Sunday Trading

While the introduction of shopping slots for key workers and the vulnerable are welcome, I have raised with colleagues the question of extending Sunday Trading.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 recognises 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.

As you may know, legislation dictates that a large shop may only be open for 6 consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm on a Sunday. If a large shop is restricted by Sunday Trading hours, they must display their opening times both inside and outside their premises. Small shops, measuring up to and including 280 metres, can open any day and any hour with no trading restrictions. 

Some large shops are 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:

I understand that some large establishments support a temporary relaxation of Sunday Trading laws during the Covid-19 crisis. My Ministerial colleagues have assured me that they are aware of this and keeping the law under review, including the impact on workers.