The Warsaw Network

Presently, all companies in Poland are subjects to provisions of the labour code. This solution isn’t optimal, since work conditions in different sectors and in companies of different size are quite varied. And there is only one labour code. This causes a situation when the same rules apply to companies in different branches. Exceptions are rare – then special provisions regulate very specific matters. Such special regulations concern for example, rules of work time tracking among drivers.

The labour code doesn’t regulate work time of associates, or self-employed. But the system is to be significantly changed. At the beginning of September, a regulation regarding creation of codification commission of labour law appeared. It was signed by Prime  Minister Beata Szydło.

The goal of the commission is to create individual labour law code, but also a new regulation – an act regulating creation and dividing of collective-work systems. This may be a revolution in Polish law system. Industry or work-place collective-work systems, negotiated by employers and unions, will be more important than labour code provisions. The code will become sort of “act of secondary-importance.” For instance, it will be used in case of points of dispute or when there would be no collective-work system, or the system wouldn’t be precise.

They are employers and employees who, by means of negotiations, are to establish basic matters concerning payments, working time and working conditions. It is a revolution in relation to current system. New solutions are supposed to be more flexible and beneficial for both employees and employers. They will require abilities of cooperation and negotiation, though. From the business perspective, a new niche appears on the horizon. Creation, amending and verifying collective-work systems may be a lucrative profession in the future.

Changes are going in interesting direction, they can change labour market. But they also carry some risk. Poles are one of the most suspicious societies in Europe. Many books could be written about causes of such situation (especially concerning our history), but such distrust may be an obstacle in negotiations. The issue of ability of employers and union members of communicating peacefully and quietly becomes vital. Soon this ability will have significant impact on effectiveness of Polish economy.

On the other hand, possibility of negotiating may turn out to be miraculous – we might finally appreciate the art of compromising. Near future will show what will be the outcome.

Codification commission is to finish its work in 18 months. It will base on the projects prepared in 2007. They will be verified, though.

Artur Kiełbasiński