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Sunday trading ban to be abolished. There is a strong political declaration

COMMERCESunday trading ban to be abolished. There is a strong political declaration

Poles are becoming increasingly divided over the ban on Sunday trading. Not long ago, almost 60% of the population was against the ban, but currently this number has decreased to below 50%. Businesses also have varying opinions of the ban. Shopping centers and malls are in favor of lifting the ban, but grocery store networks are far from reaching a consensus. Information obtained by the news outlet MondayNews suggests that the Citizens’ Coalition will rescind the ban. Furthermore, the coalition promises to ensure workers have at least two free weekends per month and receive double pay for working on days off. However, it remains unclear when the new regulations could take effect. According to the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, any changes in this area must be preceded by a series of actions, which the experts say may take some time to implement.

The acceptance for the ban is growing

The Sunday trading ban has been one of the most controversial issues in recent years. The law has been in effect since the beginning of March 2018, when restrictions were gradually introduced, initially affecting only some Sundays of each month. Now, most stores can only open a few Sundays a year, with this only being permissible for smaller stores if the owner is behind the counter.

According to the most recent survey conducted by UCE RESEARCH and Offerista Group, 46% of Poles are in favor of reintroducing Sunday trading, while 44% are against. Approximately 10% of respondents had no opinion on this matter. The percentage of respondents expressing support for lifting the ban has decreased.

People who are in favor of reinstating Sunday trading throughout the year are more likely to be men, people aged 18 to 24 years old, with a net monthly income of PLN 7,000-8,999, with higher education and residents of cities with over 500 thousand inhabitants.

Sunday trading should return

During the last election, the current ruling coalition promised that they would revert to the state before March 1, 2018, and discontinue the trading ban. Various political parties proposed different versions of this solution. The Citizens’ Coalition confirmed in an interview with the news agency MondayNews that they would repeal the Sunday trading ban. In addition, they announced that every employee will be guaranteed two free weekends per month and double wages for work on holidays.

The changes will likely have a positive impact on consumers and approximately 50% of Poles who support rescinding the ban. According to Robert Biegaj, an expert in the retail market from the Offerista Group, this could lead to a small revolution in the market. However, how retailers will react to these news changes remains to be seen.

The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy states that any potential changes regarding the amendment of the law on Sunday and holiday trading restrictions, and on certain other days, should be preceded by a broad discussion, including with social partners such as representatives of representative organizations of employers and trade unions in the Social Dialogue Council. Moreover, an evaluation of the possible impact of potentially implementing new solutions on the public finance sector, the competitiveness of the economy and entrepreneurship, including running businesses, and on the labor market, the situation of employees and their families, will be necessary.

The industry opinion is not unanimous

Businesses themselves are divided on the issue of liberalizing Sunday trading. Shopping centers unanimously support this.

On the other hand, returning to the results of the latest survey, it is nonetheless important to highlight that the authors of the study asked Poles about trading on all Sundays, not, for example, just one Sunday per month. According to experts, if a compromise was proposed, the results might differ, with approximately a 5% difference in favor of supporters. Renata Juszkiewicz, President of the Polish Organization of Trade and Distribution (POHiD) adds that “the question about respondents’ attitudes towards trading on all Sundays of the month left no freedom for respondents to express other preferences. It could provoke negative responses among people in favor of one or two trading Sundays a month”.

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