This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition Close all retail on boxing day, retail isn't needed on boxing day!

Christmas is a family time, the one day is not enough time to see two sides of families, retail workers work extremely hard during the Christmas run up and only get the one day. If only everywhere could be closed boxing day! Some things are needed over the festive period, retail isn't one of them.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 12 December 2016

Government responded

This response was given on 22 November 2016

We do not believe it is for central Government to tell businesses how to run their shops or how best to serve their customers. Therefore we are not proposing to ban shops from opening on Boxing Day.

Read the response in full

The Importance of the Retail sector and its employees

The Government recognises the importance of retail to national and local economies. It employs 3 million people and the sector generated £90 billion of Gross Value Added in 2014, 5.6% of the UK economy and 4% higher than in 2013.

The Government also believes that all workers, including those in retail, should have access to employment rights and protections. The Government’s website, GOV.UK, provides detailed and accessible advice on all aspects of employment, including what to do in case of a dispute.

Retail opening hours

There are no controls on shops’ opening hours on Boxing Day, unless it falls on a Sunday. The Sunday Trading Act 1994 limits the opening hours of large stores in England and Wales (i.e. those with a trading area over 280 square metres / 3,000 square feet) to 6 continuous hours (between 10am and 6pm) on a Sunday and not at all on Easter Sunday. The Christmas Day Trading Act 2004 prohibits large shops from opening on Christmas Day whatever day of the week it falls. Similar legislation applies in Northern Ireland.

The arrival of the internet has changed consumers’ shopping habits radically and many have got used to the freedom to buy what they need at any time that suits them. Online businesses and smaller retailers already have the flexibility to respond to this demand. Billions of pounds are spent by millions of shoppers on Boxing Day and it is also a busy day for internet sales. The Government believes that all businesses should be allowed flexibility to meet their customers’ needs and offer consumers choice about when and how they want to shop. This will help drive competition, productivity and the local economy, as well as helping create jobs.

In this internet age, the Government aims to support local high streets to remain at the heart of our communities by being vibrant and viable places where people live, shop, use services and spend their leisure time, both during the day and evening.

Boxing Day, Bank Holidays and Working Hours

The Government believes that the current regulatory situation represents a fair balance between the interests of employers and workers.

Under the relevant legislation (the Working Time Regulations or WTRs), workers do not have a statutory entitlement to time off on Bank Holidays. However employers may allow workers to take time off on those days.

Workers have many protections under the WTR, including
• A statutory annual leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks (subject to a limit of 28 days)
• A maximum working week of 48 hours, normally averaged over 17 weeks (however workers can choose to opt-out of the 48 hour limit)
• Entitlements to rest breaks, and daily and weekly rest periods

Young workers and night workers are entitled to additional protections.

If workers are unhappy with any aspects of their working conditions, they can contact the ACAS helpline for free and confidential advice on 0300 123 1100, or consult the ACAS website at

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

MPs want to hear your views on retail opening on Boxing Day

On Monday 12 December, MPs will debate this petition.
The Petitions Committee wants to hear your views to help inform the debate. In particular, they would like to know:  

· If Parliament banned retail stores from opening on Boxing Day, what effect would that have on you?
· How important are Boxing Day sales to you?
· If you’re a retail worker, do you have any choice about working on Boxing Day? Do you get extra pay for working on Boxing Day?
· If you were an MP, what questions would you ask the Government during the debate in Parliament?
Your comments will be summarised and shared with MPs taking part in the debate.  
Share your views now on the UK Parliament website:

Please note that this forum is pre-moderated. Comments made during the weekend will not appear until Monday, once they have been checked. Comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be published. You can read the discussion rules here:
The deadline for comments is midnight on Tuesday 5 December.

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs. It is independent of Government. You can find out more about the Committee on its website:

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions #BoxingDayDebate