Warsaw, 12th March 2019
Over 500 small shops owners appeal to the Prime Minister to withdraw from Sunday trade restrictions
On 12th March 2019, a petition was submitted to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland regarding the abolition of the Act on trade restrictions on Sundays and certain holidays, and introducing changes to the Labour Code guaranteeing each employee two free Sundays a month. The petition was signed by Cezary Kaźmierczak, president of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, Jerzy Romański, president of the Polish Federation of Merchants and Producers Associations, as well as over five hundred owners of small family stores.
The petition calls attention to both the express mode of adopting the Act on Sunday trade restrictions and the lack of a reliable assessment of the effects of regulation, and the negative effects of the introduced regulations. Over the first year of the Act being in force, an many as 16 thousand small family stores were closed – stores that the new regulations were supposed to help. Moreover, the social acceptance of the introduced regulations is decreasing. Along with the gradual decrease in the number of commercial Sundays per the month, the percentage of opponents of the Sunday trading ban increases.
“Many times, after we presented hard statistical data clearly showing that the Sunday trade ban is killing small stores, we would hear “argumentation” based on anecdotal evidence,” says Cezary Kaźmierczak, president of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers. “People would talk about brothers-in-law, cousins or neighbours who allegedly run small shops and praise the trade ban. This was supposed to be a counterargument against the statistics that were crushing to the enforced regulations. Therefore, if widely available data are still unconvincing, we have decided to collect signatures for a petition to the Prime Minister, in which we call for this harmful act to be repealed. There are more than five hundred of them, a solid, representative group of owners of the smallest stores, not anonymous individuals. They clearly say that the ban is harmful to their businesses and they ask for it to be abolished.”
The petition also points to a solution which, in the opinion of its signatories, would be much more optimal than restrictions on Sunday trade, i.e. the introduction of a guarantee of two free Sundays each month for all employees working under a contract of employment. This way, the legislator’s original goal could be achieved without excessive interference in the market or in the functioning of entrepreneurs. The advantage of this solution is also that it would be commonplace and would cover all employees, not just those employed in a part of the commercial sector.
“We really see and experience how extremely harmful the Sunday trade ban is for owners of small Polish shops,” claims Jerzy Romański, president of the Polish Federation of Merchants and Producers Associations. “This petition is a cry of despair. The smallest entrepreneurs from the commercial sector appeal to the Prime Minister to abolish the regulations that lead to their bankruptcies. I deeply hope that they will be heard.”