Poland’s parliament has approved a bill that will almost completely phase out Sunday trading by 2020.

The law — put forward by the ruling Law and Justice party and backed by unions and the Catholic church — will limit Sunday trade to two Sundays a month from March next year, and then one Sunday a month in 2019.

From 2020, stores will only be allowed to open only on seven Sundays a year. E-commerce will be exempted from the ban. Cafes and restaurants will also be allowed to stay open.

Critics say the bill will cost jobs and slow Poland’s economy, but its backers argue that it will allow workers in the retail industry to spend more time with their families.

In a parliamentary session that was also notable for the fact that Jaroslaw Kaczynski — the head of the ruling Law and Justice party — spent some of it reading an atlas of cats, lawmakers also voted to send President Andrzej Duda’s proposals for overhauling the judicial system to a parliamentary committee.

The move clears the way for Law and Justice to amend President Duda’s proposals, and then put a new version to parliament. The amended bill, which has been the subject of months of negotiations between Mr Kaczynski and Mr Duda, is likely to be debated in the first week of December.

Law and Justice’s reform plans have sparked controversy with critics claiming that the judicial overhaul will undermine the rule of law. The government claims that the reforms are needed as the judicial system is inefficient and has not been purged since the collapse of Communism.

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