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Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects - ebook/pdf
Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects - ebook/pdf
Autor: , , Liczba stron: 335
Wydawca: C. H. Beck Język publikacji: polski
ISBN: 978-83-8235-332-7 Rok wydania:
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Prawo pracy jest jedną z dziedzin prawa, którą można nazwać wysoce 'umiędzynarodowioną'. Standardy krajowych porządków prawnych z zakresu prawa pracy mogą mieć dość uniwersalny charakter. W przypadku polskiego prawa pracy, pomimo pewnych podobieństw do innych krajów, nie zatraciło ono swojej oryginalności, i za sprawą takich czynników lokalnych jak historia czy też własna kultura i myśl prawna, wciąż zachowuje wysoki stopień odrębności.

Celem tej książki jest przedstawienie najważniejszych, charakterystycznych dla polskiego prawa pracy elementów, których znajomość przyczyni się do lepszej znajomości prawa wśród osób przyjeżdżających z zagranicy do pracy w Polsce.

Labour law is one of those areas of law that are highly 'internationalized' and thus integrated around certain universal standards developed by the international community. However, despite the similarities to other legal systems, Polish labour law has not lost its originality. It still retains a high degree of independence and autonomy, resulting from local factors, including its own legal culture, original legal thought and historical experience.

The aim of this book is to present the most important building blocks of the Polish labour law, contribute to a better knowledge of legal regulations on employment, and thus to increase the legal awareness of people coming from abroad to work in Poland.


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Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law Jakub Stelina 1.1. Human Work and the Law: General Notes In the most general sense, human work means any effort of a human being  aimed at attaining a socially useful goal. Thus understood, the notion of work  includes a wide array of activities: gainful and non-profit, undertaken for the  benefit of someone else or in order to satisfy the working person’s own needs,  performed  in  a  team  environment  or  independently  from  others,  involving  mental and physical abilities. As a social phenomenon, human work is usually  entangled in a whole set of relationships, and is, therefore, subject to various  social  and  praxeological  rules,  including  standards  whereby  certain  legal  or  extra-legal obligations are established. Not all human work is regulated by law,  though. The extent of the legislator’s interference in the performance of work  depends  on  many  factors,  such  as  the  degree  of  the  society’s  civilisational  development,  tradition,  culture,  and  even  the  socio-political  system  of  the  state. Unlike in the past, when human labour was subject to customs or general  regulations of family or civil law, it is nowadays governed by specialised branches  of the legal system. The law as a regulator of selected social relations covers only  a certain part of human activity that meets the characteristics of work in the  above-mentioned sense. Numerous manifestations of human work are legally  indifferent  and  are,  therefore,  not  subject  to  legal  regulations.  The  law  starts  “taking  interest”  in  certain  social  phenomena  only  when,  as  part  of  relations  between  people,  they  give  rise  to  conflicts  that  disturb  social  homeostasis  or  threaten the legitimate interests of the community or individuals. Of course, the  extent of legal interference in interpersonal relationships arising in connection  with work depends primarily on the social system prevailing in the country, and  especially the scope of freedom enjoyed by the citizens. In totalitarian states, all  social issues must, as a rule, be subordinated to the general interest, which in  fact results in the majority of areas of social life being regulated by the law and  controlled by the apparatus of power. In those systems, personal life choices,  1 Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects especially in areas such as employment, become also a public (political) matter.  To illustrate this, well-known phenomena from the past can be mentioned in  that respect, such as the instrument of “assignment to a workplace” or criminal  liability  for  the  failure  to  perform  employee  duties.  In  democratic  countries,  however, there is no reason to limit the principle of freedom of work and to  make  activities  unlikely  to  threaten  the  public  good  (e.g.  social  or  hobby  activities) subject to specific legal regulations. The remainder of this book will deal only with the phenomenon of human  work  as  a  legal  category,  and  –  more  specifically  –  with  legal  regulations  providing  for  that  phenomenon.  In  modern  legal  systems,  there  is  usually  a  group  of  legal  norms  focused  solely  on  the  issues.  