Staff Can Opt Out Of Sunday Working

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Shop workers who are or may be obliged to work on a Sunday, have the right to a statutory statement that explains their right to opt-out of Sunday working. Employees cannot be dismissed or disadvantaged in any way due to exercising this right as this would be automatically unfair. This applies only to shop workers and a shop includes any premises "where retail trade or business is carried out". Shop assistants, barbers and hairdressers are therefore included. Catering establishments, theatres, cinemas and places of entertainment such as amusement arcades are excluded. If an employee opts out of Sunday working, they must give the employer written notice to register their objection to work on Sundays and this will take effect three months after it has been given and will continue for as long as the employee remains in employment as a shop worker. If the employee has not been give this statement, then the opting-out will take effect after one month. It is possible for shop workers to opt back in by giving the employer written notice and they must confirm that they expressly agree to work on Sundays. The statement should be given to an employee within eight weeks of their start date as a shop worker, provided they are going to be required to work on a Sunday. Employers can of course refuse to pay the employee in respect of Sundays not worked and if they work a fixed number of hours per week which includes Sundays, and their hours are therefore reduced as a result of opting-out of working on Sunday, then an employer can reduce the amount of pay pro rata and do not have to provide hours on other days to compensate for the reduction. Please contact Crispin Rhodes for further information on this topic.

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