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The Polish act of 10 June 2016 on the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (Journal of Laws of 2016 Item 868) entered into force on 18 June 2016. The act gives the National Labour Inspectorate the right to ask control questions to Polish customers of companies posting workers to Poland. If no answer is provided, the inquired company is liable to a fine of up to PLN 30,000. Moreover, the act imposes new obligations on employers posting workers to Poland and if they do not meet them, the company is also liable to a fine. 

The act transposes into the Polish legislation the Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System. Pursuant to Article 23(1) of the Directive 2014/67/EU, Member States are obliged to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 18 June 2016.

The new regulations apply mainly to foreign employers posting their workers to Poland, and to some extent also to Polish enterprises that post their workers abroad – to EU countries or to countries that have undertaken under an agreement with the EU to implement Directives 96/71/EC and 2014/67/EU into their national legislation (hereinafter the Member States). Nonetheless, the provisions of the act also apply accordingly to workers who are posted to Poland by an employer established in a country other than a Member State.

What conditions of employment must be guaranteed to employees posted to work in Poland?

The employer posting a worker to Poland must guarantee him/her the conditions of employment no less favourable than those stipulated in the Polish Labour Code and other regulations governing the rights and obligations of workers. The conditions concern the following:

  • working time standards and hours as well as uninterrupted rest in 24-hour and weekly periods,
  • amount of the holiday leave,
  • minimum remuneration for work,
  • overtime pay and overtime allowance,
  • occupational safety and health,
  • protection of pregnant employees and protection during their maternity leave,
  • employment or hiring of juveniles,
  • equal treatment in employment and no discrimination,
  • performance of work according to the provisions on the employment of temporary workers.

The act introduces special provisions for workers posted to Poland to perform services connected with construction work or building structure upkeep (such as earthwork, renovation, demolition, maintenance, etc.). The contractor who commissions that kind of work to an employer posting his workers to Poland, is jointly and severally liable towards the workers for any overdue remunerations, together with the employer. The contractor may be released from that liability if he exercises due care meaning that he provides the posting employer with written information about the conditions of employment in Poland and obtains from him a confirmation of filing a "Declaration of the employer posting his worker to Poland" with the Polish National Labour Inspectorate.

What are the new powers of the National Labour Inspectorate related to posting workers?

The National Labour Inspectorate checks, among other things, if workers are lawfully posted to Poland whenever there are doubts if a given person may be considered a posted worker. To this end, the Labour Inspectorate tries to establish:

  • whether the employer posting the worker to Poland actually conducts a major business activity in the country from which the employee is posted, other than internal management or administrative activities, and
  • whether the worker posted to Poland performs his/her work here temporarily only.

The Polish National Labour Inspectorate checks also the conditions of employment of workers posted to Poland.

The National Labour Inspectorate has the right to request posting employers and enterprises in the meaning of the Freedom of Economic Activity Act "to provide necessary information concerning the posting of workers to or from Poland in reply to reasonable requests therefor from competent authorities, pertaining especially to those workers, their employment conditions and the employer posting the workers to or from Poland". This means that the information obligation applies not only to the posting enterprises but to all businesses – that is also the customers of those enterprises or their subsidiaries to which the workers are posted. 

The National Labour Inspectorate has the right to ask enterprises for information about the posting of workers.

Competent authorities mean foreign counterparts of the Polish National Labour Inspectorate in charge of supervising the observance of laws on posting workers in their country.

The posting employers, or other enterprises, whom the National Labour Inspectorate asks about posting should provide the requested information within 10 working days of the day of receiving the request. 

Is the Polish National Labour Inspectorate entitled to share information on posting workers in Poland with the authorities of Member States?

The National Labour Inspectorate is obliged to provide necessary information about posting workers in Poland to the authorities of Member States, as well as to perform inspections at their request. On the other hand, the National Labour Inspectorate has been given the right to ask the competent authorities of Member States to inspect employers posting their workers from Poland to those countries.

The information exchanged with Member States' authorities includes especially any irregularities or offences related to the posting of workers to or from Poland, as well as information on the employment conditions of workers posted to Poland.

