Sunday working

Having to work on a Sunday depends on whether it’s mentioned in either the person’s:

  • employment contract
  • written statement of terms and conditions

A worker cannot be made to work on Sundays unless they agreed it with their employer and put it in writing (for example, changed the contract).

Employers only have to pay staff more for working on Sundays if it has been agreed as part of the contract.

Sunday working in shops and betting shops

Staff do not have to work on Sundays if they’re:

  • shop workers who started with their employer on or before 26 August 1994 (in Northern Ireland, this is on or before 4 December 1997)
  • betting shop workers who started with their employer on or before 2 January 1995 (in Northern Ireland, this is on or before 26 February 2004)

All staff should be told about these 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. They can opt out of Sunday working at any time, even if they agreed to it in their contract.

Shop and betting shop workers must:

  • give their employer 3 months’ notice that they want to opt out
  • 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 do not, only 1 month’s notice is needed to opt out.

An employee cannot be dismissed or treated unfairly for choosing not to work on Sundays.

Northern Ireland

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

Find out about Sunday working rules on Northern Ireland Business Information’s website