Compensation for overtime work

On May 21, 2012, in Working Time and Leave, by Kalina Jaroslawska

Polish labor legislation provides for two options of compensating overtime work.

First, overtime work may be compensated by way of a statutory pay premium, which adds to the employee’s regular wages. The premium is 100% of the employee’s wages (based on the individual hourly or monthly rate) for overtime work performed at night and on Sundays and holidays which are not working days for the particular employee. For overtime work performed at other times the premium is 50% of the employee’s wages.

Second, overtime work may be compensated by providing time off in exchange. Here there are two further options. When the employee requests time off in lieu, the employer may provide it (but does not have to) in the same amount of hours as have been worked overtime. In the absence of the employee’s request, the employer may grant the employee time off of their own accord, but in this case the amount of time off in lieu must be 50% greater than the number of hours worked overtime. Employees provided time off in exchange for overtime work are not entitled to statutory pay premium.

In relation to employees holding particular positions there may apply different principles of compensating overtime work. For example, managers and heads of departments are expected to perform work also outside regular working hours without the right to compensation for overtime work (with a small exception related to work on Sundays and holidays, which was not rewarded by a day off). In relation to employees who work outside the office on a regular basis wages and the statutory pay premium for overtime work may be replaced by a lump-sum payment, which needs to be calculated in such a way as to reflect the number of overtime hours worked.

Calculating compensation for overtime hours is not an easy task, especially because you need to take into consideration work performed in excess of 8 hours a day as well as in excess of weekly working time, which is cleared in periods of several months. You must be careful not to calculate compensation for the same overtime work twice, which may happen if daily overtime work translates into exceeding weekly working hours over in a clearing period.

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How much time a week do you work in Poland?

On March 30, 2012, in Working Time and Leave, by Kalina Jaroslawska

I guess every labour law legislation has a chapter dedicated to working time. So does Polish Labour Code.

Five-day work week

The standard working time scheme is based on five working days in a week. Every week has seven days so two of them are free. First, it’s Sunday because it counts as a holiday/day off work by statute (with some exceptions, of course). Second, in planning the working time, the employer must provide for an additional day off work. It can be any day from Monday to Saturday – usually it’s Saturday, though.

Standard working time

The standard working time in a five-day work week is maximum 8 hours a day and, on average, 40 hours a week, within a clearing period not exceeding 4 months, as adopted by a particular employer. This means that the number of working hours may be more or less than 40 in a particular week, but altogether during the clearing period the average weekly working time may not exceed 40 hours.

The number of hours worked in a week, including overtime, may not exceed, on average,  48 hours during a clearing period adopted by a particular employer.

Apart from the standard working time scheme, the Labour Code allows for several additional schemes the aim of which is to make working time schedules more flexible. For example, the employee may apply to the employer for an individual working time schedule or a shortened work week. In a shortened work week system the employee works less then 5 days a week, but longer than 8 hours (though no longer than 12 hours) a day, within a clearing period not exceeding 1 month.

Rest breaks

Employees are entitled to daily and weekly rest breaks.

Daily rest breaks last no less than 11 hours.

Weekly rest breaks last for a continuous time of 35 hours, including at least 11 hours of continuous rest in every 24 hours. As a rule, weekly rest breaks should cover Sunday.

Employees whose daily working time amounts to at least 6 hours are entitled to a rest break of 15 minutes, which counts as working time.

Employers have the option to introduce an additional break of up to one hour per day, not counting as working time, for employees to have meals or deal with personal matters during work. Such breaks may be provided only via a collective labour agreement, internal working by-laws or the employment contract.

What kind of working time scheme are most common in your country? Drop me a work in the comments!

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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

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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

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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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