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As of 25 May 2018 the new provisions of the Labour Code are in force, which regulate surveillance at place of work and new obligations of the employer related thereto.

Video surveillance can be used in order to ensure safety of employees, security of property, control over manufacturing process or keeping confidential information, which if disclosed could expose the employer to damage. The surveillance of emails and other types of surveillance can be used, if it is necessary to ensure such organisation of work which enables full use of working time, or proper use of work tools or equipment entrusted to the employee.

The legislator has also introduces provisions ensuring protection of personal interests, in particular confidentiality of correspondence and privacy of employees, among others by prohibiting surveillance in wash rooms, canteens, locker rooms or premises used by trade unions.

The new provisions also impose certain new obligations on the employers. This concerns first and foremost introducing to the workplace regulations (or collective bargaining agreement) provisions setting out the purpose, scope and manner of surveillance.

This obligation concerns also these employers, who are not obliged to adopt workplace regulations – such employers should address these issues in an internal announcement. Employees should be also informed two weeks in advance about planned launch date of surveillance.

Furthermore, the notification obligations extend to all new employees, as well concerns visibly designating premises in which surveillance is carried out.

The new provisions determine how long can the employer keep the records of surveillance and what should be done with them.  

The new regulation is relevant, because it specifically addresses the issue which for number of years was present in day to day practice and frequently caused practical difficulties. Simultaneously, to the large extent, the new provisions are coherent with good practices of employers concerning surveillance at the place of work.  In connection with implementation of the new regulation, the employers are obliged to update the workplace regulations or to carry out the aforementioned information obligations.


On 8 January 2018 the latest version of the draft of the Act on Transparency of Public Affairs was published. The bill introduces provisions on protection of whistleblowers and obligations in terms of implementation of compliance procedures, which will be applicable to all medium and larger business entities regardless of the type of industry or business.


Any employee, public official, soldier, self-employed individual or individual hired under non-employment contract can receive the status of a whistleblower. The decision is in hands of a prosecutor if credible information is disclosed by the individual, concerning  specific crimes such as bribery, organized crime, forgery of invoices, fraud, credit scams, securities fraud, money laundering, corruption related to production and sales of drugs and medicines and others.

Protection of whistleblower

Once the whistleblower status is granted, the employer will not be able to dismiss a whistleblower employee without the consent of the prosecutor running the case. The same rule apply to non-employees whistleblowers.

The bill also provides for an obligation to obtain the prosecutor’s consent to unilaterally change the conditions of contracts to the detriment of whistleblowers.

The prosecutor should decide whether to consent to a whistleblower’s dismissal within 30 days from receiving motion in this regard.

The protection extends during the entire period of the criminal proceedings, as well as one year after termination of the proceedings. So in practice the period of protection may last for several years.


In event that whistleblower’s contract were terminated or changed without the consent of prosecutor, the whistleblower would be entitled to damages. Depend on the type of contract held by the whistleblower and the damages can amount to (i) twice the annual salary of a whistleblower employee or (ii) the total amount payable to a non-employee whistleblower pursuant to the parties’ contract from the date of termination of the contract through the end of the stated term of the contract.

Absolute protection

The protection afforded by the bill to whistleblowers would in practice be broader than any other type of protection afforded by the labor law, even comparing to protection of pregnant employees or employees at pre-retirement age. Moreover, the protection is not canceled by commencement of liquidation of the employer or declaration of its insolvency aimed at liquidation.

Ethics and anticorruption polices / compliance

Moreover,  it is important to point out that every medium and larger business entities regardless of the type of industry or business should introduce internal anticorruption policy and procedures in their organization. Anticorruption procedures should consist of organizational and technical measures and HR solutions. What is significant, anticorruption procedure should be applied in a way which guarantees its effectiveness and enforcement. Thus, this internal act should prevent from arising anticorruption mechanisms in organization and provide anticorruption trainings. It is also necessary to apply the code of anticorruption with declaration rejecting corruption signed by employees and business partners. Anticorruption clause shall be included in contract terms. Your anticorruption procedures to prevent bribery must include gift and hospitality provisions. When  assessing the condition of effectiveness and enforcement of anticorruption procedure it is curtail to validate whistleblowing system.

