Employers Federation Appeals to Constitutional Court: Non-Working Sundays Will Affect Economy

By , 13 Jun 2019, 00:19 AM Business
Employers Federation Appeals to Constitutional Court: Non-Working Sundays Will Affect Economy Copyrights: Pixabay

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12 June 2019 - The Montenegrin Employers Federation will send an initiative to examine the Law on Internal Trade, which envisages the introduction of a non-working Sunday for retail and wholesale, to the Constitutional Court, reports Dnevne novine daily. The Advocate for Legal Affairs and Social Dialogue in MEF, Filip Lazović, stated that the amendments to the Law, about which two days ago the ministers finished the debate, violated the body of economic rights.

"We believe that the Law will soon be the subject of constitutional review, that is, a constitutional initiative will soon be sent. In Croatia, the Constitutional Court abolished this law three times, for similar reasons, which is likely to happen in Montenegro. We really anticipate this as a real possibility," said Lazović.

He added that the official stance of the Union is that the process of adoption is not good because the economy is not consulted, and the law is very much connected with the economy within the country.

"We consider the changes to be problematic both from the aspect of large trading systems and from the aspect of the small ones. The Montenegrin economy consists of 95 per cent of small and medium enterprises. We can observe the negative effects that the adoption of the Law will bring in the future, especially since we have strategically decided that tourism is our main industry. The question arises as to whether we can afford the luxury to deny huge traffic that takes place on Sundays, which is affected by numerous tourists on the coast and in the north," Lazović pointed out.

According to the Ministry of Economy, the provision relating to the introduction of the non-working Sunday will begin to apply three months after the entry into force of the Law, in particular in autumn. The reason for the postponement of the application, as they explained, is to leave the space for employers to organize and harmonize their business in relation to the changes that should be adopted by the Assembly soon.

Judging by the comments of the ruling coalition and part of the opposition parties, it is expected that amendments to the law will be adopted. The draft defines that apart from the established exceptions, all stores will have Sunday as a day off. Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić pointed out in the Assembly that the Government clearly defined the exceptions without the possibility of expanding them. This means that shopping malls, including Delta City (Podgorica) and Kamelija (Kotor), to which the Ministry has refused an exemption request, will be obligated to introduce non-working Sundays.

On Sundays and holidays, as specified, wholesale and retail trade can be performed in pharmacies, specialized stores or stores that sell bread, bakery products and cakes, flowers, souvenirs, prints, plant protection products or funeral equipment, gas stations or retail stores within the gas stations, as well as in markets, stands, stalls, showcases and machines outside the market and mobile shops. The amendments to the Law stipulate that employers who violate the provision and open their stores on Sundays may be fined between 1,000 and 10,000 EUR, and the Law also foresees the closing of these stores.

Read more about Business in Montenegro at TMN's dedicated page.

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