Ongoing monitoring of the latest legislative changes is an essential part of HR departments' work. To help employers, this article highlights the most significant legislative changes so far in 2021, including with regard to blood donors being awarded an additional day off work, the extension of the additional carers' allowance and the National Labour Inspectorate's inspection plan for 2021.
This article presents a brief summary of the key changes that employers and employees will have to face in 2021, including with regard to the increase in the minimum wage, the obligation to notify contracts for specific work, remote working, COVID-19 vaccination and audits relating to use of anti-crisis shield instruments.
In order to prevent the negative impact of transport pollutant emissions on human health and the environment, the legislature passed the Act of 11 January 2018 on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels, which introduced the possibility for community councils to create clean transport zones. In such zones, vehicle traffic restrictions were introduced, from which certain vehicles were exempt. However, in response to public expectations, the ministry has proposed draft amendments to the act.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic dominated 2020, affected the business world and forced employers to adapt to new conditions. The legislative work of 2020 focused mainly on counteracting the COVID-19 pandemic's impact by supporting employers and preserving jobs. This article presents a brief summary of the key changes that employers and employees had to face in the difficult year of 2020.
The President of the Energy Regulatory Office recently announced the capacity fee rates for 2021. As of 1 January 2021, this fee will be added to electricity end-users' bills for the first time. This article provides an overview of the capacity fee, the rates thereof and the purpose of its introduction, as well as the key principals of the capacity market.
The Supreme Court recently applied Article 56(1)(6) of the Energy Law to clarify when the Polish regulator can impose an administrative fine on an energy company. The Supreme Court dealt with a situation where the tariff applied was contrary to the conditions specified therein. This verdict will have an important impact on similar administrative proceedings against trading companies.
Arbitration does not provide for legal aid or an exemption from paying costs. Some regard this as a disadvantage of alternative dispute resolution. One party's lack of funds to pay for its share of arbitration costs can indeed deprive it of its day in arbitration court. This issue recently came before the Warsaw Court of Appeals, which decided that a party's lack of funds to launch arbitration does not render the arbitration agreement defective.
During the COVID-19 pandemic many companies have decided to let their employees work from home. However, the issue of remote work is often problematic for Polish employers as it is not regulated in the Labour Code, which regulates only telework. The current regulations have not kept up with the changing circumstances and therefore pose difficulties regarding interpretation for employers. Employers should be careful and monitor both the situation and opinions presented by officials.
Pursuant to Article 20(3) et seq of EU Regulation 2019/943, some EU countries – including Poland – had to prepare a specific roadmap for the implementation of the new electricity market's principles, which could be adapted to accommodate the social and economic realities of the given country. This article summarises the actions taken by Poland to adapt its national legal environment to the requirements of the Clean Energy for all Europeans package.
A recent disagreement over a logotype illustrates a common situation where acquirers of an author's economic copyrights are convinced that they have exclusive rights to all forms of use and modification of the work without the need to obtain the author's consent. However, the reality is that in addition to the transfer of an author's economic copyright, agreements should also cover the possibility of making changes and using the modified works.
The issue of arbitral tribunals' application of EU law is not new. In the 1990s the European Court of Justice (ECJ) established that a national court which receives an application to annul an arbitration award must grant such application if it considers that the award in question is contrary to EU law. In recent years, this issue was revived in investment arbitration and the ECJ's famous (or for many, infamous) Achmea judgment. A landmark decision of the Warsaw Court of Appeals is yet another chapter in this story.
A second-instance court has rejected PKP Cargo's appeal against a Zl14.22 million (€3.2 million) abuse of dominance fine. The Office for Competition and Consumer Protection originally imposed the fine in 2015, as it found that PKP Cargo had abused its dominant position in the domestic rail freight market by unlawfully changing the rules for the sale of freight services, allowing the company to refuse to sign special contracts with competitors.
The National Council of Agricultural Chambers recently asked the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) to look into potential competition rule breaches in the soft fruit market, especially regarding the sale of gooseberries. According to gooseberry growers, the buying price of gooseberries is too low compared with the potential price of further sale. The UOKiK is set to investigate Poland's soft fruit market over suspected price fixing.
In recent weeks, information has been published concerning the draft amendment to the Act of 8 December 2017 on the Capacity Market. The amendment aims to adapt Polish regulations to reflect the new electricity market structure agreed at the EU level as part of the Clean Energy for all Europeans package. The Ministry of Climate is responsible for the draft law, the adoption of which is planned for the third quarter of 2020.
For the past few months, legislative work has primarily focused on COVID-19. However, the anti-crisis shield is not the only issue that employers should pay attention to in the near future. On the horizon there are changes concerning the posting of employees and potential changes with respect to 'mobbing' (ie, workplace bullying).
In a long-running dispute, well-known musician Małgorzata Ostrowska took legal action concerning the use of songs, for which she had written the lyrics, against Grzegorz Stróżniak, her former band colleague and the composer and co-author of the songs. As the dispute could not be settled amicably, Ostrowska turned to the courts for help and asked for the right to manage the disputed songs to be transferred to the collective management organisation for free, without the need to obtain Stróżniak's consent.
Under the Competition Act, when an undertaking is fined for being a party to a restrictive agreement, the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) can impose financial penalties on the undertaking's managers. The UOKiK recently published a soft law document which provides detailed rules for determining such penalties. According to the new guidelines, fine calculations are a multi-stage process in which an array of objective and subjective criteria are taken into account.
Following public consultations conducted by the minister of state assets, the Ministry of Climate has published a new version of the draft Promotion of Electricity Generation in Offshore Wind Farms Act. The structure of the draft act, as well as the basic shape of the support system, remain largely intact. However, a number of changes have been made, including with respect to the definition of an 'offshore wind farm'.
The issue of an arbitral tribunal's jurisdiction over set-off claims that are not covered by an arbitration agreement is controversial, with the rules differing from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In a recent judgment, the Warsaw Court of Appeals held that even if a set-off claim is based on an agreement that is outside the scope of an arbitration agreement, the tribunal must determine the set-off's effects on the main claim raised in the proceedings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in certain changes to Polish law which affect selected financial aspects of the employee ownership programmes implemented in Poland by foreign companies. The pertinent changes involve the local labour law regulations which govern salary deductions for the purpose of covering the subscription price of the financial instruments offered to local employees who participate in such programmes.