European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure PL-2020-49/1736 – measures in Poland

Ban on Sunday trading partly lifted in December

Zakaz handlu w niedziele cześciowo złagodzony w grudniu

Country Poland , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 December 2020 – 31 January 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
Author Jan Czarzasty (Warsaw School of Economics) and Eurofound
Measure added 20 January 2021 (updated 02 February 2021)

Background information

Since 1 January 2020 trading on all Sundays (within few exceptions) is disallowed in Poland. The only statutory exceptions are explicitly named in the national legislation and include last Sunday in January, April, June, August and also two consecutive Sundays preceding Easter as well as the Sunday preceding Christmas. However, due to extraordinary, pandemics-related situation, which not only impacted on the supply-side but also on the demand-side, with customers' access to facilities severely limited, the government decided (with parliamentary endorsement) to make one-time exception and allow trading on all Sundays in December expect for the one directly following Christmas. So three Sunday in a row (6, 13, and 20 December) were eventually trading days.

Content of measure

In the Act on Restrictions on Trading on Sundays, Public Holidays and Some Other Days, the new article (no. 17a) was insterted, stating that "on 6 December 2020 the restrictions named by the article 5 do not apply".

The article 5 mentioned above states that: "On Sundays and holidays in commercial establishments:

  1. Trade and performance of activities related to trade, shall be prohibited.
  2. Entrusting an employee or worker to perform work in commerce and activities associated with commerce shall be prohibited".

The measure, as explicitly stated by the new regulation (art. 17a) is a specific instrument to be used only once.

Use of measure

6 December 2020, Sunday, was a full-length trading day.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Sector specific set of companies
Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


The one-time lifting of the ban was a result of persistent pressure and lobbying of employer organisations and business associations from the retail sector.

Views and reactions

Employers' side not only supported by also promoted the measure. Of trade unions, NSZZ "Solidarność" stood firmly against it, while other major confederations (OPZZ and FZZ) reportedly took neutral position.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 22 November 2020: Attempts to introduce one more trading Sunday in December (
  • 27 November 2020: The Act of November 27 2020 amending the Act on Special Measures regarding Prevention, Counteraction and Combating COVID-19 and Other Contagious Diseases and Crisis Situations Related and Some Other Acts of Law (Ustawa z dnia 27 listopada 2020 r. o zmianie ustawy o szczególnych rozwiązaniach związanych z zapobieganiem, przeciwdziałaniem i zwalczaniem COVID-19, innych chorób zakaźnych oraz wywołanych nimi sytuacji kryzysowych oraz niektórych innych ustaw), (
  • 02 December 2020: Appeal to President of Poland regarding Sunday, 6 December (Apel do Pana Prezydenta RP w sprawie niedzieli 6 grudnia) (


Eurofound (2021), Ban on Sunday trading partly lifted in December, measure PL-2020-49/1736 (measures in Poland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

19 May 2022


Working life in the COVID-19 pandemic 2021

This publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries (the 27 EU Member States and Norway).


24 June 2020


COVID-19: Policy responses across Europe

This report aims to present an overview of both large-scale government measures and collective agreements that impact on large groups of workers.

16 June 2022


COVID-19 in the workplace: Employer's responsibility to ensure a safe workplace

Throughout 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, specific occupational health and safety rules were reintroduced due to increases in infection rates.


16 June 2022


Back to work after COVID-19: Testing, vaccines and green certificates

In the second pandemic year 2021, access to one's place of work was increasingly dependent on providing proof of either having been tested, vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in several countries.

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.