Calls to Lift Holiday Sales Restrictions Grow in Czech Republic

Trade groups in the Czech Republic have made an appeal to the government to lift restrictions on holiday sales. The Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Shopping Centres, and the Trade and Tourism Union have expressed their support for MPs Jan Bureš and Pavel Staněk (both ODS) ‘s efforts to abolish the law restricting retail hours on selected public holidays. These trade organizations made their stance known in a press release, as the government is set to discuss the proposal this week.

The law applies to stores with a floor area exceeding 200 square meters. According to these organizations, its abolition would prove that the government is serious about reducing bureaucratic burdens for entrepreneurs. Ladislav Minčič, the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce office, argued that the law unjustifiably restricts entrepreneurs’ freedom. He called it an indefensible state paternalism and an attempt to dictate how people should manage their time, as well as limiting the opportunities for employees to earn extra by working on public holidays.

This law also impacts small stores located within shopping centers and retail parks. Jan Kubíček, the chairman of the Association of Shopping Centres executive committee, pointed out that when large stores are closed, shopping centers record a drop in customers, which often leads them to close the entire center. The result is that instead of helping small stores, the state is harming them.

According to Tomáš Prouza, the president of the Trade and Tourism Union, the law also long-term harms employees interested in earning extra by working on holidays. He said that employees work in shifts, and when stores are open every holiday, there is an excess of those who would like to earn a holiday pay supplement.

Christian Democratic Union politicians have opposed the proposal to lift the sales ban. They have previously pushed for such restrictions. Agricultural Minister Marek Výborný rejected the proposal, stating, “The KDU-ČSL will never raise its hand for this.”