As of this Sunday, Sunday trading laws will be relaxed until September 9 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games under the terms of a Bill which was granted Royal Assent in May.
The new Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act 2012 means that shops with a relevant floor area of more than 280 square metres will not be subject to current Sunday trading restrictions during the Games.
The change will allow large shops and businesses around the Olympic venues to trade for more than the usual six hours, but because the law has had to be varied nationally, the same relaxation will apply across England.
Business Manager Mark Prisk said when the Bill went through: “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.
If any employees already have the right not to work on Sundays, they will not be affected by the Act. However, they can give an opting-in notice expressly agreeing to work on Sundays in general or on one particular Sunday during the suspension period.
The suspension has reopened the debate about Sunday trading hours generally but Mr Prisk insisted that the Olympic relaxation “is a temporary measure and not a test case for a more permanent relaxation of rules in the future.”