I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents regarding their concerns over the relaxation of the Sunday trading laws.
I understand that some support a temporary relaxation of Sunday Trading laws during Covid-19. I have also been contacted by people across Broxtowe who have raised their concerns. These include concerns over preserving Sunday as a special day, possibly for religious purposes, and also concerns about physical exhaustion that working longer hours may cause when businesses have already been working flat-out to stay afloat during this crisis.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 protects Sunday as a special day for many people and entitles employees in shops and betting shops to opt-out of working on Sunday if they do not wish to work on a Sunday. Unless Sunday is the only day they have been employed to work, all shop and betting shop employees can opt-out of Sunday working at any time by giving their employer three months’ notice, even if they agreed to it in their contract.
Some large shops are currently exempt from Sunday Trading restrictions, including airport and railway outlets, service station outlets, registered pharmacies selling only medicinal products and medical and surgical appliances, farms selling mainly their main produce and exhibition stands selling goods. The full list is available online at https://www.gov.uk/trading-hours-for-retailers-the-law.
There is a precedent for temporarily relaxing Sunday trading laws. This took place during the London 2012 Olympics to support consumers and, of course, the economy as well.
I will continue to raise these concerns with my Ministerial colleagues who have assured me that they are aware of the concerns of workers and the range of views on this issue. I understand that the Government is keeping Sunday Trading laws under review throughout this crisis.