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Work on sunday

04.04.2019

Working on Sunday is becoming more and more common. In some industries, entrepreneurs have to follow this trend to stay competitive in the marketplace.

The Netherlands is also moving step by step towards a 24/7 concept. Take retail. About ten years ago, there was a lot of controversy about having one trading Sunday a month. Now the consumer can shop every Sunday in an increasing number of municipalities. Here we will discuss the rules for working on Sundays.

1. In which sectors are they working on Sundays?

In a large number of industries, Sunday work is the rule rather than the exception. This has long been the case in the healthcare industry, in the police and fire department, in the hotel and restaurant sector, theaters, transport companies and industrial companies operating continuously.

In recent years, the supermarket and retail sector have also shifted en masse to Sunday hours. This is less true for service providers. Some travel agencies, for example, open their doors on shopping Sunday, but not all.

2. Can an employee be obliged to work on Sunday?

If you are an entrepreneur in one of the aforementioned sectors, you will hardly be able to avoid having your staff work on Sunday. However, there are certain rules. Such as the law on working hours.

According to the Working Hours Act, the basic rule is that employees should not work on Sundays in principle, unless it is necessary to do their job. This is necessary, for example, for healthcare, police and fire departments. But also for the hotel and restaurant sector or for companies with production processes that cannot be stopped.

Is Sunday work necessary for your business? Then you must agree on this with your employees. You can't just oblige them to work on Sundays. Often such agreements are already laid down in a binding collective agreement. If not, try to reach a collective agreement through the enterprise council (OR) or trade unions (PVT). If this is not possible, then you will have to enter into separate agreements with each employee.

3. Does the employee have the right to free Sundays?

If an employee agrees to work on Sundays, this does not mean that you can assign them weekdays every Sunday. The employee is entitled to 13 free Sundays for 52 consecutive weeks (that is, per year).

You can only deviate from this rule if fewer free Sundays per year are agreed in the collective agreement. Moreover, the employee must indicate that he or she agrees with this collective agreement. If he has not done so, he reserves the right to thirteen free Sundays.

4. Is the employee eligible for the Sunday work allowance?

There are no legal requirements for additional wages or allowances for work on Sundays. Therefore, if the collective agreement does not stipulate remuneration for work on Sundays, you can decide for yourself. Most collective bargaining agreements have a pay-as-you-go plan for a fixed percentage of regular wages. For example, supermarkets provide a Sunday surcharge of 100 percent. Fashion and sports retailers also receive a 100 percent bonus, but the new collective bargaining agreement in 2015 reduced this amount to 50 percent. Hospitality workers have to dispense with a collective bargaining agreement, which was canceled in 2012 because many employers in the sector consider Sunday to be a normal working day. Perhaps this trend will continue, and the Sunday premium will eventually disappear in all directions.

5. Are there separate rules for youth?

If you are with young people, for example, during holidays or throughout the year for several hours a week and want them to work on Sunday, you need to take into account the special rules regarding working hours for young people:
• Young people aged 13 and 14 cannot work at all on Sundays.
• Young people aged 15, 16 and 17 can work on Sundays only if necessary due to the nature of the work and working conditions. You must indicate this need in the employment contract, you must also agree on this through the enterprise council (OR) or trade unions (PVT) or with the employee himself.
• For 15-year-olds, the following also apply:
1) They require parental or guardian permission;
2) They must be free at least five Sundays out of sixteen;
3) They must be free on Saturday until the Sunday they work.

• 16 and 17 year olds must have at least thirteen free Sundays per year. Less is permitted only if it is provided for by the collective agreement (the same rule applies to adult employees).

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