Sunday trading ban - what are the penalties for violating it?


From 2018, there is a ban on trading on Sundays. There are exceptions to it, but it happens that shops are opened on Sundays by entrepreneurs who are not authorized to do so. Who can check them? What are the penalties facing them?

Ban on trading on Sundays

The ban on Sunday trading has been in force since March 2018. It is being introduced gradually, so in 2019 there will be even less Sunday trading than in 2018. There are a number of exceptions to the ban, which should be read before deciding whether to open a branch in sunday.

Unannounced inspections

Controls of compliance with the Sunday trading ban are carried out by the National Labor Inspectorate. Inspectors may carry out checks:

  • without notice,

  • at any time of the day or night.

Employees, customers and competitors can notify PIP about the opening of the store on Sunday.

Only during the first three months of the Sunday trade ban, almost 2.6 thousand people came to the National Labor Inspectorate during non-trade hours on Sundays. notifications of violation of the prohibition. On the day of notification, the inspectors verified almost half of the notifications, of which a quarter turned out to be justified.

Penalties for violating the Sunday trading ban

There are penalties for violating the Sunday trading ban.

The Labor Inspector may impose a fine in the amount of PLN 1,000 to PLN 2,000.

The fine for recidivism may be higher - even PLN 5,000. This applies to people who meet all of the following conditions:

  • have already been fined at least twice for violating the Sunday trading ban,

  • in the two years since the last penalty, they have again committed the offense of breaching the Sunday trading ban.

Much higher penalties are threatened if the Labor Inspector does not decide to impose a fine, but instead sends a motion for punishment to the court. The court may impose a fine from PLN 1,000 to even PLN 100,000.

When is trading on Sundays a crime?

In some cases, violation of the ban may be classified not as an offense (for which there is a mandate from the Labor Inspector or a fine from a court), but as an offense for which a fine or restriction of liberty is possible. A new crime was introduced into the Penal Code (Article 218a of the Criminal Code). They are committed by those who persistently or maliciously, against the prohibition of trading and carrying out activities related to trade on Sundays and public holidays (as well as after 2 p.m. on December 24 or on the Saturday immediately preceding the first day of Easter), entrusts work in trade or activities related to trade with the employee or employee.

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What can not be done on Sundays without trading?

The ban on trading on Sundays applies to trading (i.e. selling goods) and performing activities related to trading.

According to the National Labor Inspectorate, activities related to trade are prohibited on Sundays without trade:

  • acceptance and execution of orders,

  • display of goods,

  • deficiency, removal of defective or expired products,

  • packing,

  • execution of orders (e.g. when the actual release of the goods takes place later than the transaction),

  • all activities related to the preparation of a commercial facility for trade (e.g. preparation of cash registers, distribution of cash, employee briefings),

  • activities related to the end of trading on a given day and closing the outlet (e.g.recalculation and settlement of revenues, security checks, alarm activation),

  • storage of goods,

  • inventory of goods.

What activities can be performed on Sundays without trading?

The ban on Sunday trading applies only to trading or activities directly related to trading. So you can perform activities on Sundays that are not directly related to trading.

According to PIP, activities directly related to trade cannot include, for example:

  • facility security,

  • cleaning the facility by the cleaning team,

  • maintenance and service work related to the operation of the equipment.

However, according to PIP, a circumvention of the act should be considered entrusting the above-mentioned activities as additional duties to employees or employees who perform trade or other activities related to trade from Monday to Saturday.

Entrepreneurs trading in person

Entrepreneurs who are natural persons who do not use the work of employees or employees on Sundays and holidays and who conduct trade only in person on these days will be excluded from the ban on Sunday trading. Their ban on trading on Sundays does not apply. There were therefore doubts as to whether this exemption covers only those cases where the shop owner does not employ any employees at all, or perhaps also situations where, as a rule, the trade is carried out by employees or employees, but only on days prohibited by the entrepreneur .

The position published by the National Labor Inspectorate stated that with the exception of Art. 6 sec. 1 point 27 of the Act covers entrepreneurs who are a natural person, who do not use the work of employees or employees on Sundays and holidays, and who only trade personally on those days. On other days - not covered by the trade ban - trade may be carried out by employees or employees.

In addition, an entrepreneur who is a natural person who conducts trade in person on his own behalf and for his own account, who is not prohibited from trading on Sundays, may use the help of family members on Sundays and public holidays. However, it is about using occasional and free help. However, these persons cannot be employees or employed by such an entrepreneur and perform paid work on other days of the week.

Online stores and the ban on trading on Sundays

The ban on trading on Sundays does not apply to online stores. According to PIP, sales in online stores should consist in making transactions via the Internet, which assumes that the sales process takes place not directly in contact with the customer, but remotely. Thus, a circumvention of the regulations should be considered the case where the customer watches the goods in a traditional store and makes the purchase via the Internet (e.g. the so-called showroom and, as a result, simulating online sales).

Direct sales at the headquarters of the online store do not benefit from the exclusion. It is about trade carried out at the headquarters of an online store or warehouse, but directly, without the use of electronic communication or applications. It is not a sale in an online store consisting in making a transaction via electronic means of communication (Internet).