overtime or denial of promotion) for refusing to work on Sundays. Workers who have been employed by the same employer since August 1994 are automatically protected and may simply tell the employer that they do not wish to work on Sundays. All other shop workers can opt out of Sunday working by giving their employer three months' notice, in writing, that they do not wish to work on Sundays. Any worker may opt in to Sunday working if they wish. A complaint about infringement of these rights is to an employment tribunal.

Subjects: Law.

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