26.10.2021 Labour law

[Poland] Draft amendment to the PIP Act – new rights for labour inspectors

The National Labour Inspectorate (PIP) is currently working on a draft amendment to the regulations strengthening the powers of labour inspectors. What solutions may soon come into force and how will they affect the employing entities?

The Polish Order includes a proposal to eliminate the so-called junk contracts. At the same time, the PIP is working on an amendment to the Act on Inspection, which envisages, among other things, equalisation of the situation of an employee on a permanent contract and a civil law contract by providing inspectors with additional operational powers.

Changing a civil law contract into an employment contract?

The most significant change that may be introduced by the amendment to the PIP Act is a solution allowing labour inspectors to change civil law contracts into employment contracts by means of an administrative decision.

At present, if an inspector considers that work under a contract of mandate is performed under conditions characteristic for a full-time job, he may either request an employer to transform the contract into an employment contract or apply to the court to determine the existence of an employment relationship and order the transformation of this contract.

After the amendment, if adopted by the Sejm, the labour inspector will gain additional powers to issue an administrative decision regarding the requirement to change a civil law contract into an employment contract. Employers would have the right to appeal against such a decision to court. It may be expected, however, that if the amendment comes into force, PIP inspections will become more frequent, and for some employing entities there would be a need to verify the concluded agreements concerning the employment of employees.

The proposed changes are a response to the current situation on the labour market and the results of PIP inspections. In 2020, the National Labour Inspectorate revealed that over 8 percent of civil law contracts were concluded in conditions indicating an employment relationship, and as a result of PIP recommendations, employers transformed one and a half thousand civil law contracts into employment contracts. On the other hand, there were 21 suits to court for establishing an employment relationship and they concerned 40 individuals.

Learn more: National Labour Inspectorate (PIP): leave shorter than 14 days without a fine for employer

Amendments to the PIP Act – what are the other proposals?

The amendment to the PIP Act is also expected to cover other areas, including the way the inspection works, and it may introduce for good into the regulations the option of carrying out remote or hybrid inspections.

Moreover, there are also planned changes to allow inspectors to start inspections in enterprises without informing the employing entity a few days in advance of the planned inspection, and to give the inspectorate the power to conduct operational activities.

The exact provisions of the draft, however, are not known yet, but according to the announcements of the PIP, the drafted solutions are aimed primarily at ordering the labour market and strengthening and facilitating the activities of the National Labour Inspectorate.

Learn more: COVID-19 infection – when can it be considered an occupational disease?

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