Hungarian lawmakers approve law banning most stores from opening on Sundays

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungarian lawmakers have approved a law banning most stores from opening on Sundays — a day the government says no employee should be forced to work.

The measure passed Tuesday has been challenged by trade unions and business groups. The National Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers said it would organize a national referendum on the issue.

While Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party had earlier rejected similar proposals by its coalition partners the Christian Democrats, and Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said last month that the idea was “not wise” because one in five Hungarians does their shopping on Sundays, Fidesz ended up supporting the idea.

Supermarkets said up to 20,000 jobs could be lost because of the law, which includes exceptions for small, family-owned stores.