The Slovak parliament on March 28 approved an amendment to the Labour Code due to come into force as of May 1. Accordingly, shops in Slovakia are set to close for several public holidays in addition to the current three-and-a-half days, the TASR newswire wrote.
At the moment, there are three full free days for retail staff: Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday, plus Christmas Eve as of noon.
Additionally, the new list drawn up by a group of MPs from the governing coalition also includes Epiphany (January 6), Good Friday, Easter Monday (both moveable feasts), May Day, Victory over Fascism Day (May 8), the Feast of Ss Cyril and Methodius (July 5), Slovak National Uprising/SNP Day (August 29), Constitution Day (September 1), the Feast of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows (September 15), All Saints Day (November 1), the Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy (November 17) and Boxing Day (December 26).
The original draft submitted to parliament by the cabinet stipulated a sales ban on Easter Monday only until 14:00 but the House approved an amending proposal presented by Smer MP Ľuboš Blaha to extend the measure to cover the entire day.
Meanwhile, another amending proposal, presented by MP Marián Kery (also Smer), introduced an exemption for selling flowers on the day marking the end of WWII, as well as Constitution Day and All Saints Day, which will also involve an exemption concerning objects for adorning graves.
The businesses to be closed are retail shops (groceries, chemists, etc.); they can only be open if the owners are there themselves – they cannot involve employees. The self-employed can also work on these days but they cannot call on any employee to do so, the Sme daily wrote.
The ban also gives exemption to fuel stations, pharmacies, airport- and harbour shops, public transport, hospitals, sale of travel tickets and souvenirs.
Services can be offered also on these holidays, Sme wrote, adding that as for markets and backyard sales, the crucial issue is whether the person selling the goods is an entrepreneur, or employee: entrepreneurs can sell on these days, while employees cannot.
The shopping malls and centres – which uusally include both retail shops and services – will have to decide for themselves whether they stay closed or open just some of the facilities, e.g. cinemas, repair shops, laundries, etc.
The Finance Ministry claims, as cited by Sme, that the ban will not impact on the national economy; without elaborating in more detail.
The employees of shops will lose part of their salaries – i.e. extra bonuses for work on weekends and public holidays.
Fines for violating this amendment can amount to €100,000, according to the daily.
28. Mar 2017 at 22:59 | Compiled by Spectator staff