N-VA wants to adjust legislation on stores’ opening hours. The Flemish party wants stores to be authorized to remain open until 9 p.m. The compulsory closing day would also be scrapped if the nationalist group’s law proposal were approved, Sunday’s paper De Zondag reports. But the Syndicat neutre pour indépendants (SNI) is opposed.
Today, businesses that are not within a tourist centre may only open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Fridays and on working days preceding a holiday, they may stay open until 9 p.m. The N-VA, which is now part of the Federal opposition, wants to see that exception become a rule. It wishes too to get rid of the compulsory closing day.
According to the party, such a change will grant merchants more freedom, and help them combine their private and professional lives. “The number of two-income families is increasing, making life a daily challenge for many,” according to MP Valerie Van Peel, who submitted the law proposal.
But the Syndicat neutre pour indépendants (SNI) is sceptical. In its view, longer opening hours put greater pressure on merchants, will not give them more freedom, and will not allow them to better manage their private and professional lives. The Union also doubts that it will increase their turnover and predicts that this new legislation will generate staff problems and thus higher related costs.
SNI recommends small traders rely on e-commerce, combining this with a physical store. For consumers buy more and more online and outside of regular opening hours.