Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Twenty-First Report


Annex 4

SUNDAY WORKING (SCOTLAND) BILL

Memorandum by the Scotland Office

INTRODUCTION

43.  The Sunday Working (Scotland) Bill was brought from the House of Commons and introduced in the House of Lords on 19 May 2003. This memorandum sets out the delegated powers conferred by the Bill. It explains in each case the purpose of the power; the reason why it is to be left to delegated legislation; and the nature and justification for the parliamentary procedures that apply.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE OF BILL

44.  The purpose of the Bill is to make provision as to the rights of shop workers and betting workers under the law of Scotland in relation to Sunday working; and for connected purposes. No modern Scottish statutory provisions specifically relating to Sunday working exist. Sunday opening had been so long permitted in Scotland, that a view seems to have been taken that workers in Scotland had no reasonable expectation of avoiding working on Sundays. Therefore, there was no need to legislate to protect them from contractual obligations to that effect.

45.  The Employment Rights Act 1996 ("the 1996 Act") applies to Scotland other than the provisions relating to shop workers and betting workers (section 244(2)) which do not. Shop workers and betting workers in Scotland are not covered by the specific arrangements regarding Sunday working. The general right not to be dismissed unfairly nevertheless applies. However, the qualifying period necessary to claim unfair dismissal is one year and a Scottish worker dismissed for refusing to work on a Sunday must go through the procedure set out in the Act to show his/her dismissal was unfair. The result is that a shop or betting worker in Scotland dismissed for refusing to work on a Sunday may or may not succeed with an unfair dismissal claim. The Bill is designed to harmonise the protections available to shop workers and betting working in England and Wales and Scotland by extending the protections of the 1996 Act to such workers in Scotland.

CLAUSE 2: TRANSITORY, TRANSITIONAL AND SAVING PROVISIONS

Power conferred on:    Secretary of State

Power exercisable by:    Statutory Instrument

Parliamentary procedure:  None

46.  This clause confers a power on the Secretary of State to make, by Order, transitory, transitional or saving provisions that may be required to give full effect to any provision of the Act. The power is intended to allow the Bill to be commenced in the most effective manner to give full effect to the provisions. We have not provided for any parliamentary procedure as it is intended that the power will be used solely for the purpose of commencing the Act in the most effective manner. Clause 2 however does provide that the order will be made by statutory instrument. An undertaking was given by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, during Report stage in the House of Commons, that the power will not be exercised for at least three months after Royal Assent to allow businesses to prepare for the possible effects of the Bill on them.

CLAUSE 3: COMMENCEMENT

Power conferred on:    Secretary of State

Power exercisable by:    Statutory Instrument

Parliamentary procedure:  None

47.  This is a standard commencement power. Clause 3 provides that clauses 1 and 2 of the Bill will come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may appoint by order. In accordance with usual practice no parliamentary procedure has been provided for. Again clause 3 provides that the order will be made by statutory instrument.

May 2003


 
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