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24 February 2021
Minimum wage increased
Obligation to notify contracts for specific work
Can employers require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Audits relating to use of anti-crisis shield instruments
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.
As of 1 January 2021, the minimum wage has increased and is now Zl2,800 gross per month, which is a Zl200 increase compared with 2020. From the beginning of 2021, the minimum hourly rate for persons working based on contracts of mandate or contracts for the provision of services has also increased from Zl17 to Zl18.30 gross.
Along with the increase in the minimum wage there has been an increase in other employment benefits, which are calculated based on the minimum wage. This applies, among other things, to:
Pursuant to the act on the special principles of termination of employment relationships with employees for reasons not relating to employees, the maximum amount of severance pay cannot be more than 15 times the minimum wage. Therefore, in 2021 this will be Zl42,000.
However, the anti-crisis shield has introduced limitations according to which, as long as the state of epidemic threat or the state of epidemic continues, the amount of severance pay, compensation or other financial benefit paid in connection with termination of an employment contract cannot be more than 10 times the minimum wage. Only employers that have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to benefit from this limitation.
The increase in the minimum wage also has an impact on the increase in the amounts free of deductions.
From 1 January 2021, the remitter of contributions or natural person commissioning specific work must inform the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) about the conclusion of every contract for a specific work if:
Notification of a contract for specific work is made by means of a specific application form within seven days of its conclusion. The form may be submitted electronically via the ZUS's electronic services platform. The introduction of this obligation will enable the ZUS to keep records of the above contracts. The obligation to notify a contract is not tantamount to payment of social security contributions on account of that contract.
Employers should review contracts for specific work to check whether, in each case, the object of such a contract indicates the performance of specific work or instead meets the conditions for performance of a mandate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more employers deciding to introduce remote working in their workplaces. Unfortunately, the performance of remote work has not yet been regulated in the Labour Code and the solutions proposed in the anti-crisis shield are only of an ad hoc nature. As the pandemic continues unabated, there is no doubt that remote working will stay around for longer and therefore it requires comprehensive regulation.
According to press information provided by the Labour Ministry to the Polish Press Agency, legislative work in this respect is already underway. The ministry expects that consultations with the social partners on the amendment will be completed in the first quarter of 2021. The provisions will be constructed in a way general enough to allow remote working to be largely regulated by an agreement concluded between the employee and the employer.
The commencement of the national COVID-19 vaccination programme has led more employers to wonder what impact vaccination will have on the functioning of workplaces. The Labour Code indicates a general obligation of employers to provide safe and hygienic work environments for workers. Does this mean that employers will be able to require the vaccination of all employees? Can the vaccination requirement be one of the criteria for deciding whether to hire a job candidate? Can non-vaccinated workers be restricted in any way in their movement within the workplace? Since there are many doubts regarding this topic, this issue will likely also be regulated by the legislature in 2021.
Another issue that will require attention in 2021 is the audits relating to accounting for the instruments used by employers within the framework of the anti-crisis shield.
The National Labour Inspectorate announced that in 2021 it intends to carry out 52,000 audits. According to the announcements, inspectors will verify whether:
In addition, employers that have received aid from the provincial labour offices and the ZUS will have to consider the necessity to undergo an audit to check whether the funds received have been used in accordance with the law.
For further information on this topic please contact Agnieszka Fedor or Aneta Brzózka at Soltysiński Kawecki & Szlęzak by telephone (+48 22 608 7000) or email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Sołtysiński Kawecki & Szlęzak website can be accessed at www.skslegal.pl.
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