Summary of changes to labour law in the first quarter of 2018
The first quarter of 2018 brought numerous changes to labour law. The major changes are the ban on Sunday trading, the change of the rules of payment of contributions to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) and employment of foreigners. What should employers and employees bear in mind?
Increase of the minimum pay for work and the minimum hourly rate
According to the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 12 September 2017 on minimum remuneration for work and minimum hourly rates for 2018 (Dz.U. 2017 item 1747), the minimum pay for full-time employees in 2018 is PLN 2100, which is an amount higher by PLN 100 than in 2017. Also, the minimum hourly rate for individuals working under contracts of mandate and contracts for services subject to the provisions on mandate increased up to PLN 13.70 (an increase by PLN 0.70 as compared to 2017). Introduction of the minimum hourly rate resulted from the need to limit instances of lower pay for individuals employed under civil-law contracts as compared to individuals receiving remuneration for work, as well as the need to curb abuse of civil-law contracts.
Single payment to ZUS
Starting from 1 January 2018 the rules governing settlements with ZUS have changed. This change is a result of the amendment to the Act of 13 October 1998 on the Social Insurance System (consolidated text of 15 September 2017, Dz.U. of 2017 item 1778) in consequence of which Article 43b has been added. Five different contributions: to social insurance, health insurance, Labour Fund, Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund and the Bridging Pensions Fund are settled by payers by way of a single bank transfer made to their contribution account being an individual bank account. Each payer was informed about the number of their account in a written notice sent by ZUS. In case of lack of information in this respect, payers have to contact ZUS or check the individual bank account number on their own using the search option on the ZUS website.
Changes to employment of foreigners
The beginning of this year was the time of entry into effect of an amendment to the Act of 20 April 2004 on promotion of employment and on labour market institutions (consolidated text of 26 May 2017, Dz.U. of 2017 item 1065) which introduces changes, first of all, with regard to performance of short-term work in Poland by citizens of the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Belarus, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine. Such work is to be performed based on a statement on the intention of delegating work to a foreigner and is supposed to curb instances of abuse in this regard. The Act additionally introduces a new type of the work permit in the form of a short-term seasonal work permit in specific sectors (among others agriculture, gardening and tourism).
Ban on Sunday trading
1 March 2018 was the effective date of the Act of 10 January 2018 on limitation of trade on Sundays and holidays and some other days (Dz.U. of 2018 item 305). The Act sets the rules regarding limitation of trading and performing trade-related activities at commercial sites on Sundays and holidays as well as on 24 December and the Saturday directly preceding the first day of Easter. The Act introduces limitations on trading on Sundays, holidays, on 24 December and the Saturday directly preceding the Easter Sunday, as well as limits the possibility of delegating work in trade and performance of trade-related activities to employed or engaged individuals. Employees retain their right to remuneration for the non-working period resulting from the decreased amount of working time due to performance of work on 24 December or the Saturday directly preceding the first day of Easter by 200 p.m. Such remuneration is calculated with the use of the rules applicable to calculation of remuneration for the period of holiday leave. From 1 March to 31 December 2018 the above prohibition does not apply on the first and the last Sunday of each calendar month, unless there is a holiday on the first or the last Sunday of the calendar month. From 1 January to 31 December 2019, on the other hand, the ban will not be in force on the last Sunday of each calendar month, unless such a Sunday is a holiday. However, the prohibition does not apply, among others, to liquid fuel stations, pharmacies, post offices, railway stations and airports, as well as commercial sites with prevailing catering activities, online shops and places where trading is handled personally by an entrepreneur being a natural person.
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