Social security contributions in Poland are significant, particularly in the case of highly paid managers. As a result, it is common practice for managers to perform their duties as self-employed persons under management contracts. A recent Supreme Court decision confirmed that management contracts can still be performed by self-employed managers and that such business activity constitutes a basis for social security insurance if the manager is not a management board member.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that an employer can demand that an employee inform it of any additional activities that he or she undertakes during the employment period. If the employee fails to do so, this can justify his or her employment contract being terminated upon notice. The judgment confirms the court's existing position in this regard. However, the court's second conclusion concerning data protection is new and may raise doubts regarding its compliance with the Labour Code.
The Act Amending the Act on the Employment of Temporary Workers and Certain Other Acts recently entered into force. It introduces important changes and limitations concerning temporary work and aims to improve the temporary work market and counteract abusive practices. The amendment concerns all employers that hire temporary workers.
In a recent judgment concerning an employment agreement concluded with a pregnant woman, the Supreme Court stated that the actual and real performance of an employment relationship is decisive for determining whether the parties actually concluded an employment contract. Entitling a document 'employment agreement' and having it signed by the parties does not determine its legal status – rather, it is crucial that work is performed on the basis provided for in the employment contract.
The Supreme Court recently decided that bringing a claim against an employer for the unlawful termination of an employment contract pursuant to Article 45(1) of the Labour Code is not a prerequisite to obtaining an award of damages pursuant to Article 18(3d) of the code. The decision fundamentally changes the risks associated with serving a termination notice and terminating an employment contract and enables employees to make claims long after their employment has been terminated.
The Constitutional Tribunal recently found that the information claim mechanism provided for in the Industrial Property Law does not comply with the Constitution. Following the tribunal's ruling, the scope of the legal mechanisms to obtain information to determine the scale of an IP infringement has been reduced. However, the decision also makes it possible to protect entrepreneurs from the unjustified and unnecessary disclosure of business secrets.
Andrzej Sapkowski, a well-known Polish writer and author of The Witcher fantasy saga, recently requested additional remuneration of at least Z60 million from CD Projekt for a video game based on his work. Following the game's worldwide success, Sapkowski claimed under Article 44 of the Copyright Act that the remuneration granted to him was too low relative to the benefits derived from the exploitation of his work.
The Copyright Law provides no legal definition of what constitutes an 'audiovisual work', which has resulted in problems regarding the remuneration of authors and the role of collective management organisations in this context. The practical issues concerning remuneration for the use of audiovisual works underline the need to amend the Copyright Law, as the existing legislative gaps cannot be resolved by case law alone.
The Polish legislature is in the process of implementing the EU Trade Secrets Directive. The new legislation is considered to be generally compliant with the directive and is likely to come into force on June 9 2018. While the legislature should be praised for its attempt to implement the directive on time, work appears to be progressing too quickly in order to discover and eliminate possible deficiencies and guarantee the directive's full implementation.
There is an urgent need to improve the collective management system in Poland. The recent proposed introduction of the extended collective licensing model offers a chance to solve the existing legal and practical problems, but any such change should be considered and consistent with the whole collective management system in order to avoid further complications and the creation of new weaknesses in the legal framework.