Posted workers, Sunday trading, trade unions for contractors and new Labour Codes: recent and anticipated changes

From 18 June 2016, foreign employers posting employees to Poland have new duties regarding contacts with the Labour Inspectorate (“PIP”) and storage of documents. In the coming years, a number of further changes to labour law are anticipated, including a new Labour Code.

New rules on posting employees

The Act of 10 June 2016 on posting employees in the framework of the provision of services has implemented the EU Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive.

As was already the case, foreign employers who post employees to Poland are obliged to ensure minimum working conditions no less favorable than those resulting from the Labour Code where the posting is (i) in connection with the execution of an agreement concluded between a foreign employer and another entity, (ii) to a group company, establishment or undertaking, or (iii) as a temporary work agency. In addition, the foreign employer must now appoint a person, who stays in Poland during the period of posting, to act as intermediary for contact with the PIP. There is also a new obligation to keep certain documents relating to posted workers in Poland, such as a copy of an employment contract and documents related to working time.

The foreign employer must also notify the PIP of certain matters, including the number of employees to be posted and the duration of the posting. This information must be provided no later than the date on which the posting of the first employee starts. Where an employer already had posted workers in Poland on 18 June 2016, the deadline for compliance was 18 September 2016.

Sunday trading

A citizens’ proposal for an Act restraining Sunday trading has been introduced to the Parliament and awaits its first reading. The draft law aims to prohibit any form of trade on a Sunday, including e-commerce. There will be a limited number of exceptions such as pharmacies, petrol stations and individual entrepreneurs other than franchisees and agents. In addition, trading will still be allowed on certain Sundays during the calendar year.

The prohibition will also affect other commerce-related industries such as warehouses, logistics centers. Several activities in commerce-related businesses will be allowed on Sundays but only with the consent of the staff.

Trade unions

The Constitutional Tribunal (in Case No.: K 1/13) has ruled that the current wording of the Act of 23 May 1991 on trade unions does not fully give effect to the constitutional freedom of association since it does not guarantee contractors the right to associate. The government is planning to amend the Act to grant contractors who perform work personally the right to establish and join trade unions.

New Codes planned

On 15 September 2016, the Labour Law Codification Committee was appointed to prepare drafts of two new codes within 18 months: a Labour Code and a Collective Labour Law Code. The Committee consists of 14 members who are specialists in labour law. The current Labour Code has been in force since 1974.