Sunday trading to be banned in Poland

9th February 2018

The Law restricting Sunday trade, red-letter days and some other days has been signed by the President, and will come in to force on 1 March 2018. The Law defines the rules for shops to trade on Sundays and red-letter days, as well as on 24 December and the Saturday preceding the first day of Easter. The rule, however, is subject to numerous exceptions, e.g. for fuel stations and online shops.

The new regulations state that trading in-stores will be banned on Sundays and red-letter days, but there are a number of exceptions and there will be a transition period up to 2020. The ban includes trading on 24 December and the Saturday before Easter, when trading must finish at 2:00 p.m.

The Law defines a trading establishment as a facility for trading and in particular: shops, stands, stalls, wholesale outlets, coal yards, building material warehouses, department and mail-order stores as well as sales offices – if work in such facilities is performed by employees or hired personnel.

The Law defines the notion of “trade” as the sale of items and the exchange of money for goods, and the notion of “auxiliary trade activities” which includes an employee or hired personnel working in warehouses or carrying out inventory of goods.

The regulations provide 32 exceptions to the trading ban, and excludes establishments such as petrol stations, florists, pharmacies, bakeries, confectioneries and ice-cream parlours. Restaurants are also excluded from the ban, as well as shops where they’re owned and operated by individuals.

Ban on requesting work

Requesting employees to work either in-store or carrying out auxiliary activities on Sundays and red-letter days will also be banned. Employees who finish work on Christmas Eve and Holy Saturday at 2:00 p.m. will be eligible for remuneration for the time not worked due to shorter working time, to be calculated as remuneration for holiday leave.

Exceptions to the rule

The regulations provide 32 exceptions to the trading ban, and excludes establishments such as petrol stations, florists, pharmacies, bakeries, confectioneries and ice-cream parlours. Restaurants are also excluded from the ban, as well as shops where they’re owned and operated by individuals.

The ban on Sunday trade will not apply to the two Sundays before Christmas, the Sunday before Easter and the last Sunday in January, April, June and August.

During the transition period trade will be permitted on the first and last Sunday of each month throughout 2018. The number of “trading” Sundays will then be limited further in 2019, when trade will only be allowed on the last Sunday of every month. Starting from 2020, the transition period will no longer apply, and Sunday trading will be entirely banned, subject to the statutory exceptions.

E-commerce

The Law does not extend to the e-commerce sector. The ban on Sunday trading does not apply to online shops and internet platforms, which were identified as an exception. It can be expected that the regulations will result in “Sunday shopping” being largely transferred to online stores. This will have considerable consequences for a number of sectors, in particular the grocery sector.

High sanctions

If employers are found to be asking employees to work on Sundays or red-letter days they could be fined between PLN 1,000 to PLN 100,000 (£200 – £20,000). The same penalty will apply to situations where work is requested on Christmas Eve or Holy Saturday after 2:00 p.m.

For more information please contact Dr Aleksandra Kunkiel-Kryńska or Paweł Lasota.

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