2013 minimal wages

On January 6, 2013, in Remuneration, by Kalina Jaroslawska

The beginning of 2013 is paralleled with the rise of minimal wages.

In 2013 the minimal wages rose from 1500 to 1600 PLN per month, i.e. by about 7%.

From that the employee will receive about 1181 PLN, i.e. about 80 PLN more than last year.

The employer’s total cost of 2013 minimal wages will rise by about 150 PLN to 1911 PLN per month.

The difference between the employer’s total cost of 2013 minimal wages and the employee’s net amount is more than 700 PLN, which is claimed by the state as obligatory income tax and social security payments. All these deductions amount to more than 60% of the amount the employer needs to expend to finance the minimal wages.

Seems too much, doesn’t it?

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Maternity leave – for how long?

On August 27, 2012, in Parental rights, Working Time and Leave, by Kalina Jaroslawska

European labour law legislations provide for different schemes of maternity leave for young mothers. Some are longer, some are shorter, there are also discrepancies as far as social benefits during that are concerned.

In Poland the duration of maternity leave depends on the number of children born at one time and equals:

  • 20 weeks when one child is born,
  • 31 weeks when twins are born,
  • 33 weeks when triplets are born,
  • 35 weeks when quadruplets are born,
  • 37 weeks when five or more children are born at one time.

At least 2 weeks of maternity leave may be used before birth.

On top of that, after the basic leave entitlement has been used up, a young mother is entitled to additional maternity leave of 4 weeks (in case of birth of one child) or 6 weeks (in case of birth of more than one child). These additional entitlements will be increased to 6 and 8 weeks respectively, beginning January 2014.

Many employers want to know if the applicant for a job had any criminal history before they make the hiring decision.

In Poland, the employer’s access to the applicants’ criminal history is limited only to situations provided for in the Act on the National Criminal Register, which keeps the history of convictions. The employer may be granted access to the National Court Register only when the law requires that the applicant for a given position has not been subject to criminal punishment or deprived of public rights. The employer is also authorized to check the National Criminal Register to see if the applicant has the right to occupy a particular position, do a particular profession or run a particular business.

In other situations the employer may not formally require the applicant to supply information of previous convictions. In practice, employers ask for such information, which is said to be provided on a voluntary basis and thus endorsed to be used in a hiring decision.

There are disputes among academics whether the employer may rely on information provided voluntarily in the hiring process. Some say that under the applicable provisions of the Labour Code the employer is entitled only to a limited set of the applicant’s personal data, which does not contain criminal history. Hence, the employer must disregard any information on previous convictions given by the employee, even if on a voluntary basis. Though I can find some theoretical arguments in favour of such a stance in the existing provisions of law, I cannot but see that it is entirely contrary to what the practice calls for. I surely understand employers who are hiring e.g. a person supervising a cashier at a bank and wish to know whether he or she has any criminal history regarding misuse of money.

In any case, employers who obtained information on the applicant’s previous convictions must remember that it is ‘sensitive data’ under the Act on Protection of Personal Data. As a result, the applicant must provide written consent to processing the information for hiring purposes.

Something unexpected happened? Request a day off

On August 13, 2012, in Working Time and Leave, by Kalina Jaroslawska

Polish Labor Code grants the employee a very useful right to request up to 4 days off in each calendar year, should there be a need for dealing with personal or family issues.

Essentially, it’s up to the employee to decide on the exact date of the leave. These 4 days are not included in the official schedule of leave or in any other holiday plans previously consulted with the employer and can be used separately or at once.

However, days of leave at the request of the employee reduce the employee’s length of annual leave by a corresponding number of days. Moreover, the legal character of leave at the request of the employee is basically the same as the “normal” employee leave, so the general provisions apply – such as the rule that one day of leave corresponds to 8 hours of work.

In the vast majority of cases, the employer is obliged to grant leave to the employee. However, this obligation is not unconditional. The Polish Supreme Court ruled that the employer can refuse to grant leave if the refusal is justified by special circumstances which require the employee to be present at work.

Employee’s request for a day off can be also treated as abuse of the right to leave in question, if used in a manner that would be contrary to its socio-economic purpose or the principles of community coexistence, for example, as a way of exerting pressure on an employer by a group of employees to achieve particular benefits.

As a consequence of the employee’s duty to respect the interest of the employer’s organization – which is one of the main and most important duties of an employee provided for in the Polish Labor Code – the employee should request a day off before the working day starts.

The request doesn’t need to be made in writing, any effective method (e.g. phone call) is sufficient.

Please note that the employee is entitled to maximum 4 days of leave in a calendar year, regardless of the number of employers with whom the employee has an employment relationship in a given year.

Contributed by: Mateusz Kamm

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The date of the employee’s vacation leave is usually determined much earlier, so that the employee knows when they can expect time off and the employer knows when they need to arrange for a replacement.

The starting day has come, the employee is absent from work, but I need him or her to help in an important business.

Can I as an employer require the employee to break their leave and return to work? Can I order them to do so?

Polish Labour Code protects the employee’s right to vacation leave.

Once the leave has been started, it may be recalled only in exceptional circumstances, which could not be foreseen on the starting day of the vacation leave. Importantly, these exceptional circumstances must be supported by the employer’s particular needs which could not be accommodated without the employee’s presence.

For example, the employer may not require the employee to return to work only for the purpose of terminating the employment contract. During vacation leave the employee is protected from termination.

Legally, the employer’s request in an employment law order, which the employee should obey under pain of applicable sanctions, including immediate termination of the employment contract – provided that the employer had the right to require the employee to return to work.

When the employee breaks their vacation leave at the employer’s request, the employer should reimburse the employee for the related costs, e.g. costs of earlier return. However, it is for the employee to demonstrate the amount of such costs in order to be able to claim them from the employer.

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