a. New or Expected Developments
The growing importance of civil law contracts as well as increasingly more common use, at least at the statistical level, of temporary employment, signifies a tendency among employers to “free” themselves from the employment relationship in favour of more employer-friendly relationships. Rules governing the labour market are relentless and in every situation the general mechanism of performing work will tilt towards economically more favourable solutions. The legislator, for the time being, is turning the scale towards solutions that are more favourable socially, which understandably mean solutions less economically favourable for the labour market. Although the social character of labour law is economically favourable for employees, it is certainly not the case for employers. And, since employers employ employees and not the other way round, they are not willing to accept more public duties towards the employees. As a consequence of that, employees employed on the basis of contracts of employment, are squeezed out of the labour market, by persons performing work on the basis of civil law contracts. This closes the vicious circle into which the legislator seems to fall sometimes, when by introducing into the Labour Code regulations intended to protect employees, the legislator leads de facto to a situation where employees are losing jobs. The less flexible the model of an employment relationship, the less frequently it will be used by potential employers.
b. Recent Amendments to the Law
Act on minimal remuneration
Starting from 1st January 2017, there will enter into force the amendment to the Act on minimal remuneration (Journal of Laws of 2002, no. 200 item 1679). Its provision now will create a rule that not only those hired on a full time job, but also those performing their duties based on civil-law contracts to an extent comparable to labor-law based employment have to be awarded on the basis of the same single hourly rate amounting for 12 zlotys gross per hour. Minimal hourly remuneration is to be adapted in accordance with growth rate of minimal remuneration that was based on employment contract.
Such a regulation was created in order to curb the practice of abusing usage of civil-law contracts to perform duties that otherwise would be performed by employees hired on an employment contracts, the former being obviously underpaid for executing the same duties.
From now on, contractors will have to be awarded minimal wage. What is more, it has to be paid in cash. Employers will not be able to substitute part of wage with products manufactured by the contracting company. Payment of the remuneration has to be done at least once a month; contractors will not be able to be granted full remuneration effective on the completion of the contract. The legislator finally took a position that secures the interests of contractors. Role of their remuneration is to provide them with financial resources necessary to survive. In situation when the term of the contract was excessively long, there was a huge risk that they will stay without resources needed to lead a decent life.
Remuneration is to be calculated on the basis of hours actually worked. The way in which they will be established was left for the parties to decide. The Contractor will provide the employer with calculation of worked hours and the latter will either accept it or express comments.
Additionally, bonus for work during work time, differently than up to now, will not be calculated into the minimal remuneration. This provision favors those receiving minimal remuneration for their work, as until now, mentioned bonus was included into minimal wage, effectively even decreasing their hourly rate.