Polish lawmakers consider closing shops on Sundays
Poland could gradually end Sunday shopping in the next three years, if lawmakers approve a bill under consideration in the national legislature.
Backers of the legislation want to make it possible for workers to spend more time with their families, the British magazine The Catholic Herald reports. The bill was initially supported by trade unions, then received support from the Law and Justice Party, Poland’s ruling party.
Poland’s lower house, the Sejm, passed the bill by a vote of 254 to 156. It still requires approval from the Senate and President Andzrej Duda.
The bill would allow Sunday shopping only on the first and last Sunday of each month through the end of 2018, then allow shopping only on the last Sunday of the month in 2019, then ban all Sunday shopping in 2020. There would still be exemptions for some bakeries and online stores. Sundays before holidays like Christmas will also be exempt from the ban
The bishops’ conference of Poland said that the bill did not go far enough, arguing that everyone should have the freedom from Sunday work.
Last year Poland’s Solidarity trade union collected 350,000 signatures for a citizens’ bill to ban Sunday shopping, far more than the 100,000 required to initiate a legislative process.
Solidarity official Alfred Bujara told Agence France Presse last year that supermarket employees are “poorly paid, over-worked, and their family life suffers as a result.”
“In Poland, capitalism and consumerism have gotten out of control,” he said.
In his 1991 encyclical Centissimus Annus, Pope St. John Paul II, a Polish citizen, suggested that nations ask “whether existing laws and the practice of industrialized societies effectively ensure, in our own day, the exercise of [the] basic right to Sunday rest.”
There have been at least three attempts on such a ban in Poland in the last 20 years. One survey indicated that only 30 percent of Polish voters supported the ban, while 62 percent opposed it, Agence France Press said.
A similar ban put forward in Hungary proved to be unpopular when it was enacted in 2015. The law was largely rolled back in 2016.