Franchisors may no longer impose changes to shopping hours

At the end of 2018, a draft of the “Freedom of Choice for Retailers (Opening Hours) Act” was presented. This bill ensures that, among other things, the franchisee must be able to determine his own opening hours, of course within the limits set by the Shopping Hours Act and the relevant municipality.

Adjustment of opening hours by adjusting an already running franchise or rental agreement will soon no longer be possible without the explicit consent of the franchisee or judicial intervention.

There are franchise agreements in which no explicit opening hours are stipulated, but reference is made to a decision by someone else for the determination of the opening hours. This can be a landlord, a shopkeepers’ association, an owners’ association, but also a franchisor or franchisees’ association.

This bill includes agreements in a franchise agreement, which stipulates, for example, that the franchisee’s shop must be open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. still allowed. A franchise agreement that stipulates that the opening hours determined by the franchisees’ association are decisive is also permitted.

However, if the Franchisees Association subsequently makes a decision on mandatory changes to opening hours that the Franchisee has not expressly agreed to (the Franchisee did not vote for such a decision) is void.

Provisions in which the franchisor or lessor can unilaterally determine opening hours after the agreement has been concluded will also be of no effect if the franchisee or lessee has not expressly agreed to this.

This regulation also brings existing decisions about opening hours, which the franchisee has not explicitly agreed to, under this bill, but the nullity is limited to the period from the entry into force of the bill.

For the time being, the bill is only a draft and has not yet entered into force. Franchisors can therefore still see their chance. Franchisees have to be careful!

mr. AW Dolphin  – franchise lawyer

Ludwig & Van Dam Franchise attorneys, franchise legal advice. Do you want to respond? Go to

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