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15
Feb 17

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Sunday Working - what employers need to know

In today’s world, the reality is that many businesses are open on Sundays, requiring employees to work Sundays.

Employers of these businesses need to be aware of the additional responsibilities that apply to Sunday working.

Employment Contracts

Where an employee is required to work on a Sunday it should be specifically stated in their contract of employment, otherwise it may be fairly assumed that Sunday is a rest day, as per the Organisation of Working Time Act.

Compensation

The Act also specifies that employees who work on a Sunday must be compensated with a reasonable allowance, increase in pay, time off, or a combination of these.

Where confusion can occur, and conflict arise, is where the Act does not specify what or how much is considered to be a reasonable allowance or increase in pay. The amount of premium paid will vary between industries and employment. However, for further guidance on what actually is considered as a reasonable premium, case law does provide useful assistance.

Some learnings from previous decisions include:

  • If a premium or increased pay is being paid it should be clearly set out, ideally in the contract of employment
  • A rate of pay that exceeds the National Minimum wage is not automatically sufficient.
  • Full-time and part-time staff may not be treated differently with regard to a Sunday premium.
  • Payment in kind is not a premium, for example providing a meal on a Sunday would not be a reasonable allowance
  • If an employee is employed to only work Sundays they will still be entitled to a Sunday premium.

A specific code of practice for Sunday working in the retail sector exists, employers within this sector should ensure they are familiar with the code.

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