Shop workers who refuse to work on Sundays under an extended trading regime face the sack, an industrial lawyer says.

In announcing that Labor now supported trading all weekend, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said this week he would seek to introduce a protection to allow workers to refuse Sunday shifts.

But he said it was uncertain whether it was legally possible to ensure workers were not penalised for doing so.

Employment lawyer Mark Hemery, principal at law firm Talbot Olivier, said yesterday the State Government did not have the constitutional ability to ensure this protection because most shop staff came under a Federal award.

Mr Hemery said the State could legally override Federal awards on trading hours, but was not entitled to dictate Federal award conditions.

He said though it was a contentious issue that could be subject to legal argument, he believed the right to refuse shifts would be considered an employment condition, and any State law most likely struck down.

Mr Hemery also rejected claims from Acting Premier Kim Hames that employers could not force their staff to work on Sundays under Federal laws.

"Under the Federal General Retail Industry Award 2010, the ordinary hours of work for retail staff include 9am to 6pm on Sunday, so the employer's 38 hours per week roster is entitled to include those hours," he said.

The West Australian

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