Saturday, 19 October 2019

Business associations challenge closing shops on holidays

3 January 2017

Prague, Jan 2 (CTK) - Czech business associations have filed a constitutional complaint against the law banning the sale in large shops on selected holidays, the Chamber of Commerce (HK CR) has confirmed to CTK.
The complaint was initiated by the HK CR and the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism and signed by 19 senators before it was sent to the Constitutional Court (US) on December 22, 2016, Miroslav Diro, from HK CR, told CTK.
The associations argue in their complaint that the law is at variance with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution, such as the right to running business freely.
"It is not possible to push through a law that would restrict constitutional rights of a certain group of businesspeople and, on the contrary, give advantages to a randomly selected group groundlessly," the HK CR said.
The businesspeople have also pointed to the risk of extending the law to apply to Sunday sales as well.
At least 17 senators can file a legal complaint with the US.
This complaint was signed by senators for the opposition right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09 and Mayors and the government ANO movement.
The ban was for the first time applied on October 28, 2016, national holiday marking the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
Many shops were closed on Christmas Day and New Year in the past as well.
A CTK poll conducted on chain stores shows that the new legislation has affected their sales even though people were shopping more intensively before and after Christmas.
Small stores and e-shops have profited from the closing of big stores on holidays.
However, trade unions welcome the ban on sale on some holidays, saying a crushing majority of employees welcome it.
"The bill on shopping hours in retail and wholesale sets only seven days a year when the employees of chain stores are sure that they can celebrate holidays with their families or other close people, which is common in most of other professions," Renata Burianova, chairwoman of the Shop Employees' Trade Union (OSPO), said previously.
Under the new law, shops larger than 200 square metres must be closed on eight public holidays, including New Year, Easter Monday, Victory Day on May 8, September 28 (St Wenceslas Day) and October 28 as well as Christmas Day and Boxing Day on December 25-26. On Christmas Eve, shops can be opened until 12:00 only.
The law does not apply to shops under 200 square metres. It has also a number of exceptions, such as pharmacies, shops at airports, hospitals and railway stations as well as at petrol stations. The breach of the law is fined with up to one million crowns.
($1=25.639 crowns)

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