Trade bans during public holidays and Sundays are not reserved for Poland only. The idea had been implemented on several global markets before it ever reached Polish shores. In German-speaking countries, such as Switzerland, Austria, and, of course, Germany, it functions under the word Sonntagsruhe – Sunday rest. Holiday trade limits, in varying forms and degrees of restrictiveness, are also present in France, Spain, Greece or Norway.
In Poland, restrictions on retail on Sundays are a relatively fresh concept. They came into life on the 1st of March 2018. Since then the bill regulating the issue has seen some amendments, and in its current form, Sunday shopping sprees become seven singularities – a far cry from the former norm.
When are the shopping Sundays in Poland in 2024?
For the moment, the official schedule of shopping Sundays in Poland in 2024 is as presented below. However, it is important to remember that those pre-established dates are not exactly set in stone – this is because the Polish government can sporadically pass additional bills to change the day of the shopping Sunday.
- January 28, 2024.
- March 24, 2024.
- April 28, 2024.
- June 30, 2024.
- August 25, 2024.
- December 15, 2024.
- December 22, 2024.* (that particular date is debatable: at the moment the Polish government is working on a bill to ban trade on Christmas Eve in 2023, so is such a law comes into force, the date will likely change for 2024 as well).
Want to know what other days have said retail restrictions? See: Public Holidays in Poland 2024
What are the consequences of breaking Sunday shopping restrictions in Poland?
With fines that can reach anywhere between 1000 PLN and the astronomical amount of 100,000 PLN, Sunday retail restrictions might not be something that you want to breach.
What are the exceptions to Sunday shopping restrictions in Poland?
There are however certain kinds of businesses that are exempt from Sunday shopping restrictions. And not just a few, but literally thirty-two, to be exact. The most notable examples of businesses that can operate on Sundays and public holidays are:
- Petrol stations
- Flower shops, souvenir shops
- Bakeries, ice cream parlors, coffee shops, restaurants
- Businesses where the main source of revenue comes from selling: newspapers, public transportation tickets, tobacco products, gambling, and betting coupons
- Shops located in the transport hubs (such as airports, railway stations, etc.)
- In businesses where the trade is conducted by the owner, on his own behalf and for his own account
The bill also includes less common but nevertheless interesting exceptions, such as military facilities, penitentiaries, and even funeral homes. So, if Sunday shopping is something that you need to do, there is really nothing that is stopping you… from joining the military, of course.
Interested to hear more about shopping trends in Poland? Read: Black Friday in Poland: A shopping fever turned fever dream
Sunday Shopping: the arguments for and against
As always, there are some convincing arguments both for and against the concept of holiday retail restrictions.
The benefit of unrestricted shopping Sundays can be put in perspective by increasing the welfare of customers and businesses alike. Extended opening hours can also allow customers expanded time to make shopping decisions, and to avoid rush hours, and in doing so spend less time in lines to the store checkout.
On another side of the argument, according to the official website of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, limiting trade on Sundays is meant to have a positive impact on family ties. As mothers constitute a significant part of retail workers, with holiday trade restrictions they can spend Sundays with their children and family, which can strengthen social bonds.
Of course, one could argue that family trips to the mall can make for a great bonding experience: an epic quest if you will. But then again, one does not simply walk into Mall-door…
Act of 10 January 2018 on the restriction of trade on Sundays and public holidays and on certain other days (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 936)
Ministry of Family and Social Policy – Trade on Sundays