These  form  a  coherent  whole, and, as such, are referred to as the “labour law” or “employment law.” Labour  law  is  a  relatively  new  branch  of  law  that  dates  back  to  the  early  1800s,  its  rapid  development  occurring  in  the  twentieth  century.  This  does  not  mean,  though,  that  in  the  earlier  period  work  was  not  regulated  by  law  at  all.1  However,  due  to  the  meagre  importance  of  wage  labour,  the  problem  remained in the shadows. Customary norms and, later on, rules pertaining to  family, contractual or even property relations (in systems based on slave labour)  were fully sufficient in that respect. The driving force behind the development  of labour law in the modern sense was the quick development of industry in  Western Europe, dating back – in some of the countries – to the seventeenth  century (England), and in others taking place at the end of the 18th and in the  19th centuries. The demand for a workforce made the rural population flow into  the cities to supply the swelling army of wage-earners. It soon turned out that  the existing legal arrangements concerning wage work, including the contract  modelled after the Roman contract of locatio conductio operarum (the hire of  work),  did  not  actually  suit  the  emerging  needs.  The  original  arrangements  were based on the idea of the full equality of parties. Since all that an employee  was able to hire out was their labour potential, they were worth to the employer  only as much as their skills and muscle, put to the latter’s disposal, were worth.  And thus, the employers, by taking advantage of their incomparably stronger  position,  could  impose  unfavourable  employment  conditions  on  the  wage  1 Sometimes, the regulations were quite elaborate. See, for instance, the municipal regulations of  Gdańsk, Tadeusz Maciejewski, “Prawo pracy w Wilkierzu Miasta Gdańska z 1761 r.,” in Człowiek – obywatel – pracownik. Księga jubileuszowa poświęcona Profesor Urszuli Jackowiak, eds. Alina Wypych- Żywicka and Jakub Stelina (Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego: 2007), 153ff.; Tadeusz  Maciejewski, “Umowa o pracę (najem usług) we wczesnonowożytnym prawie miasta Gdańska (XVI w.  – 1793 r.),” in Wolność i sprawiedliwość w zatrudnieniu. Księga pamiątkowa poświęcona Prezydentowi Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej Profesorowi Lechowi Kaczyńskiemu, eds. Michał Seweryński and Jakub Stelina  (Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego, 2012), 205ff. 2 Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law workers, all the more so that the number of those willing to take up employment  always  exceeded  the  number  of  jobs  available.  Hard  working  conditions  also  caused  frequent  accidents,  resulting  in  bodily  injuries  and  even  the  deaths  of  workers,  and  thus  a  loss  of  livelihoods  by  them  and  their  families.  When  becoming  incapacitated  for  work,  the  workers  lost  the  only  thing  they  could  sell, and thus became completely useless to their current employer. A chance for  claiming compensation under civil law schemes remained mostly theoretical.  The problem kept growing just as the numbers of wage workers did.  As  the  described  phenomena  posed  a  serious  threat  to  society,  various  actions  on  the  part  of  the  state  had  to  be  taken  to  eliminate  or  weaken  the  hazards. At the initial stage of the development of labour law, three main lines  of activities can be distinguished, driven by the ideas of self-protection, state pragmatism, and axiological premises. The  sense  of  grievance  and  the  feeling  of  being  exploited  radicalised  the  workers, who would launch mass protests in defence of their basic economic  interests and their dignity. As early as in the mid-nineteenth century (in some  caseseven earlier) the first workers’ associations (syndicates) began to emerge,  aiming  to  improve  the  living  conditions  of  their  members.  Over  time,  the  syndicates, gaining in strength, proved able not only to launch strikes, rallies,  and  other  industrial  actions,  but  to  even  make  political  demands.  Forms  of  social  dialogue  developed  slowly  and  not  without  difficulty,  yet  steadily;  and  at the end of each strike or workers’ demonstration, efforts were being taken  to make arrangements with the employers (later referred to as collective labour  agreements),  which  then  evolved  into  an  important  instrument  of  regulating  wages and other benefits, and then the conditions of employment. On the other hand, the increasing exploitation and poor working conditions  in factories resulted in a constantly increasing number of people incapable of  undertaking any activity, much less earn their living. The states saw the situation  as detrimental to their basic interests, including economic potential and military  capability. In any case, the problem became so serious that the public authorities  began to interfere in relations between employees and employers by imposing  certain  labour  standards.  