The Olympic and Paralympic Games are almost upon us and, as reported in this year’s budget (see March 2012 LAWmail) the government has introduced legislation to relax Sunday trading laws in England and Wales for the Olympic period.
The legislation was fast-tracked through Parliament and received Royal Assent on 1st May. Under current rules, shop workers can refuse to work on Sunday by giving their bosses an “opt-out notice” and cannot be penalised for doing so. This restricts some traders, who can only open for a limited time on Sundays.
The new law will suspend the Sunday trading rules during the 8 weekends covering the Olympic and Paralympic Games (i.e. between Sunday 22nd July to Sunday 9th September, inclusive). This means that those traders who were previously restricted will be able to open for longer periods in a bid to promote spending during the Games.
However, employees can still opt-out of Sunday working by notifying their employer at least two months before the restrictions are due to come into force. Further guidance for employers and employees can be obtained from your legal manager.