As you have probably heard in the news, the new Act CII of 2014 on the prohibition of work on Sundays in the retail sector entered into force on March 15, 2015. It is less known that Act I of 2012 on the Labor Code has been amended in line with the above-mentioned Act which entered into force on April 1, 2015. In this legal alert we would like to inform our clients of the changes introduced by the new regulation and the rules regarding work on Sundays.

Act CII of 2014 on the prohibition of retail work on Sundays entered into force on March 15, 2015. The scope of this Act covers retail activities (not including service-providing activities related to the spending of free time and commercial activity) regardless of whether it is pursued permanently or occasionally at a permanent or a periodically changing location.

However the scope of the Act does not cover the opening hours of pharmacies, the opening hours of retail stores at international airports, railroads or bus stations, the opening hours of retail stores at penal institutions, health institutions and military facilities, commercial activity at local markets or that of producers, commercial activity at fairs, the opening hours of fuel stations, commercial tourism service providing activities, commercial accommodation activities, services supporting commercial activities, catering services or commercial activities alongside of cultural activities and bathing services.

Under the new regulation, retail stores may be kept open between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on business days, and they must remain closed on Sundays and public holidays (general closing period). There are exceptions from the prohibition of work on Sundays, such as December 24 and 31 when retail stores may be kept open between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. Further exceptions include the Sundays during Advent and one Sunday freely designated by the trading entity in each calendar year. If the owner notifies the relevant authority 15 days before the date he or she plans to keep the store open, the store may be kept open between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Act contains special exceptions regarding stores selling pastries and dairy products exclusively, or newspapers or flowers as well as stores operating inside sport facilities. According to such rules, the stores selling pastries and dairy products exclusively may be kept open between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. on business days and between 5 a.m. and 12 noon on Sundays and on public holidays. Stores selling newspapers or flowers exclusively may be kept open between 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Sundays and public holidays, while stores operating in sport facilities may be kept open during sports events on Sundays and public holidays.

Retail stores with a sales area of 200 m2 or less may be kept open during the general closing period, but only if the commercial activity is carried out by the private entrepreneur, a member of the sole proprietorship or the natural person member of the business association owning at least one-fifth of the quotas of the business association or by a family member assisting the individuals listed above.

The amendment of the Labor Code

The Labor Code has been amended in line with the above-mentioned Act; this amendment entered into force on April 1, 2015.

Under the Act amending the Labor Code it appears that employees shall be entitled to a 100 percent wage supplement if they are working in a retail store during regular or irregular working hours on Sundays during Advent, on the Sunday designated by the trading entity as written above or on the 24thor 31st of December, if those dates fall on a Sunday.

The amendment of the Act CLXIV of 2005 on Trade

The amendment of the Act on Trade (which entered into force on April 1, 2015) clarifies that during the application of the Act on the prohibition of work on Sundays, the stores that carry out retail and wholesale activities in the same place at the same time, and the stores operating in the area of fuel stations that do not sell fuel, shall be considered to be stores carrying out retail activities.