An accident at work is understood to mean:
- a sudden event caused by external factors;
- which results in injury or death; and
- which takes place when the employee remains at the disposal of the employer between the employer's office and the place of performance of the obligation arising from the employment relationship.
An accident on the way to or from work is generally a sudden event caused by external factors respectively on the way from home to work and from work to home.
According to one of the latest Supreme Court judgments, the death of an employee using company transport provided by the employer to carry out an employee's commute from their home to the employer's establishment can qualify as an accident at work. The condition for such qualification is that the employee's use of the vehicle must be connected with the obligation to attend the employer's establishment. This decision affects the compensation that an employee's family may receive in the event of the employee's death. If the death is as a result of an accident at work, the family of the employee is entitled to one-off compensation, which is not normally due if death is caused by an accident on the way to or from work.
Simplification of immigration procedures for foreign employees
The new Act on Foreigners came into force from 1 May 2014 and introduced changes to the immigration procedures for foreign employees. Foreign employees will now be able to apply for both a residence permit and a work permit as part of the same application. Previously only an employer could obtain a work permit for a foreign employee, and the employee's duty to obtain a residence permit separately. Now however foreign employees can apply in one single procedure for both permits: the work and residence permit. Unfortunately the new law does not apply to foreigners who are not currently resident in Poland. For these employees their future employer must still apply for a work permit, while the prospective employee must obtain a visa from a Polish Consulate abroad before arriving in Poland. It is not possible for an employee to apply for both entitlements in one single procedure if the he or she is not yet resident in Poland.
Extension of employee protection in an insolvency situation
From 26 July 2014 there is a new way to satisfy an employee's claims from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund (PL: Fundusz Gwarantowanych Świadzeń Pracowniczych). From this date the list of decisions issued by the Insolvency Court, which declares an employer insolvent, will be extended. Currently, an employer can also be declared insolvent when the Bankruptcy Court issues a decision on initiation of insolvency proceedings. The previous legislation did not allow the payment of benefits from the Fund to the employees of an employer who has been declared bankrupt after the initiation of insolvency proceedings.