Initially,  the  states  acted  not  so  much  for  altruistic  reasons, as in defence against a threat of social revolution. Therefore, at first,  state intervention was limited to the most pressing issues (prohibition of child  labour,  limitation  of  daily  working  time  to  12  hours);  with  time,  however,  it  expanded to cover ever more employment-related areas. Axiological  premises  were  of  importance,  too.  The  need  to  protect  the  dignity  of  every  human  person,  including  working  people,  and  to  reject  the  immoral exploitation of man by man was gradually emphasised. This is how  workers’ problems began to be seen in the doctrine of the Catholic Church at  3 Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects the end of the 19th century. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Rerum Novarum, in which the pontiff attempted to solve the so-called workers’ issue  through the recognition of empowerment of the human being and the latter’s  right to a dignified life. The Pope called on factory owners to treat workers fairly  and on the workers to refrain from pursuing their legitimate rights by force. The  encyclical gave rise to the development of the Catholic social teaching that has  exerted impact on the law of employment in many countries. It  should  be  noted,  however,  that  legal  regulation  of  human  labour  does  not  have  to  be  uniform,  which  is  mainly  due  to  the  fact  that,  while  being  omnipresent,  the  phenomenon  of  work  is  highly  diversified  and  exists  in  different  contexts.  Nowadays,  at  least  several  divergent  ways  and  methods  of  the  regulation  can  be  distinguished  and,  consequently,  there  exist  several  branches of law that make human work the object of their interest. Apart from  those only incidentally dealing with human work (e.g. tax or business law), at  least  six  legal  regimes  of  employment  can  be  identified  within  Poland’s  legal  system, represented by various fields of law, them being: labour law, civil law,  administrative law, constitutional law, criminal law2 and – last but not least –  canon law. Accordingly, a distinction can be drawn between employment based  on  the  provisions  of  labour  law  and  that  relying  on  the  above  named  civil,  administrative, constitutional, criminal and canon law. Civil law employment  includes  gainful  activities  performed  under  civil  law  contracts  (such  as  e.g.  the contract of mandate or the contract for a specific task or work) or under  the  self-employment  scheme,  while  administrative  employment  concerns  public  service  done  by  officers  of  militarised  services  (most  often  the  so- called uniformed officers, e.g. policemen, soldiers, prison guards, etc.). Other  types of employment are of less practical importance, as it is the case with, for  example, constitutional employment of persons holding key state positions (e.g.  president) or sitting on collective state bodies (e.g. parliamentarians), criminal  employment (regarding detainees), and canonical employment (of clergy). As  may  be  seen,  contrary  to  what  the  terminology  used  might  suggest,  labour law is not the only branch of law governing the matter of human work.  The significance of labour law among the aforementioned branches of law is,  however,  uncontested,  as  unlike  civil,  administrative,  criminal,  canon,  and  constitutional  law,  the  law  in  question  emerged  and  has  developed  precisely  because of human work being the main and dominant object of its regulation. 2 Walerian Sanetra, “Uwagi w kwestii zakresu podmiotowego kodeksu pracy,” in Prawo pracy a wyzwania XX wieku. Księga jubileuszowa Profesora Tadeusza Zielińskiego, eds. Maria Matey, Lesław  Nawacki and Barbara Wagner (Warszawa: Biuro Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich, 2002), 315.  4 Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law 1.2. The Notion and Subject-Matter of Labour Law 1.2.1. The Notion of Labour Law The system of law, in its objective meaning, i.e. understood as a set of legal  rules, is divided into fields distinguished according to the object of regulation.  Accordingly, labour law (understood objectively) means a set of legal standards  (a normative subsystem) regulating human interactions arising in connection  with  human  work.  In  normative  categories,  the  social  relationship  arising  in  connection  with  work  is  referred  to  as  the employment relationship.  Under  it, the employee is obliged to perform work for the employer in exchange for  the  agreed  remuneration  and  other  benefits.  However,  due  to  the  existence  of  the  employment  relationship,  in  the  realm  of  the  law,  other  types  of  legal  relationships also arise, subsidiary – in terms of nature – to the employment  relationship.  