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(en) Poland, ZSP: Crisis of junk employment - firm action needed [machine translation]

Date Thu, 26 Mar 2020 09:19:22 +0200

The crisis situation of employees employed under junk contracts has been increasing for years. Now this problem can no longer be swept under the rug. A firm action plan is needed. ---- People on a low income who have lost their jobs due to epidemics and quarantine must receive support. However, we do not accept the idea that this support would amount to 80% of the minimum wage. Putting this way hits the very idea of a minimum wage. No remuneration (and this is how guaranteed income should be treated during quarantine) should not be lower than the minimum remuneration. We do not accept the one-time help character. We do not know at the moment whether the situation will last for a long period. There are also no offers for people who have been dismissed (or have not been extended junk contracts) because of a pandemic.

The government has decided that only contractors who signed contracts before March 1 should get help. Why? Is the government really unaware that some employers renew (or not) contracts even on a monthly basis?

The crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic must be used to fundamentally heal the situation of those working on junk contracts who are actually performing work under an employment contract. It is also important to ensure that companies create real jobs instead of using this form of deception sanctioned by many years of tradition.

There is no precise information yet about how the government plans to pay assistance to those working on the mandate contract. The submission of a payment application should be an opportunity to check whether there should be a need to change the garbage contract into an employment contract. For example, the application could contain an information field with the following questions:

do you work for the same company
a) less than a year (if yes, how many months)
b) 1-2 years
c) more than 2 years
d) more than 5 years
Did you perform work of a specific type for the employer and under his supervision (*) and at the place and time designated by the employer?
(*) Management does not have to be direct and does not have to rely on each specific task and does not have to mean the physical presence of the supervisor.

An affirmative answer to question 2 will mean that there was an employment relationship and the contract signed with the employer was by law a contract of employment (Article 22 of the Labor Code, paragraph 1 1 ) regardless of the form of the contract actually signed.

If the applicant's response indicates that the work had the features of an employment relationship or that the work on the commission contract lasted more than a year, the case should be automatically referred to the National Labor Inspectorate to check whether there was a breach of law by using the wrong form of contract. It should be possible to officially change the garbage contract into an employment contract if it is based in the Labor Code. Such competence could be obtained by an inspector of the National Labor Inspectorate. In addition, companies that violated the Labor Code by applying civil law contracts in place of employment contracts should be excluded from anti-crisis assistance from the state budget.

The government is currently working on a draft amendment to the Labor Code. Unfortunately, there are no significant changes foreseen for people on the mandate contract. We know that people who perform the same work as employees on employment contracts often work in this way. In some industries, many employees are doomed to work on fictitious contracts of employment, which deprives them of important labor rights, which is particularly acute in a crisis like the one we are dealing with today.

The epidemic showed very clearly how much it is necessary to strengthen the competence of the National Labor Inspectorate and introduce far-reaching changes to the Labor Code. The loopholes that employers use to reduce employees' rights must be sealed and far more severe penalties should be imposed in the event of employers abusing junk contracts.

Association of Polish Syndicalists

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