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letter explaining opt-out rights for betting workers
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Letter explaining opt-out rights for betting workers

Letter explaining opt-out rights for betting workers


There are specific statutory provisions in place relating to betting workers and Sunday trading. This letter may be used for new betting workers and should be given to them within two months of starting work as a betting worker.


Statutory rights statement

You are required by law to give those betting workers who are, or may be, required under their contracts of employment to work on Sundays (but not those employed solely to work on Sundays) an explanatory written statement setting out their right to opt out of working Sundays and not to be dismissed or subjected to any other detriment as a result of doing so. This is what our Letter Explaining Opt-out Rights for Betting Workers provides. The statement must be given within two months of the date when the employee started work as a betting worker. You don’t need to give the statement to any betting workers who don’t work on Sundays. The relevant provisions apply to betting workers, defined as someone who, under their contract of employment, is or may be required to do betting work. Betting work includes work in a licensed betting office and work for a bookmaker at a track.


Opting out and back in to Sunday work

Betting workers who are or may be required to work on Sundays (but not those employed solely to work on Sundays) are able to give a written “opting-out” notice, signed and dated by them, registering their objection to working on Sundays. An opting-out notice takes effect three months after it has been given and it then continues in force for as long as the employee remains continuously employed as a betting worker. However, if you’ve failed to give the betting worker a statement explaining their statutory opt-out rights, their opting-out notice will take effect after only one month, rather than three, which obviously wouldn’t then give you long to find alternative Sunday staff cover. So you should give our letter to all new betting workers who are contracted to work on days that include Sundays. Once opted out, a betting worker can still opt back in to Sunday working at a later date by giving a written “opting-in” notice, again signed and dated by them, in which they expressly state they wish to work on Sundays or that they have no objection to being required to do so, and then they subsequently expressly agree with you to do betting work on Sundays or on a particular Sunday.


Protection against dismissal and detriment

An opted-out betting worker is entitled not to be dismissed or to be subjected to any other detriment by reason of their refusal to work Sundays. A dismissal of a betting worker for asserting their statutory rights is also automatically unfair and does not require any minimum period of qualifying employment. However, it’s not a detriment to refuse to pay the employee in respect of Sundays which they don’t work, nor is it a detriment to pay those employees who do work Sundays a higher rate of pay or to offer them enhanced benefits. Likewise, where a betting worker works a fixed number of weekly hours including Sundays and the effect of opting out means their total hours of work per week is reduced, you’re under no obligation to increase their hours on weekdays to compensate them for that reduction.

Future reform

The Enterprise Act 2016 contains significant provisions to strengthen the rights of shop workers relating to Sunday working but these changes don’t affect betting workers.

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