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 🙂

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The blog has a new name – Polish Labour Law Blog

On October 12, 2011, in General, by Kalina Jaroslawska

As you have noticed, the blog changed its name to the Polish Labour Law Blog.

Why is that?

The Polish Employment Law Blog has been online for about 9 months now. During that time I have given some thought to its formula and deliberated on which one is the best for the readers. As a result, I decided to focus mostly on labour law in Poland rather then employment matters, which is a wider term and covers a number of issues not of interest to the users (as I suppose, based on the instruments that I could use). From now on the the blog will be labelled as Polish Labour Law Blog (although the domain will stay as it was for a couple of months) and concentrate on those aspects on Polish labour law which are regulated in the Polish Labour Code, i.e.:

  • wage management;
  • non compete agreements and employees’ competitive activity;
  • liability for loss or damages caused by the employee to the employer;
  • work time, leaves and parents’ rights;
  • employers’ offences against employees.
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Polish labour law

On October 2, 2011, in General, by Kalina Jaroslawska

Have you ever had to do with Polish labour law? Probably not but since there are many US and UK based companies opening their branch offices in Poland there is a chance you may soon have to deal with it, especially if you are an employer representative.

If that’s the case, the first and foremost piece of legislation related to Polish law labour law that you need to look into is the Polish labour code. The Polish labour code will tell you:

  • how to conclude an employment contract and how to terminate it,
  • how to manage wages,
  • what are employee and employer statutory duties,
  • how you can prevent employee competitive activity via non compete agreements,
  • when the employee is liable for damage or loss caused to you,
  • what you need to know about work time, leaves and parents’ rights,
  • whether you can employ a minor,
  • what safe and healthy measures you need to take in your workplace,
  • how to go about union agreements (barganing agreements),
  • when you may be charged with an offense against an employee.

For some more detailed issues you may need to look into specific pieces of legislation. For example, if you require information on mass layoffs, you will have to get familiar with the Collective Dismissals Act.

Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/601967

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What is the rule of equal treatment?

On August 2, 2011, in Discrimination, by Kalina Jaroslawska

sxc.hu

Polish labour legislation provides for the obligation to treat all employees equally with respect to conclusion and termination of employment, employment conditions, promotion and access to professional training, irrespective of:

  • sex;
  • age;
  • disability;
  • race;
  • religion;
  • nationality;
  • political views;
  • trade union membership;
  • ethnic background;
  • religious creed;
  • sexual orientation;
  • full-time or part-time employment;
  • employment for indefinite or fixed time.

In short, this is a general anti-discrimination clause, which is as a result of adjusting Polish labour legislation to the EU standards before the EU accession in 2004.

If the employer differentiates situations of particular employees based on one or several reasons listed above, then they will be considered to violate the anti-discrimination clause, unless they are in a position to demonstrate that such differentiation is justified by genuine occupation requirements. Examples of such genuine occupation requirements would include:

  • experience and length of employment affecting the conditions of employment, salary or promotion;
  • grounds related to parenthood protection or disability reasons;
  • changes in working time arrangements if justified by reasons unrelated to employees.

Remedies available to discriminated employees are not overwhelming: they may claim damages no lower than minimal wages (there is no upper limit) and they are guaranteed protection from dismissal once the claim has been brought. The claim may also be made after the employment relationship has come to an end, no matter whose initiative that was. Damages must be effective, proportionate and preventive.

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Minimal wages in Poland

On July 30, 2011, in Remuneration, by Kalina Jaroslawska

sxc.hu

Most European countries’ employment legislation provide for statutory minimal wages as a means of protecting employees. Whether or not minimal wages actually play that protective role is a question to economists. Employment lawyers focus on legal aspects of minimal wages, so let me say a few words about that.

Minimal wages in Poland are determined by a special committee comprising members of the government, trade unions and employer organizations.

For 2011 minimal wages are 1386 PLN, which makes roughly 355 EUR. The initial proposal for 2012 is 1500 PLN (~384 EUR based on today’s PLN/EUR exchange rate), but no final decisions have been made yet. Obviously, the trade unions are doing their best for the minimal wages to be as high as possible in the existing economic circumstances.

Minimal wages are determined as a gross amount, which means it must be decreased by statutory deductions (income tax, social and health insurance contributions). In the end, the disposable income is not overwhelming.

The legal effect of minimal wages is that the full-time employee’s general salary (including base salary and regular additional components) may not be lower than minimal wages (for part-time employee minimal wages are computed on a pro rata basis). Otherwise the employee has a claim for increasing the salary. There is one exception: the salary of an employee in the first year of employment may be as low as 80 percent of statutory minimal wages.

Apart from that, minimal wages affect certain other instruments of employment law in Poland. For example, employees filing for damages based on discrimination or victimization claims are guaranteed by statute that the damages, if adjudicated by the court, will not be lower than minimal wages. Certain additional pay components (e.g. for work at night) also depend on statutory minimal wages.

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