by Monika Maria Cwalińska, University of Bialystok

In Poland, on 1st  March 2018  the act“on limiting trade on Sundays and public holidays and on certain other days” entered into force. According to it’s content, on Sundays and holidays in trade outlets, trading and performing activities related to trade as well as entrusting the employee or employee with work in trade and performing trade related activities is prohibited. In 2019 , in a month there will be only one commercial Sunday, while in 2020, the ban on trade will take effect every Sunday.

This Act defines the list of places and cases in which the prohibition does not apply. These are, for example, liquid fuel stations, florists and pharmacies. Article 7 of this law provides for Sundays in which the ban will not apply. These will be the next two Sundays preceding the first day of Christmas, the Sunday immediately preceding the first day of Easter and the last Sunday in January, April, June and August. The exception in this case will be the Sundays in which the holiday falls, then the ban will apply.

In the event of breaking the ban , the law provides for sanctions. The penalty is a fine of 1000 to 100000 PLN (240  to 24100 euros). The same penalty is imposed on anyone who, contrary to the prohibition of trade and performing trade-related activities after 14.00 on 24 December or on the Saturday immediately preceding the first day of Easter, entrusts work in trade or performing activities related to trade to an employee or employee.

The introduction of a trade ban on Sunday arouses great emotions – both among supporters and opponents of this idea. Proponents of his introduction claim that work on Sunday deprives those who must be able to take part in many cultural, social and entertainment events. On weekdays, when they are free, they are gone. The closure of most retail outlets on Sunday will give new opportunities for the cultural area. – Consumers from shopping centers will transfer their interests and needs to the use of eating places, parks, and urban spaces, thus reviving the space of the center. They also believe that there will be no negative economic consequences of introducing restrictions on trade on Sunday. Consumers will make purchases on Friday and on Saturday in large-area stores.

Opponents, on the other hand, believe that in the case of a trade ban on two Sundays in the month, the turnover of stores and service outlets in shopping centers will fall by 4.6 billion PLN (1.1 billion euro) over the year, which will result in a reduction in employment by 19-20 thousand. people. The clothing retailers will lose the most – they will see a drop in turnover of 1.3 billion PLN  (314 million euros) a year and will reduce employment by 6-7 thousand. people. The state’s treasury will also suffer from this, as tax revenues will fall by 890 million PLN (250 million euros), most of which will fall on unpaid VAT.Moves to restrict Sunday shopping began also in the Slovenian parliament in October 2017. This has speeded up negotiations on the subject between the Trade Union of Workers in the Trade Sector (ZSSS-SDTS) and the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS), neither of whom want a complete closure of shops.
 As a result the parliament voted against the amendment to the Trade Act on 19 December 2017, on the grounds that the collective agreement satisfactorily regulates the opening hours of shops on Sundays and national holidays.This law has come into force recently in Poland, and we only need  to wait some period of time to find out later what economic and social consequences of the act will come.