In case of corruption event occurs, and prosecutor has charged allegations, Polish Central Anti-Corruption Bureau will be empowered to investigate whether anticorruption procedure were implemented in effective manner. After the investigation Polish Central Anti-Corruption Bureau Chef may prepare a motion for fine up to 10 000 000 PLN, addressed to Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.  Business entity may pay fine before the decision is issued by Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. Entrepreneur which was fined by Office of Competition and Consumer Protection may not take part in procedure regarding the award of public procurement for a period of five years.

Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland may assist with preparation of anticorruption policies and procedures. We also help our clients in the process of implementation of effective whistleblowing systems in cooperation with E-nform – specialized IT solutions provider.  


blog wierzbowski eversheds sutherlandAt the end of May 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation will replace the current directive regulating this issue as well as the current Polish Personal Data Protection Act. The changes will also impact laws of the processing of personal data of employees. The draft of the Act – Provisions introducing the new general data protection act was published on 12 September 2017.

The amendments to provisions concerning the processing of personal data of employees were long expected by employers. The current legal status has often failed to meet the demands and realities of the contemporary employment relationship. Also, the conservative judgments of some courts which challenged the legal effects of the employee's consent to the processing of certain personal data were not helping.

Current legislation, specifically art. 22 (1) §1 of the Labor Code provides that the employer may require the job applicant (or employee) to give his full name, parents' full names, date of birth, place of residence and address for correspondence, education, current employment history.

In addition, §2 of this Article allows the employer to request other personal data of the employee, such as the names and dates of birth of the employee's children, if such information is required because the employee is exercising special entitlements under the labor law. In addition, the employer may also request the PESEL number.

In the case of other personal data, the Labor Code allows their request, provided that the obligation to supply them to the employer results from other provisions of the law.

The planned changes largely meet the expectations of employers, inter alia, by updating the list of data that can be requested from employees. Pursuant to the new art. 22 (1) §1 of the Labor Code, the employer will still be able to require: employee's full name, date of birth, address for correspondence, education, current employment history. The novelty is to add an email address or phone number to this list, while removing the name of the employee's parents.

Moreover, if the employee does not have a PESEL number, the employer will be able to demand the type and number of the employee's identification document.

However, the most important change will result from the newly added art. 22 (2) §1 of the Labor Code. This provision expressis verbis allows for the processing of other data of the employee or job applicants, than those listed in art. 22 (1) §1 and 2, if the employee or the job applicant agrees to it in writing or electronically and simultaneously, if the data relates to the employment relationship. In the case of biometric data, the employer will be able to process them if they relate to the employment relationship and only with regards to employees, and therefore not to job applicants. The processing of biometric data will be subject to the consent of the employee. The exception to this new rule will be personal data relating to addictions, health, sexuality and sexual orientation of an employee or job applicant. The employer will not be allowed to process this data, even if the employee (job applicant) has consented to it.

Another novelty in the Labor Code will be art. 22 (4), which will provide a legal basis for monitoring employees. Pursuant to it, the monitoring can be used to ensure the safety of employees, or to protect property, or keep confidential information disclosure of which could expose the employer to damages. It is prohibited to use monitoring in order to control the performance of work by employees as well as to monitor rooms where work is not carried out, e.g. sanitary rooms, locker rooms, canteens or smoking rooms.

One may have doubts as to the manner in which the provision prohibiting monitoring in non-work premises was formulated. While it is reasonable for sanitary and locker rooms, monitoring halls and corridors, entries and exits, to and from the rooms and buildings as well as canteens and smoking rooms is rather not an overly intrusive interference into the employee’s private sphere. On the other hand the lack of monitoring capabilities in these locations can create serious gaps in the protection systems used by employers.

