Minimum wage, holidays and working time

Minimum wage

From 1 January 2013 the minimum wage will increase to PLN 1600 (gross). There will be a corresponding rise in certain benefits paid by the employer that are calculated by reference to  the minimum wage, for example allowances for night time work.

Additional paid day off when public holiday is on a day free from work.

The Constitutional Tribunal has reviewed the Labour Code (LC) rules on public holidays.

Previously under the LC, if a public holiday fell on Saturday (or on any other non working day except Sunday), employees were not entitled to receive an extra day’s paid leave. However, the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that this regulation was inconsistent with Article 32(1) of the Constitution, which guarantees equal treatment. Consequently, from 8 October 2012, the regulation is no longer binding.

The effect of the ruling is that employers are obliged to grant employees a paid day off, within a particular timescale, if a public holiday falls on a Saturday (or other non-working day except Sunday). Employers will have to amend any workplace regulations that do not accord with the new approach.

To illustrate the effect of the change, if Polish Independence Day, 11 November, were to fall on a Saturday, an employee who does not normally work on a Saturday will be entitled to an additional paid day off. Alternatively the employer must pay the employee overtime pay.

Fortunately, for the majority of employees for whom Saturday is a day off, in an average five-day working week this change will be of limited significance in both 2012 and 2013 as no statutory holidays fall on a Saturday during these years. However, it could affect those who work on Saturdays but have some other day between Monday to Friday as a day off.

Working Time

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is currently working on amendments to Section 6 of the Labour Code which regulates working time. The amendments are aimed at making working time more flexible. Watch this space for further developments.