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

COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case SI-2020-20/1095 Updated – measures in Slovenia

Trade union initiative for a complete closure of shops on Sunday

Pobuda za zaprtje trgovin ob nedelja

Country Slovenia , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 13 May 2020
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Changes of working hours or work arrangements
Author Maja Breznik (University of Ljubljana) and Eurofound
Case created 10 September 2020 (updated 16 October 2020)

Background information

During the COVID-19 epidemic, all shops were closed on Sundays. The Trade Union of Workers in the Trade Sector (ZSSS-SDTS) tries to take this opportunity for a permanent closure of shops on Sundays. If realized, it would bring an end to a long-lasting public debate on the opening hours of shops on Sundays (for more information see the article ‘Slovenia: Social partners in favour of partial Sunday opening hours in retail’ . The debate began in 2003 with a referendum which led to a ban on Sunday shopping. However, the referendum decision was never carried out as retail companies’ appeal to the Constitutional Court managed to defer its implementation.

Content of measure

With the end of epidemics, the government lifted many restrictions on business activities, but a ban on Sunday shopping remained in place. The Trade Union of Workers in the Trade Sector (ZSSS-SDTS) launched a proposal to transform a temporary ban on Sunday shopping into a permanent one and, in this way, implement a public referendum’s decision from 2003.

On the initiative of a trade union, The Left party (Slov. Levica) gave a law amendment into the parliamentary procedure. The draft law seemingly had wide support among parliamentary deputies from the opposition as well as coalition parties. In the mid-July, the draft law successfully passed the discussion in the Parliamentary Committee for the Economy. Only the Modern Centre Party and the government spokesperson openly expressed their concerns that the draft law infringes the entrepreneurial freedom of retailers. However, the second parliamentary reading of the draft law showed that many deputies gave their support in bad faith.

In the name of retailers, unsatisfied with the continued prohibition on Sunday opening of shops, the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce appealed to the Constitutional Court. On the ground of this appeal, the government lifted restriction on Sunday opening on 23 July 2020. From then on, all shops are again open on Sundays.

The parliament will decide on the draft law in September 2020.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

12 October 2020

On 29 September 2020, the parliament adopted the amended Trade Act with a great majority of votes. The act bans the opening of stores on Sundays. Exceptions are small shops on bus stations, hospitals and gas stations under the condition that proprietaries of shops perform services with the help of students and retirees. Some questioned the rule that retirees are allowed to work in shops during the epidemics, but it was nevertheless adopted by the parliament. The journal Dnevnik wrote that people’s will was finally implemented 17 years since the referendum.

Use of measure

The Trade Union of Workers in the Trade Sector (ZSSS-SDTS) and Centre for Social Research (Cedra) surveyed workers in the retail sector.

  • 98% of respondents agreed to the closure of shops on Sundays.
  • 95% would agree to a complete closure despite lower salaries which are already very low, at 78% of the Slovenian average salary (Cedra, 2020).

In a survey, commissioned by the government in October 2017, the opinion poll research company Ninamedia established that 80.5% of respondents support the closure of shops on Sundays. In July 2020, similar research showed that the percentage of supporters was even higher, 87%.

The trade union representative commented on government reopening of shops on Sunday as a ‘knife in the back of the labour class’.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Trade unions
No special funding required

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative No involvement
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

The Trade Union of Workers in the Trade Sector (ZSSS-SDTS) launched a proposal to transform a temporary ban on Sunday shopping into a permanent one and, in this way, implement a public referendum’s decision from 2003. On the initiative of a trade union, The Left party (Slov. Levica) gave a law amendment into the parliamentary procedure.

Views and reactions

The trade union representative commented on government reopening of shops on Sunday as a ‘knife in the back of the labour class’. Retailers and the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce on their behalf has a campaign against the draft law.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G45 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      G46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

  • 27 May 2020: Cedra, Predstavitev izsledkov anketne raziskave: stališče delavk in delavcev glede zaprtja trgovin ob nedeljah, 27 May 202 (cedra.si)
  • 15 July 2020: ‘Za novelo zakona že več kot 46 poslancev’, Dnevnik, 15 July 202 (www.dnevnik.si)
  • 15 July 2020: Zelena luč pristojnega odbora DZ-ja za nedeljsko zaprtje trgovin, MMC RTV SLO, 15 July 202 (www.rtvslo.si)
  • 24 July 2020: Trgovci v nedeljo odpirajo trgovine, MMC RTV SLO, 24 July 202 (www.rtvslo.si)
  • 29 September 2020: [The Parliament banned the opening of stores on Sundays] DZ uzakonil zaprtje trgovin ob nedelja (www.dnevnik.si)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Trade union initiative for a complete closure of shops on Sunday, case SI-2020-20/1095 (measures in Slovenia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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