On 29 August 2016, a new law was passed amending the rules around when employees are required to work, or to be available to work, on Easter Sunday. This follows moves to allow some shop trading on Easter Sunday.

Under the new law, employees will be entitled to refuse work on Easter Sunday, and will not be required to provide their employer with a reason for their refusal.

Employers must now give their employees written notice of their right to refuse work on Easter Sunday 4 weeks in advance of the relevant Easter Sunday, or if an employee has been working for less than 4 weeks, as soon as is reasonably practicable. The notice must be delivered to the employee in person or by email, or must otherwise comply with any requirement specified in the employee’s employment agreement.

Employees, who decide not to work on Easter Sunday, must give written notice to their employer of their intention no later than 14 days after receiving notice. In the case of an employee whose employment started 14 days or less before the relevant Easter Sunday, they must advise their employer as soon as is reasonably practicable after receiving the notice.

It is important that employers comply with their new obligations as employees will be entitled to raise a personal grievance and seek compensation, if a condition that they work on Easter Sunday is imposed, or if they are not told that they can refuse to work on that day.