Establishing December 24, i.e. Christmas Eve, as a day off from work is a solution much awaited by those employed in stores, said Paweł Skowron, vice-chairman of the National Trade Section of NSZZ “Solidarność”, in a comment on the changes to the trade ban adopted by the Sejm on Wednesday. As he added, trade unionists wanted the working time on additional trading Sundays to be shortened.
The Sejm passed an amendment to the act on Wednesday according to which, if Sunday falls on December 24, the two subsequent Sundays preceding Christmas Eve will be commercial Sundays. This means that this year, stores will be open on December 10 and 17. A project to change the regulations on this matter was prepared by the MPs of Poland 2050-TD.
Solidarity: we wanted a shortened dimension
According to Skowron, the establishment on December 24 this year a day off from work is a much-awaited solution by trade employees. He added, however, that working two Sundays before the holidays is a very heavy burden, especially for women, who are usually responsible for preparing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Therefore – as he said – “we wanted the working time on additional shopping Sundays to be shortened”.
He recalled that during the first meeting of the parliamentary committee on economy and development (November 27 this year), NSZZ “Solidarność” proposed that trading on December 10 should take place no later than 2.00 p.m., as the government proposed in its project, but until 6 p.m.
– We hoped that KO MPs would agree to this compromise solution, PSL or Poland 2050 – he pointed out. However, as he recalled, the Commission rejected the government’s project in its entirety and adopted the one prepared by Poland 2050-TD, establishing two trading Sundays before holidays.
Additional Sundays without specific hours
The deputy head of the trade section of “Solidarity”, asked whether the trade unionists had received the Poland 2050-TD project for consultation before the committee meeting, said that it had been sent to them a few days earlier, but there was not enough time for consultation.
Skowron noted that the amendment adopted by the Sejm did not specify what hours stores would be open on additional Sundays. He recalled that according to MP Izabela Bodnar from Poland 2050-TD, who presented the project during the first meeting of the committee, the facilities were to be open full-time.
– Usually, in the pre-Christmas period, chains extend working hours even further, which for many employees means working until 23.45 – he said in an interview with PAP.
The trade unionist also said that he was concerned about the announcements of further liberalization of the Act on restricting trade on Sundays, public holidays and certain other days. – This means that the agreement reached many years ago will be nullified, and trade employees will have to work almost every Sunday, despite initial announcements, they will have two weekends off – he said. – I believe that encouraging trade workers to work on Sundays for extra money is just a political mirage – he added.
Trading ban on Sundays
The regulations gradually introducing the Sunday trading ban entered into force on March 1, 2018. From 2020, the trading ban does not apply on seven Sundays a year: the last Sundays of January, April, June and August, as well as on the Sunday before Easter and on two subsequent Sundays. preceding Christmas.
The penalty for breaking the Sunday trading ban is PLN 1,000 to PLN 100,000. PLN fine, and in case of persistent violation of the regulations – penalty of restriction of liberty.