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Monday, March 4, 2024

Shopping Sundays in December. The bill was returned to committee

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The Sejm again submitted to the Economy and Development Committee a bill on the ban on trade on Christmas Eve this year, authored by Poland 2050. The provision introduces a trade ban on December 24, while on the two preceding Sundays, i.e. December 10 and 17, shops would be open. The committee adopted an amendment to the bill in the afternoon. The restriction will not apply to, among others, gas stations, pharmacies, flower shops, veterinary points and postal services.

An amendment to the draft amendment on the restriction of trade on Sundays, holidays and certain other days was submitted during the second reading by the MPs of Poland 2050, i.e. the authors of the draft. The amendment assumes that the trade ban on December 24 will not cover 32 types of service and commercial outlets, such as: gas stations, pharmacies, flower shops, veterinary points and postal services. The list of exclusions – as noted by Izabela Bodnar (Poland 2050) – coincides with the exclusions in the current Act on the ban on Sunday trading.

On Monday, the parliamentary committee for economy and development, headed by Ryszard Petru (Poland 2050), rejected the government project, but adopted the solution proposed by Poland 2050.

“Lifting the ban is a priority”

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On Tuesday, Izabela Bodnar, presenting the project, pointed out that the introduction of two shopping Sundays (December 10 and 17) “will significantly improve the organization of Poles’ lives” and will enable them to celebrate Christmas properly. She added that entrepreneurs and the economy also need such a solution.

MPs from the Civic Coalition spoke positively about the Poland 2050 project. However, they stipulated that the amendment would only be a “prelude to trade liberalization” because there was a need to restore trade solutions from before 2018.

– Lifting the ban on Sunday trading will be our priority – announced Michał Jaros (KO). – I will add that the stations have been turned into grocery stores. Please go to one of the stations. (..) The demands we propose will end discrimination against people in establishments that are not covered by the trade ban. It is crucial to assure people who decide to work on Sunday that this decision is not only appreciated, but above all profitable – said the MP from the Civic Coalition.

He added that his club supports the project submitted by Poland 2050 – Third Road. – The topic of the trade ban will be our priority and will be further deepened in the discussion during this term of the Sejm – he said.

In turn, Klaudia Jachira (KO) said that employees themselves should decide whether they want to work on Sunday. Grzegorz Rusiecki (KO), however, noted that the previous government submitted the project too late and “many stores already have schedules with opening hours on Christmas Eve.” – PIS wanted to give trade employees work on Christmas Eve – emphasized another KO representative, Jakub Rutnicki.

Maria Janyska from the Civic Coalition said that the PiS proposal “introduces a time regime, just like on Christmas Eve.” – On Sunday, we don’t know why, what makes this Sunday different from other Sundays on which trade is allowed? – she wondered.

– This absolutely needs to be changed and consumers should be given the opportunity to shop at the same hours as on any other Sunday – argued the MP. She recalled that in the previous term KO proposed solutions that would guarantee two free shopping Sundays a month.

Left: every Christmas Eve should be a day off

Representatives of the Left who took part in the parliamentary discussion supported the Poland 2050 project.

In turn, Adrian Zandberg (Left Wing) said that Christmas Eve should be a day off from work for employees of all sectors. – Today, companies expect employees to take a day off. There is no point in pretending that Christmas Eve is a day off, he said.

Maciej Koneczny from the Left said that “it is important to correct the oversight as a result of which Poles, despite the fact that Christmas Eve falls on Sunday, would have to spend that day at work.” – Christmas Eve, like no other day or holiday, is celebrated by everyone, regardless of religion. It is a family holiday that we celebrate together, often driving halfway across the country to meet our loved ones. That is why it is so important that trade employees can also spend this day in peace with their loved ones and prepare for the evening dinner, he said.

– The PiS government, when processing the law in 2018, forgot about the fact that Sunday may fall on a day such as Christmas Eve. Since yesterday, we have been fixing this error so that Poles have a free Christmas Eve this year and it is covered by the trade ban. However, we recommend that the two preceding Sundays be trading days, said Małgorzata Sroka from PSL-Trzecia Droga.

– Indeed, this is only the beginning of the discussion that awaits us during this term of the Sejm. A discussion about what Sundays should look like, whether all or half of them should be trading Sundays. Entrepreneurs, but also consumers, clearly say in each survey that they expect the rules that existed at the beginning of 2018 to return, she emphasized.

The problem of smaller establishments

In turn, Confederation MPs pointed out that the law on the ban on Sunday trading in its current form favors large retail chains that can “circumvent” the regulations, while small family stores fail. – It’s time to review this act, because soon Polish small family shops will be as rare as white elephants – said the representative of the Confederation, Przemysław Wipler.

As Urszula Rusecka (PiS) noted, both projects processed by the Sejm assumed that this year’s Christmas Eve was to be a day off from work. However, they differed in the number of trading Sundays falling before Christmas. The government assumed that the stores would be open on December 10 this year. until 2.00 p.m., while the one prepared by Polska 2050 – for trading to take place on two Sundays preceding Christmas Eve, i.e. December 10 and 17, during the full range of hours.

Rusecka recalled that the Act on Sunday Trading Restrictions of 2018 was an initiative of NSZZ “Solidarność” and its aim was to create better living conditions for store employees and their families.

– The Sunday trading restriction, not a ban, was introduced by PiS in an evolutionary way. It was a fulfillment of the expectations of trade employees, she emphasized. She pointed out that trade bans exist in many European countries, such as: France or Germany. – The worst-case scenarios that (…) there will be unemployment and budget revenues will decrease have not come true – she mentioned.

The proposed act will enter into force 3 days after its announcement. It was pointed out that such a short vacatio legis period is dictated by the need for the proposed regulations to enter into force as soon as possible.

Trade ban

The Act 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. According to the regulations, trading Sunday falls on December 17 this year. The act restricting trade on Sundays provides for a catalog of 32 exclusions. The trade ban does not include, among others: postal activity, if the revenues from this activity constitute at least 40 percent. revenues from the sale of a given facility. Moreover, it does not apply to confectioneries, ice cream parlors, liquid fuel stations, flower shops, newsagents or cafes. 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.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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