2011 Changes in the labor law

Part of the project called anti-crisis package concerning changes to the labor law is currently being discussed in the Sejm. Anti-crisis package consists of 13 points negotiated by employers and trade unions. Most of them concerns changes to the labor law to maintain the employment during crisis.

Solutions are temporary and shall be in force till 31 December 2011. Part of the regulations concerns all employers regardless their financial situation, and part only those who due to the crisis have temporary problems.

Solutions available to all employers:

  • prolongation of the settlement period for work hours for 12 months. i.e. in the periods of higher work demands the employer shall have the right to require from the employee longer hours than stipulated by the law 8 hours. After decreasing the number of orders the employee would work shorter. In this solution employee is granted at least 11 hours of rest.
  • implementation of so-called flexible work hours. It means the possibility to start and finish work at different times. Starting and finishing work in the same 24 hours shall not be considered as overtime work and employee is granted at least 11 hours of rest. Those who bring up minors till 14 or take care of a sick person in their families are entitled to flexible work hours on their own request.

Work agreements for the specified periods of time shall not be concluded for longer than 24 months. It shall apply also to the agreements valid on the day of the Act coming into force.

Solutions available to employers who find themselves in problems during crisis:

  • decrease employees’ work hours along with proportional change in their remuneration without the necessity to sign so-called changing termination. However, the workload should be at least half-time of the regular hours and the decrease in work cannot last longer than six months.
  • getting additional financing, so-called economic stoppage, from Guaranteed Employee Benefit Fund – Economic stoppage is release from the work obligation due to lack of orders in the company. According to the project it may last up to six months during which an employee shall receive at least minimum remuneration. Part of it in the amount equal to unemployment benefit shall be financed from the Guaranteed Employee Benefit Fund, the rest - up to the amount of minimum remuneration - shall be paid by the employer.

Employers entitled to the additional financing are: those whose turnover decreased, in terms of quantity or value, by - at least 30% - in the preceding four quarters to the filing the motion for financing, are not in the arrears with taxes, contributions for ZUS and Labour Fund, and are solvent. Employers who despite the financial troubles shall not dismiss the employees and organize trainings or send them to studies shall also be entitled to additional financial help from the government. The amount of the help for one employee cannot be higher than 300% of an average remuneration and the costs incurred for the training fund can be regarded as tax-deductible costs.

Changes to the regulation concerning the receivables payment to employees in the event of the company’s insolvency are also included in the project. In this case employees shall be entitled to the immediate advance payment towards receivables due to the company’s insolvency without waiting for the court’s decision in this matter. In the project justification the labor department stipulates that about 250 thousand people shall benefit from the Act and 50 thousand shall obtain refund of trainings or post-graduate studies costs.

It should be emphasized that without financial help the unemployment rate would increase from 11% in April up to 12,6% towards the end of the year. The government would like the Sejm to accept the project before the recess.

Kancelaria Prawna 90-060 Łódź, ul. Nawrot 4/1, tel./fax +48 /42/ 630 58 41, tel. +48 /42/ 632 51 44,
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