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Sunday Trading (London Olympics and Paralympic Games)

Volume 549: debated on Monday 3 September 2012

The Petition of residents of Scunthorpe,

Declares that the Petitioners are opposed to the changes to Sunday trading hours brought in by the Sunday Trading (London Olympic and Paralympic Games) Act, as the Petitioners believe that the changes put unfair pressure on shop workers, who value shorter working hours on Sundays as they allow people to spend more time with their families.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to bring forward legislation to reverse the changes brought in by the Sunday Trading (London Olympic and Paralympic Games) Act and ensure that Sunday Trading Regulations are not suspended during the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Nic Dakin, Official Report, 25 June 2012; Vol. 547, c. 131.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills:

The Government note the support of the residents of Scunthorpe and their concerns regarding shop workers and Sunday trading during the suspension period of the (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act 2012 (“the Act”).

This is a short Act, implementing a temporary measure designed to enable business, workers and consumers to take full advantage of benefits that the London Olympics and Paralympics can bring. The Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act, contains a sunset provision, or expiry date (22 July - 9 September 2012) and normal rules will apply for Sunday trading after 9 September.

Most Shop workers already have special protection related to working on Sundays, including the right to opt out of Sunday working if they wish after giving three months notice to their employer. These protections are not reduced by this temporary suspension of the Sunday trading rules.

The Government have enhanced shop workers rights by introducing a temporary shortened opting out notice period, from the normal three months to as little as two months for the period of the suspension. The other change made by the Act is to make things easier for shop workers if they wish to opt-out only for the suspension period. They can state in their opting-out notice that they only object to Sunday working during the suspension period.

During the passage of the Bill, a number of meetings were held with large retailers who were considering taking advantage of the temporary suspension to ensure that they were aware of the need to treat their employees fairly during the suspension period. A meeting was also held in the run up to the start of the temporary period suspension, with representatives from unions and retail to ensure that shop workers are being treated fairly.

The BIS website contains information on the suspension and guidance for employers and employees.

There are no plans to permanently relax these restrictions. If Government should ever decide to look at a permanent relaxation of these restrictions then a consultation and a full impact assessment would be carried out.