More shopping on Sundays: Extending Sunday work at seaside resorts, health resorts, and tourist centres

31 Oct 2018

The modification to Article 14, §2 of the Labour Act was published today in the Belgian State Gazette. After years of debate, the authorisation of Sunday work was finally extended to tourist resorts and health resorts, as well as tourist centres. Henceforth, staff cover can be provided in those places every Sunday.

It is in principle forbidden in Belgium to employ workers on Sundays. Many exceptions are provided for, especially for retail stores and hairdressing salons in tourist centres, seaside resorts or health resorts.

Until now, these workers could only be employed on Sundays:

  • From 1 May until 30 September;
  • During Christmas and Easter holidays;
  • And during maximum 13 Sundays per calendar year outside these two “holiday periods”.

In a judgment of 10 November 2014, the Belgian Supreme Court confirmed that this exception had to be applied at the employer’s level. It was therefore not possible to establish a system of rotation to occupy workers every Sunday. This limit has been abolished.

The rule now provides that an employer established in a seaside resort, a health resort or a tourist centre, may occupy each worker individually for up to 39 Sundays per year. Thus, one can provide staff cover every Sunday by alternating one’s workers.

This modification responds to the concerns of merchants in these tourist centres.

> Make use of extended Sunday work

Retail shops and hairdressing salons in seaside and health resorts as well as in tourist centres can henceforth provide staff cover every Sunday by rotating their workers.