Labor law. End the Sunday idle in Alsace

The practice has spread over the past ten years: despite the more protective local law on Sunday rest, some food shops have begun to open on Sundays. Local authorities have set limits: the opening authorized for food stores of less than 400 m² in Bas-Rhin (200 m² in Haut-Rhin), extended to 1,000 m² for Strasbourg ( decision taken by the city).

But some brands continue to decline… And two of them have asked the courts to cancel these upper limits. After a five-year procedure, the Council of State then the administrative court of appeal of Nancy answered them not in May and July: the limits of the face must be respected.

Illegal opening

The Alsatian unions CFDT, CFTC, CGT, FO and CFE-CGC are happy… but note that “today 15 shops in Bas-Rhin continue to open on Sundays even though they are on on the authorized face, completely illegal,” said Laurent Walter of the CFTC, promising to send letters to the lawyers to the concerned stores.

Regarding the unusual opening of non-food businesses, the inter-union also noted a bad evolution. “During Advent there was a tolerance, but very quick requests from traders developed to compensate the losses due to Covid, of the yellow vests… Requests heard in the Bas-Rhin prefecture…” on July 2021 and in January, explained Jacky Wagner of the CGT.

The unions took legal action, and the administrative court ruled in their favor in April: the legal conditions for these derogations were not met. “Since then, the prefecture has not issued an order of this kind. We hope he understands because we will continue to move forward,” warned union representatives.

Too much trivialization

They have something else to worry about: the mayors have started to issue orders of the same kind, even though “they have no right! The latest was in Roppenheim. We also wrote a letter there…” “Some are in the process of reducing everything, nibble everything…”, lamented Sabine Gies of CFDT, who also regretted that DREETS (the labor inspectorate), “there is no way” to enforce Sunday work limits.

“With what we are saying now about the energy problems, why really want to open on Sundays to sell the things we sell during the week…”, wondered Jacky Wagner of the CGT.

“Our message is also to tell customers to think before going out to shop on Sundays, added Sabine Gies of CFDT. It is a question of the environment, of energy consumption, but also a question of society: it is enough for a person to work on Sunday so that it destroys a whole family, so that it harms the game, social life … “And a question of the law: what does the law mean when it requires and long time and effort to implement it?

If you work on Sunday in a business, you must…

Regardless of the type of business (food or not), employees in Alsace-Moselle have the right to be paid for working on Sundays and public holidays. These compensations, set in a 2014 agreement, are:

➤ “wages of at least equal to 150% of the basic hourly rate” (200% for Advent Sunday) AND “rest for the corresponding period of time”.

➤ “additional travel or parking expenses paid by employees during the period [de ces journées] to be borne by the employer, in the receipts”.

The agreement states that “working on Sundays and public holidays is done on a voluntary basis. The employee can express his refusal at any time. “But many employers do not respect these obligations, and” employees are not well informed” of their specific rights on Sunday, says Eric Borzyc of FO. “Employees are being bitten by compensation,” said CGT’s Jacky Wagner. “We help those who want to get them back, but many don’t dare ask for them for fear of reprisal…”

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