They  are  established  and  owe  their  very  existence  to  the  employment  relationship;  without  the  latter  their  occurrence  usually  would  not  be  justified.  These  are,  for  example,  legal  relations  related  to  employee  recruitment,  employee  representation,  supervision  of  working  conditions,  etc. The relations in question, like the employment relationship, are subject to  regulation by labour law. Therefore, it can be generally stated that the subject matter of labour law is employment relationships and other legal relations closely related to them,3 the employment relationship being the labour law’s  main legal construct that makes this branch of law a homogeneous normative subsystem. Proof of this is the existence itself of the employment relationship as  a single, central and leading legal construct integrating all labour law. Putting  it  all  together  once  again,  it  should  be  recognised  that  labour  law  includes the legal provisions (norms) that regulate the employment relationship  and other legal relations, the operation of which is justified by the existence of  the former (accessory relations, auxiliary to the employment relationship). This is  where the homogeneity of labour law actually lies; the branch of law is built around  a single central concept (the employment relationship) – other legal relations that  fall into its subject play a complementary (and not competitive) role to it. According  to  the  traditional  approach,  labour  law  does  not  pertain  to  employment  based  on  civil  law  or  administrative  law  regulations.  Such  employment includes legal relations concerning those engaged in the so-called   militarised  state  services  (e.g.  the  army,  police),  and  relations  arising  in  3 Tadeusz Zieliński, Prawo pracy. Zarys systemu, t. 1 (Warszawa–Kraków: PWN, 1986), 19; Wacław  Szubert, Zarys prawa pracy (Warszawa: PWN, 1980), 9–10; Wiktor Jaśkiewicz, in Prawo pracy w zarysie,  eds. Wiktor Jaśkiewicz, Czesław Jackowiak and Włodzimierz Piotrowski (Warszawa: PWN, 1985), 14. 5 Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects connection with rendering specific services under civil law contracts. Among  Polish law scholars, however, opinions are sometimes voiced that the scope of  labour law is now becoming extended to cover the work provided under civil  law relations, and even service relations,4 which then could, if accepted, change  the very nature of labour law and transform it into the law of occupation. At the  moment, the intentions remain mere postulates (being normative facts to a much  lesser degree), although the extension of certain social rights, typically enjoyed  by those employed under labour law (for example, rights related to parenthood  or minimum wages) onto persons pursuing occupation of other types can be  recently observed. Only in the area of collective labour law, legislative changes  have  recently  taken  place  that  essentially  put  the  freedom  of  association  (the  right to form trade unions) of employees and other people involved in gainful  occupation on an even level. 1.2.2. The Employment Relationship As far as the main part of the subject matter of labour law – the employment relationship – is concerned, it is one of the few types of the relationships under  which work is done, as indicated above. Since it is subject to labour law, it is  referred to as the labour law employment relationship. In order to draw up  a distinction between the labour law employment relationship and other legal  relationships under which work is done, specific features of the former are being  indicated. The features are derived, first of all, from the normative definition  of the employment relationship as contained in Art. 22 § 1 of the Labour Code  (hereinafter: LC). The regulation provides that by entering into an employment relationship, the employee undertakes to perform work for and under the direction of the employer and at the place and time designated by them, and the employer undertakes to employ the employee against remuneration. Hence, it should be assumed that the employment relationship in its legal  meaning  is  a  social  relationship  concerning  the  performance  of  work  being  (a)  voluntary  (b)  subordinate,  (c)  paid,  (d)  personally  performed  for  the  employing  entity.  The  catalogue  of  the  characteristics  of  work  done  under  the  employment  relationship  should  be  further  supplemented  to  include:  the  feature of (e) cooperation (teamwork), the fact that (f) the subject matter of the  employee’ s service is the performance of work itself, so the obligation arising  is the obligation to act diligently (and not to achieve a specified result), as well  4 Jan Jończyk, Prawo pracy (Warszawa: PWN, 1992), 15; Walerian Sanetra, Prawo pracy (Białystok:  Temida 2, 1994), 28 and 32; Tadeusz Kuczyński, Właściwość sądu administracyjnego w sprawach stosunków służbowych (Wrocław: Kolonia Limited, 2000), 50ff.  6 Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law as the fact that (g) the employee does not bear the risk of the fulfilment of the  obligation. Re  a)  Voluntary  nature  of  work  means  that  the  obligation  to  perform  it  may only arise through a free decision (statements of will) of the employee and  employer, i.e. by means of an agreement (contract) concluded between the two.  