What are the new obligations of employers posting workers to Poland?

The act imposes some new obligations on employers posting their workers to Poland. They are obliged to appoint a person (residing in Poland) authorised to represent the company in dealings with the National Labour Inspectorate, as well as to send and receive documents and notifications. 

During the posting period the posting employers should keep the following documents (in electronic or paper form) in Poland:

  1. 1a copy of the employment contract of the posted worker, or another equivalent document confirming the conditions of employment under the employment relationship,
  2. documentation of the posted worker's working hours (start and finish time) and the number of hours worked on a given day, or a copy of such records,
  3. documents showing the amount of the remuneration of the posted worker and the amount(s) of deductions made in accordance with the applicable law, as well as confirmations of payment of the remuneration or copies thereof.

For workers who had already been posted when the act became effective (18 June 2016), the deadline for meeting the obligation to keep the documents in Poland expires within 3 months (on 18 September 2016).

At the request of the National Labour Inspectorate, the posting employer is obliged to make the abovementioned documents and their translations into Polish available within 5 days of receiving the request. The National Labour Inspectorate may also submit such a request within 2 years of the end of the posting period, in which case the documents are to be made available within 15 working days.

What should the employer posting his workers to Poland inform the National Labour Inspectorate about?

Employers posting their workers to Poland must file with the National Labour Inspectorate a "Declaration of the employer posting his worker to Poland" in which they should include without limitation the employer's identification details and information concerning the posting (the number of posted workers, posting period and other information), contact details of the person authorised to represent the company in dealings with the National Labour Inspectorate and to send and receive documents and notifications, as well as the place of storing the posting documentation in Poland. The said declaration should be submitted on-line or on paper no later than on the first day of the service provision.

For workers who had already been posted when the act became effective (18 June 2016), the deadline for filing the declaration expires within 3 months (on 18 September 2016).

In the case of changes of:

  • the employer's identification details, 
  • the person authorised to represent the company in dealings with the National Labour Inspectorate, as well as to send and receive documents and notifications,
  • the place of storing the posting documentation in Poland,
  • the National Labour Inspectorate should be notified within 7 working days of the change.

What penalties can the National Labour Inspectorate impose on the employer if he fails to provide the posting-related information?

If the entity does not provide the posting-related information requested by the National Labour Inspectorate, it is liable to a fine from PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000. Similar penalties may be imposed if employers posting their workers to Poland fail to meet the new statutory obligations.

What is the role of the National Labour Inspectorate if the employer posting his workers abroad is fined?

If it is foreign authorities that file a request to inform the employer posting a worker from Poland about an administrative penalty imposed on him for violating regulations on the posting of workers, the task of the National Labour Inspectorate is limited to checking whether the request meets formal requirements and if the penalty decision is final. Then it informs the Polish employer about the decision. This regulation makes it a lot easier to fine Polish enterprises. Moreover, you must remember that fines imposed abroad may be several times higher than those imposed in Poland – some of them may reach 500 thousand euro.

The National Labour Inspectorate may, however, in some cases, refuse to enforce the penalty decision and return it to the foreign authorities. Firstly, this may happen when the costs of debt collection are disproportionate to the penalty, or if the debt collection is excessively difficult. Secondly, the National Labour Inspectorate may do so if the fine is less than 350 euro. Thirdly, they can do it if the penalty decision contravenes the fundamental principles of the Polish legal system.

Summary: Labour law in Poland – new supervision rights of the Polish National Labour Inspectorate (Polish: PIP) related to posting of workers and new obligations of employers.

The new supervision rights of the Polish National Labour Inspectorate and the new obligations of employers will definitely take their toll on the posting enterprises and their customers. It is worth using the help of professionals to complete all the formalities and to avoid tough penalties. 

We would be glad to provide you with more information if you are interested in this or other issues in the area of labour law in Poland. Our attorneys-in-law also offer legal advice in Poland on other issues. They are at your disposal in Rödl & Partner offices in: Gdansk, Gliwice, Cracow, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw.