Sunday sale ban - rules and exceptions

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From March 2018, sales on Sundays are prohibited. It is not absolute and has exceptions. They concern, inter alia, certain categories of shops (e.g. online shops), and it does not cover all Sundays. In addition, the ban on selling on Sundays is being introduced gradually, so in 2019 there will be less trade Sundays than in 2018. We explain who the ban does not apply to and on which Sundays the store may be open. We also present a complete list of exceptions to the Sunday trading ban.

Ban on selling on Sundays - what is prohibited?

On Sundays and public holidays, the following are prohibited in commercial establishments:

  • trade and activities related to trade,
  • entrusting an employee or an employee (and therefore also under civil law contracts) to perform work in trade and perform activities related to trade.

So you cannot not only sell (trade) goods, but also perform activities related to trade. This is, for example, about the prohibition of activities related to the storage of goods or inventory.

The ban on selling on Sundays has a number of exceptions. We discuss them in detail later. They concern:

  • some Sundays where the ban is not in force at all;
  • outlets which the ban does not apply to at all (e.g. online stores).

The rules for trading on Sunday can be found in the Act of January 10, 2018 on the restriction of trading on Sundays and holidays and some other days.

Which Sundays are not banned?

The ban on selling on Sundays does not apply to the so-called trade Sundays:

  • the next two Sundays preceding the first day of Christmas;
  • the Sunday immediately preceding the first day of Easter;
  • the last Sunday falling in: January, April, June, August.

If, however, on one of these Sundays there is a holiday (defined in the Act on public holidays), the ban on trading will apply.

Since it was not decided to ban trading on all Sundays immediately, additional exceptions were introduced in addition to the above exceptions - additional trading Sundays, but only in 2018 and 2019. We write about them later.

Christmas Eve and Holy Saturday after 2 p.m.

On Christmas Eve (December 24) and Holy Saturday it is forbidden after 14.00 in commercial establishments:

  • trade and activities related to trade,
  • entrusting an employee or employee with work in trade and activities related to trade.

This also applies when Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday. There is no exception then, that on the Sunday before Christmas, trading is permitted throughout the day. You have to close the shop at 2 p.m.

The ban does not apply to establishments from the "list of exceptions" - where trading is also allowed on Sundays (the full list of such establishments is provided below).

Moreover, the employee retains the right to remuneration for unworked time in connection with the reduction in his working time due to the performance of work on December 24 or on the Saturday immediately preceding the first day of Easter, until 14.00. This remuneration is calculated by applying the rules applicable to determining remuneration for the period of annual leave.

2018 rules

As the ban on Sunday sales is phased in gradually, there are additional exceptions in 2018 when stores may be open.

The ban on selling on Sundays in 2018 does not apply in:

  • every first Sunday of a calendar month which is not also a holiday;
  • every last Sunday of a calendar month which is not also a holiday.

If there is a holiday on the first or last Sunday of the month - the trade ban applies.

Apart from the first and last Sunday of the month, the ban on sales on Sundays in 2018 does not apply to the so-called trade Sundays (two Sundays before Christmas, the Sunday before Easter) about which we wrote earlier.

2019 rules

In 2019, there will be even fewer Sundays when stores may be open than in 2018.

The ban on selling on Sundays in 2019 does not apply on every last Sunday of a calendar month, which is not also a holiday.

Apart from the last Sunday of the month, the ban on sales on Sundays in 2018 does not apply to the so-called trade Sundays (two Sundays before Christmas, the Sunday before Easter) about which we wrote earlier.

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Ban on Sunday sales from 2020.

From 2020, there will be much less Sundays with allowed trade. There is no longer an exception for all the first or last Sundays of the month. There is only a general exception for selected "commercial" Sundays, i.e. the prohibition of selling on Sundays in 2020 does not apply to:

  • the next two Sundays preceding the first day of Christmas;
  • the Sunday immediately preceding the first day of Easter;
  • the last Sunday in: January, April, June, August.

Commercial establishments not subject to the prohibition

There is also a long list of retail outlets that are not banned on Sundays at all. The ban on trading on Sundays does not apply to:

  • commercial establishments where trade is carried out by an entrepreneur who is a natural person only in person, on his own behalf and for his own account;
  • online stores and online platforms;
  • bakeries, confectioneries and ice cream parlors, the main activity of which is trade in bakery and confectionery products;
  • commercial establishments where the predominant activity is catering;
  • gas stations ("liquid fuel stations");
  • florists ("commercial establishments whose main activity is the flower trade");
  • trade in flowers, bouquets, wreaths and candles at cemeteries;
  • pharmacies and pharmacy points;
  • animal health care facilities;
  • trading in goods from vending machines;
  • souvenir or devotional items shops ("commercial establishments where the main activity is the trade in souvenirs or devotional items");
  • outlets with newspapers, tickets, tobacco and game coupons (“commercial outlets where the main activity is the trade in newspapers, public transport tickets, tobacco products, coupons for games of chance and betting”);
  • postal points of contact (within the meaning of the Act of 23 November 2012 - Postal Law);
  • commercial outlets in critical infrastructure facilities referred to in the Act of April 26, 2007 on crisis management;
  • commercial outlets in hotel establishments;
  • commercial establishments in establishments operating in the field of culture, sport, education, tourism and leisure;
  • establishments at festivals, fairs, in market halls ("commercial establishments organized exclusively for the needs of festivals, fairs and other occasional, thematic or sports and recreational events, also when they are located in market halls")
  • units in hospitals (“commercial units in health care units of medical entities and other health care units intended for people whose health condition requires 24-hour or all-day health services");
  • offices at railway stations - in the scope related to direct passenger service (commercial establishments at stations within the meaning of the Act of 16 December 2010 on public collective transport, in ports and harbors within the meaning of the Act of 20 December 1996 on ports and harbors sea ​​and in ports and harbors within the meaning of the Act of 21 December 2000 on inland navigation - to the extent related to direct passenger service ");
  • fish first-sale centers ("fish first-sale centers, for the sale of side-by-side fish, on fish farms, commercial outlets for the receipt and trade of fishery and aquaculture products");
  • at airports (in commercial establishments at airports within the meaning of the Act of July 3, 2002 - Aviation Law);
  • free zones;
  • sale in means of transport, on ships, as well as on commercial sea ships, aircraft, oil rigs and other offshore hydrotechnical structures;
  • on the premises of penitentiary units;
  • commercial outlets on the premises of military units;
  • agricultural retail trade within the meaning of the Act of 25 August 2006 on food and nutrition safety;
  • pharmaceutical wholesalers;
  • commercial outlets trading only with agricultural machinery and spare parts for these machines (in the period from June 1 to September 30 of each calendar year);
  • sale in funeral homes;
  • in agri-food wholesale markets run by commercial law companies, the main activity of which is to rent and manage real estate for the purpose of wholesale trade in agri-food products;
  • commercial outlets run by entities purchasing goods on the agri-food wholesale markets, in the scope of activities related to trade and entrusting the employee or employed with the performance of these activities;
  • commercial establishments where only cereals, sugar beet, fruit, vegetables or raw milk are purchased.