Sunday: a day of rest?

Jamie Harvey

Jamie Harvey


Sunday trading has always been contentious.

Since the Sunday Trading Act 1994, shops bigger than 280m2 (3,000ft2) – typically the size of a convenience store or independent shop – have been limited to 6 hours of trading on a Sunday (between 10am – 6pm).

Over here at Rotaready, we don’t run any shops (!) but many of our clients do. Before looking at what we can do to help, let’s take a look at the main arguments for and against relaxing the rules.

You may have seen in the press in the last few weeks that the Government put forward plans to relax these laws. The idea was to allow local councils to decide the terms for their areas. A vote was planned for this coming week. However, facing defeat, it’s been dropped for the time being. It’ll come up again sooner or later though, as it’ll be included in the Enterprise Bill, which is expected to land in the coming months.

In favour:

  • Restricting opening hours is out of touch with the 24/7 economy in which we live
  • Shops need longer opening hours to compete with 24/7 online shopping (Sunday is often the most active day)
  • Limiting shopping on a Sunday doesn’t make sense as most people aren’t working and want to shop
  • Longer opening hours will add jobs, boost revenue and rejuvenate the high street


  • Sunday should remain a day different to the rest, where time with families is protected
  • It’s another example of creeping commercialism in the UK
  • Economic benefits aren’t guaranteed – revenue will simply be shifted from other days of the week
  • Sunday is spiritual for many and should be kept special

Sunday shopping restrictions vary pretty widely from country to country. For example, there are no trading limitations in Scotland (although there is a protected premium wage), Germany is particularly strict (e.g. allowing only 10 Sunday shopping days per year in Berlin), France has recently partly relaxed their rules, and New York has no such restrictions.

So how would this affect employee scheduling?

Rotaready already improves a vast number of areas within workforce management, some of which will become even more important if the laws are relaxed.

  1. Fairness

Rota fairness goes a lot further than evenly distributing a number of shifts. Sharing out undesirable working times is essential for keeping up staff morale. Whether you already have set patterns dictating which weekends you do and don’t work, or would prefer a general “any 2 weekends off per month” approach, we’ve got it covered. Happier staff, a more productive workforce.

  1. Special pay rates

With Rotaready you’re only ever a few clicks away from generating accurate timesheets for payroll. Applying special pay rates for Sunday working is dead easy – whether it’s a multiple of a standard rate or a flat amount. Less paper, a more efficient head office.

  1. Larger workforces

You may hire more staff to cover longer opening hours. Managing a larger workforce is a bigger headache – from handling staff availability, creating rotas, managing day-to-day, capturing attendance and reporting. So if you aren’t using already Rotaready, we’re well equipped to help. Employee scheduling, redefined.

What are your thoughts on extending Sunday opening hours? We’d love to hear what you think.

Share this post

Rights, regulation and risk

The Working Time Directive (WTD) is an EU regulation governing workers’ rights. Ok, not the most interesting start to a blog post, but bear with me. This stuff is important. Last month the European Court of Justice rule...

Read more

Like what you've read? Check us out!