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Relaxed Sunday trading laws – what it means for you as a business

The Government has suspended UK Sunday trading laws for eight weekends over this year’s Olympics, not only to help visitors, but in a bid to boost sales and employment in the economy.

Which businesses are affected?

At present, shops with a floor space of more than 280 square metres are restricted to Sunday trading hours between 10 am and 6 pm. However, the temporary legislation means that larger shops with this floor space, such as supermarkets will be able to trade for longer hours on Sundays from the 22 July to the end of the Paralympic games on 9 September.

Worker’s rights

Employees can only be made to work on Sundays if it is written into their contract of employment. Businesses wanting to take advantage of the temporary trading hours must change an employee’s written contract, which must be agreed by both employee and employer. Workers retain the right to opt out if they wish, and the employer is not allowed to treat these staff unfavourably. The usual notice period in which employees of large shops must give their employers if they wish to opt out of Sunday working was altered in the Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act 2012, from three to two months. Although the minimum wage still applies, it is decided between the employer and employee as to how much pay a worker will receive for working on a Sunday, as there are no statutory rights in this area.

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