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Sunday Trading Bill receives Royal Assent for Olympic Games

01 May 2012 13:52

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Bill to suspend Sunday Trading Laws during the Olympic and Paralympic Games received Royal Assent today after it passed the remaining stages in the House of Commons last night.

The Bill, which was announced in the Budget 2012, will mean that shops with a relevant floor area of more than 280 square metres will not be subject to current Sunday trading restrictions during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The suspension will only be for eight Sundays, from 22 July to the end of the Paralympic Games on 9 September. After this period the current Sunday trading restrictions will apply again.

Given the short timetable before the start of the Games, the Government tabled an amendment to temporarily reduce the usual period of notice that employees must give their employers if they wish to opt out of Sunday working, from three months to as little as two months.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games are almost upon us and you can sense the excitement building. This will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase, not just London, but the whole of the country to the rest of the world and provide a boost for the economy, sales and employment.

“Retail workers will keep all their legal protections, such as the right to opt-out of Sunday working, but many will want to take the opportunity to work extra or different hours. I want employers to work with their staff so that we can all make the most of the Olympics.

“I want to make it clear that this is a temporary measure and not a test case for a permanent relaxation of the rules in the future.”

The Government will also publish guidance on the implications of the Bill for employers and employees on the BIS website later today.

Notes to Editors

1. The suspension will apply in England and Wales. Scotland does not have Sunday trading legislation. Northern Ireland has its own Sunday trading legislation and it is not proposed to alter that legislation.

2. The guidance for employees is available on Directgov and further guidance for employers can be found here.

3. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.

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