Having to work on a Sunday depends on a person’s employment contract. There are also special rules for shop workers and people who work in betting.

Check if Sunday working is mentioned in either:

  • the employment contract
  • the written statement of terms and conditions

A person can’t be made to work on Sundays unless they and their employer agree and put it in writing (eg change the contract).

Sunday working in shops and betting shops

Staff don’t have to work on Sundays if they’re:

  • shop workers who started before 26 August 1994 and are still with the same employer (in Northern Ireland, this is before 4 December 1997)
  • betting shop workers who started before 2 January 1995 and are still with the same employer (in Northern Ireland, this is before 26 February 2004)

Employers only have to pay staff a higher rate for working on Sundays if the contract says so.

All staff should be told about their Sunday working rights when they first start work.

Opting out of Sunday working

All shop and betting shop workers can opt out of Sunday working unless Sunday is the only day they have been employed to work on.

An employee can opt out of Sunday working at any time, even if they have agreed to work on Sundays in their contract.

The employee must give their employer 3 months’ notice that they want to opt out of Sunday working. They must continue to work on Sundays during the 3 month notice period if their employer wants them to.

An employer who needs staff to work on Sundays must tell them in writing that they can opt out. They must do this within 2 months of the person starting work - if they don’t, only 1 month’s notice is needed to opt out.

Staff who opt out of Sunday working mustn’t be treated unfairly.

An employee can’t be dismissed or treated in an unfavourable way for choosing not to work on Sundays.

Northern Ireland

Employers in Northern Ireland must also give any shop and betting shop staff who work on Sundays written details of how they can opt out.

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