Parliamentary Members’ Proposal Amending the Trade Restrictions on Sundays, Public Holidays, and Certain Other Days Act and the Labor Code Act

dr hab. Krzysztof Koźmiński

On March 21, 2024, the Secretariat of the Marshal of the Sejm received a parliamentary members’ Proposal Amending the Trade Restrictions on Sundays, Public Holidays, and Certain Other Days Act and the Labor Code Act, proposed by the deputies from Poland 2050-Third Way (hereinafter referred to as the “Draft Amendment”). The draft is to change the law concerning trade and activities related to trade on Sundays. Currently, the matter is regulated by the Trade Restrictions on Sundays, Public Holidays, and Certain Other Days Act of January 10, 2018 (consolidated text: Journal of Laws of 2024, item 449) (hereinafter referred to as the “Trade Restriction Act”).

The draft amendment proposes an amendment to Article 7 of the Trade Restriction Act, introducing an exemption from the Sunday trading ban on every first and third Sunday of the month. The draft amendment also introduces such an exemption in case of the first three Sundays of December, unless one of them falls on December 24, i.e. Christmas Eve. The trade ban is also not to apply on the last Sunday before Easter (i.e. on Palm Sunday), and if it is the first or third Sunday in a month, the ban is also not to apply on the Sunday preceding the first or third Sunday of that month.

The draft amendment includes adding Article 7a Section 1 to the Trade Restriction Act, according to which an employee working on Sunday, except for work in business establishments, places, and periods referred to in Article 6 (hereinafter referred to as the “Employee”), shall be entitled to double remuneration for that day.

Additionally, the employer is obliged to provide the employee with another day off from work within 6 calendar days preceding or following such a Sunday. According to Article 7a Section 2 of the Draft Amendment, if the Employee can’t take a day off during the mentioned period, the employer will be obliged to provide the Employee with a day off until the end of the settlement period. Another obligation for the employer, i.e. the obligation to provide the Employee with at least two Sundays off work in a calendar month, is introduced in Article 7a Section 3.

The draft amendment also adds a new § 5  to Article 15111 of the Labor Code, which excludes the application of the provisions regarding rights related to work on Sundays from Article 15111 §1-4 of the Labor Code to Employees referred to in Article 7a of the Trade Restriction Act.

Justification of the draft amendment

The members of the parliament who presented the draft amendment believe that the proposed changes to the regulations are a compromise. What they indicated in the justification for the draft was that the entry into force of the Trade Restriction Act did not meet some of the objectives for which it was adopted.

Firstly, the MPs underlined thatthe introduction of the Trade Restriction Act did not meet its intended goal of supporting small, local stores in competing with large retail chains, which in their opinion, is indicated by the flourishing of the latter (including especially the so-called discount chains) while reducing the total number of retail stores, which was largely caused because of the reduction in the number of small local stores.

Secondly, the drafters indicate that Poles’ opinions on the Sunday trading ban are divided. Survey research from February this year showed that 46% of respondents support lifting the ban, while 44 % are for maintaining it.

In consequence, the authors of the draft think that consent to the partial opening of stores on Sundays, together with higher wages for employees, will allow reconciling interests of customers who want to shop and employees. Another argument is that the possibility of working on Sundays is also used by people who, for various reasons, such as studying cannot work on other days of the week, e.g. students who want to cover the costs of living in an academic city at least partially.

The attitude of „practitioners” towards the draft amendment

The Polish Chamber of Trade (PCT) has a negative opinion about the draft amendment. Its president, Maciej Ptaszyński, claims that micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises generally accept the current law as it is favorable to them. The president of PCT indicates that these companies spent hundreds of millions of PLN on marketing campaigns that were intended to encourage consumers to move their Sunday shopping to Fridays and Saturdays. Mr. Ptaszyński also stated that the current catalog of exemptions from the Sunday trading ban, included in the Trade Restriction Act, is sufficient because it for example allows owners of small shops to personally conduct sales on Sundays.

The Alternative Union trade union (Związkowa Alternatywa) is of a different opinion. Its chairperson, Piotr Szumlewicz, claims that the current ban on Sunday trading is a complete fiction, as approximately 60% of stores are open on Sundays. In his opinion, the draft amendment is a step in the right direction, but he accuses it of several inconsistencies. For example, Szumlewicz stated that the draft amendment ignores industries other than trade, for which analogous solutions should be applied.

Jabłoński Koźmiński & Partners team will constantly monitor and inform about significant changes concerning the Trade Restriction Act. Shall you have any questions, feel free to contact our law firm.


dr hab. Krzysztof Koźmiński
Attorney-at-law, Managing partner+48 602 359
Bartłomiej Maś
Paralegal+48 22 416 60

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