By when do I have to use accrued leave for 2011?

On February 7, 2012, in Working Time and Leave, by Kalina Jaroslawska

In the entry on 2012 changes to Polish labour law I wrote that

vacation leave accrued in the foregoing calendar year will have to be used up by the end of September of the following year, which gives additional 6 months – by the end of 2011 accrued vacation leave had to be used up by the end of March

This seems quite simple but the lawyers started to think by when accrued leave for 2011 should be used: by the end of March 2012 or by the end of September 2012?

There are several arguments in favour and against each of the options. The National Labour Inspection has taken the stand that the new legislation will apply only to vacation leave earned in 2012, so the leave accrued in 2011 should be used in accordance with the old rules, i.e. by the end of March 2012.

What I think?

In my opinion vacation leave accrued in 2011 may be used by the end September 2012. Why? The most important argument in favour of that opinion is that vacation leave accrued in 2011 becomes outstanding on January 1, 2012, i.e. on the day when the new legislation is already in force. I can see no rational reason to postpone the time by which accrued leave should be used – and by almost a year (which is a long time), when the new legislation does not provide for such extension. There is no legal retroaction here, as the supporters of the National Labour Inspection’s standpoint claim.

And what do you think?

Image: vichie81 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2012 minimal wages

On January 21, 2012, in Remuneration, by Kalina Jaroslawska

The beginning of each year traditionally sees a new rate of minimal wages being set.

With respect to 2011, the 2012 minimal wages rose by about 8 per cent – from 1386 PLN to 1500 PLN. Gross 1500 PLN equals to net (i.e. upon deduction of tax and social insurance contributions) 1111 PLN, which is 79 PLN more than in 2011. Looking at it from the employer’s viewpoint, the new minimal wage will cost them an additional amount of 262 PLN, which includes social insurance contributions to financed by the employer from their own resources. As a result, the employer’s total cost of 2012 minimal wages will be 1762 PLN.

The employers’ organizations point out that due to a rise in the minimal wages the companies will be more reluctant to hire new employees, particularly those without qualifications and in less economically developed regions. The employers may also resort to other forms of employment that employment contracts.

Image: creativedoxfoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Full-time vs. part-time work

On January 14, 2012, in Working Time and Leave, by Kalina Jaroslawska

Employees may work on a full-time or part-time basis, whichever is agreed with the employer. There are no particular restrictions in this respect and the choice of the working time scheme is left to the parties to the employment contract.

However, you should bear in mind that full-time or part-time employment affects mutual rights and obligation of the employee and the employer.

First, it is forbidden to discriminate part-time employees or favour full-time employees with respect to entering into or terminating the employment contract, employment terms, promotion or access to professional training.

Second, employers are required to inform their employees about opportunities of full-time or part-time employment.

Third, part-time employment affects the rules of overtime work and paid vacation leave. Eg. the amount of vacation leave of a part-time employee should be calculated in proportion to that employee’s working time, with fractions being rounded up to a full day of leave. Further, basically a part-time employee working longer than stated in their employment contract will not be considered as working overtime provided that the 8-hour-per-day limit has not been exceeded. In this case the employment contract should indicate the number of hours above the contractual working time, exceeding of which earns the part-time employee the right to overtime premium.

Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1373851

2012 changes to Polish labour law

On January 9, 2012, in General, by Kalina Jaroslawska

The beginning of 2012 saw a number of changes being introduced to Polish labour law. Read on if you are keen to know what they are:

  • minimal wages rose from 1386 PLN to 1500 PLN gross, which amounts to more than 8% increase;
  • vacation leave accrued in the foregoing calendar year will have to be used up by the end of September of the following year, which gives additional 6 months – by the end of 2011 accrued vacation leave had to be used up by the end of March;
  • additional maternity leave was extended – from 2 to 4 weeks in the event of a single birth and from 3 to 6 weeks in the event of a double or multiple birth;
  • father’s leave was extended from 1 to 2 weeks;
  • the disabled employees will work longer – 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week instead 7/35; the 7/35 scheme will apply to those employees with a considerable or moderate amount of disability who present a relevant medical certificate stating the need for shortened working time.

For sure this is not the end of changes to Polish labour law in 2012 and there is much more to come. I will keep you up to date via this blog – please do not hesitate to subscribe to the RSS feed 🙂

Vacation leave entitlement

On October 22, 2011, in Working Time and Leave, by Kalina Jaroslawska

Summer and vacation time are already over so you might think that this is not a good time to write about vacation leave. Well, perhaps not, but today the weather in my home town was so beautiful and it was so astonishingly warm that I thought about holiday. Because of the “holiday link”, vacation leave is one of the most pleasant areas of labour law, so why not give it some attention?

Vacation leave for all employees

Polish Labour Code provides for annual continuous and paid vacation leave for all employees. The employee may not waive the right to paid vacation leave. In particular, vacation leave may not be exchanged for money (save for one exception related to termination of the employment contract).

How much vacation leave am I entitled to?

Vacation leave entitlement depends on the employee’s overall length of employment so far and years of education. As for education, the greatest credit is given for university education, which counts as 8 years of employment. And so:

  • employees with total length of employment of up to 10 years are entitled to 20 days of vacation leave;
  • empployees with total length of employment of at least 10 years are entitled to 26 days of vacation leave.
The statutory vacation leave entitlement may be extended by the parties to the employment contract, but it may not be shortened. In other words, Polish Labour Code provides for a statutory minimum. Other labour related provisions may equip certain categories of employees with longer statutory vacation leave entitlement, e.g. working minors, teachers, judges, prosecutors, firefighters.