December 12 2003 Employers who pay wage premiums to staff working on a Sunday could be acting in breach of the new religious discrimination laws.

For many, Sunday is recognised as the Christian Sabbath day and for that reason an incentive is usually offered to employees in order to encourage or compensate for work on that day. Sunday premiums could be unlawful if an employer fails to treat others with different religious Sabbath days the same way.

From 2nd December, UK employers will no longer be able to discriminate, directly or indirectly, on the grounds of religious belief or sexual orientation. Sunday pay premiums could certainly be regarded as direct or indirect discrimination.

This argument applies equally to premiums paid to employees who work on Christmas day. If an employer does not pay premiums to other employees with different religious beliefs for days they work which have special significance in their particular faiths, they could be breaking the law.