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POLAND: Labour Code reform

The Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social policy announced more details on a broad overhaul of the Labour Code. A special legal committee has already spent a year working on the reform, with another 6 months to go until the draft is ready. Leaves of absence and vacation days will now have to be all used up within one year – up to now, employees could cumulate their vacation days over the span of two or three years. Discretionary bonuses will also be regulated, to avoid abuses where the management grants itself premiums often, the Ministry argues. New rules on discrimination in the workplace are still being devised. On the Polish market, women earn on average 17% less than men in the same position.

No proposals have yet been revealed on the so-called junk contracts. In Poland, compulsory social and health insurance, though usually paid for by employers, is set at a fixed cost, which means the wealthiest and poorest alike owe similar fees. This leads to several problems. Employers can find it difficult to pay social insurance for poorer employees, and sometimes end up hiring them on informal, untaxed terms. In junk contracts, among other problems, the burden of health and social insurance falls on the employee, sometimes pushing their final income below minimum wage. Still, it is not known how PiS is looking to resolve the issue, although officials have been adamant it is one of the priorities.