RICHMOND, Va. – Because of a legislative oversight, a new Virginia law requires businesses to give workers Saturdays or Sundays off if they want it, alarming some businesses with weekend and round-the-clock shifts to cover.
Some retailers are even trying to get a game plan in place for their holiday shopping season, still several months away.
It was a mistake made last legislative session that came out of good intention.
All state Sen. Frederick Quayle wanted to do was repeal the archaic laws banning Sunday work. His measure did that, but it also got rid of a long list of business exemptions attached to the old statute. That list was the same one attached to another obsolete statute, the “day-of-rest” law, which is still on the books.
No one noticed.
“It did blindside everyone,” said Hugh Keogh, president of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
So as of Thursday, the start of the state’s fiscal year, all nonmanagement employees can choose Sunday or Saturday – if that is their day of Sabbath – as their rest day. A worker who “conscientiously believes” that Saturday should be observed as the Sabbath must provide written notice to the employer.
Meanwhile, a group of businesses prepared to go to court today to block enforcement of the law.