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Suspension on Sunday Trading Laws for the Olympics?

19 March 2012

It has been reported that George Osborne is set to propose emergency legislation so that large retailers in England and Wales can trade for more than six hours on a Sunday in the eight weekends during the Olympics and Paralympics.

Retail employers will be aware that current employment legislation in England and Wales gives specific rights to shop and betting workers to refuse to work on Sundays. For example; employees are protected from being dismissed when the reason or principal reason for the dismissal is a reason connected with the refusal of Sunday work. While ostensibly a recognition of the Christian Sabbath, these provisions are not linked to any religion or specific religious days of worship. They apply to all shop and betting workers irrespective of religious belief.

It will remain to be seen the extent of the proposed changes for retailers during the Olympics and whether any temporary measures create a long-term legacy in the relaxation in Sunday trading laws.

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