The envisaged changes are currently being worked out at the Ministry of Digitization. This is only the beginning of the legislative path, so it is difficult to predict whether they will come into force in the current shape. It may now be assumed that the new provisions should be in force in May 2018, as the new European General Data Protection Regulation is planned to come into effect at the end of May.


As of 1 June 2017, the amended law for temporary workers is in force. On the one hand, the new regulations seek to provide more protection for temporary workers but, on the other hand, they can in practice hamper the functioning of temporary work because of the extension of responsibilities and obligations of employment agencies and user employers. Here are some changes to the law on temporary work.

Maximum temporary work period

One of the most important changes is the elimination of the possibility to direct the same temporary worker to the same user employer, through different employment agencies. The length of maximum periods of temporary work remain unchanged and is in principle not more than 18 months in 36 consecutive months, or in the case of continuous replacement for an absent employee - no more than 36 months. New maximum periods of employment for contracts ongoing on the date the amendment of the law came into effect are calculated from that date, i.e. from 1 June 2017.

Under previous legislation, the maximum working period of the same temporary worker for the same user employer was in practice lengthened by the fact that the temporary worker, after exhausting the maximum working period (i.e. 18 or 36 months), was employed by another employment agency, often from the same capital group and continued to work for the same user employer.

In this situation, the question whether in the new legal state there will be a reverse phenomenon to the current practice arises. Namely, will the same temporary worker perform the same work for formally different user employers from the same capital group?

Civil law contracts

Previously applicable provisions allowed, in principle, unlimited hiring of contractors (or other persons providing services under civil law contracts), subject to certain minimum conditions. In the current legal situation, there are significant restrictions in this respect, particularly as regards the maximum period of temporary work. The employment contract limits also apply to civil law contracts. Additionally, the arrangement between agency and user employer of not-hiring of a temporary worker after the completion of temporary work, is also invalid in respect of contractors and other persons employed under civil law contracts.

Furthermore, user employers have a duty of keeping and maintaining records of persons working under civil law contracts in the context of temporary work, indicating the dates of commencement and termination of such work. On the other hand, the employment agency on the day of termination of temporary work must issue a certificate confirming the period of work for each user employer.

Protection of the work of pregnant women

The amended regulations protect the work of pregnant women. The new law provides for application of the principle of extending the period of employment until the day of childbirth to temporary workers. This concerns temporary workers who have a minimum of two months' assignment to temporary work and refers to contracts that would be terminated after the third month of pregnancy.

Additional obligations of employment agency

Transitional provisions implementing the amendment also impose important obligations on the currently operating employment agencies. They must, among other things, inform the appropriate local province marshal what kind of activity they intend to pursue, i.e. job placement, HR and professional consulting or provision of temporary work services. Failure to submit such statement by 31 August 2017 is punishable by penal liability for false testimony. Subsequently, the marshal has until 31 December 2017 to issue a new certificate of entry in the register of entities operating as employment agencies.

Submission of this statement will entitle the agencies to continue with their business operations, as the certificates already issued to the employment agencies stay valid only until 31 December 2017.

New sanctions

The amendment concerns also penal provisions of the act on the employment of temporary workers, fixing the level of the fine between PLN 1,000 and PLN 30,000. The liability of the employment agencies directing temporary workers to perform prohibited tasks (such as to replace an employee who is involved in a strike, but also for exceeding the maximum working hours) has been extended. The novelty is the introduction of user employer liability for similar violations, also subject to a fine in the range from PLN 1,000 to 30,000.

Persons who run business as employment agencies without entry to the employment agency register may be fined up to PLN 100,000. It is worth remembering about this severe sanction in the context of the obligation to re-register the employment agency.


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We discuss the current labour law, legal judgments and interpretations issued
by the National Labor Inspectorate and the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.


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