The opposite of voluntariness understood that way is legal coercion, giving rise  to an obligation to perform work against the will of the performer. Unilaterally assigned work is then talked about. An example of such work is chores done by  persons held in custody (and – earlier – the service of draft soldiers). Voluntariness is a typical feature of private law contractual relationships (and  such are, in fact, employee obligations). It is also confirmed by the Constitution  and by the axiological foundations of labour law expressed, among others, in  the so-called core principles of labour law. In accordance with Art. 65 paras. 1  and 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, everyone is guaranteed the  freedom to choose and practice their profession and to choose their place of  work (exceptions being provided by the law). An obligation to work can only  be  imposed  statutorily.  Pursuant  to  one  of  the  core  principles  of  labour  law  expressed in Art. 10 LC, everyone has the right to a freely chosen job. No one,  except in cases specified in law (an Act of Parliament), may be prohibited from  practicing a profession. Therefore, no one may be compelled to take up labour  law employment nor may anyone be forced to hire an employee (the exception  to this rule being the employer’s obligation to engage a war-disabled person –  based on the referral of the starosta, i.e. the head of the county administration).5  Re  b)  The  most  essential  element  whereby  (labour  law)  employment  relationships can be distinguished from occupations not based on labour law  but performed under civil law or as a public service is the subordination of the  employee to the employing entity. In the broadest sense, subordination can be  understood  as  employee’s  dependence  on  the  employer,6  whereas  in  Art.  22  § 1 LC it has been referred to as the “employer’s direction,” meaning that the  employer is authorised to give instructions to the employee. Provisions of the  Labour  Code  make  it  possible  to  distinguish  between  two  types  of  employee  subordination – contractual (obligation-based) and statutory. The contractual subordination results from the employee’s obligation to perform a specific type  of work. An essential element of the contract of employment and other legal  transactions constituting the basis for the employment relationship is the type 5 Art. 18 of the Act of 29 May 1974 on the Provision for War and Military Invalids and Their  Families.  6  Tomasz  Duraj,  Podporządkowanie pracowników zajmujących stanowiska kierownicze w organizacjach (Warszawa: Difin, 2013), 74. 7 Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects of work, meaning a set of interrelated factual activities the person is supposed  to carry out. In practice, the agreed type of work is most commonly explained  by indicating the job position. The employee, consenting to the performance of  work specified by type, agrees to remain at the employer’s disposal within the  limits resulting from the type of work agreed upon. Therefore, the employer has  the opportunity to exercise control over an employee in terms of place, time, and manner of work performance. The direction provided by the employer is  necessary for the fulfilment of the employee obligation – without instructions  regarding  the  above-mentioned  elements,  the  employee  would  not  know  where, when, and how to do the agreed upon work. The legal transaction alone,  establishing  the  employment  relationship,  due  to  its  general  nature,  would  hardly suffice for the work to be started. The other type of subordination, i.e. statutory subordination, consists in the  employer being able to exercise control over an employee outside the boundaries  set  out  by  the  employment  contract.  Under  exceptional  circumstances,  it  is  allowed to assign to the employee work other than that agreed upon (e.g. during  downtime, as Art. 81 § 3 LC provides, or for a period of three months during  a calendar year where the justified needs of the employer require so – Art. 42  § 4 LC). Both  types  of  employee  subordination  are  subject  to  certain  natural  limitations. The employee is obliged to carry out only such instructions that are  not contrary to the law or employment contract (Art. 100 § 1 LC) and to the  principles of community life (Art. 58 § 2 LC in conjunction with Art. 300 of the  Civil Code). In  some  cases,  employee  subordination  is  modified,  compared  to  the  traditional paradigm. Such is the case with temporary employment carried out  through a temporary employment agency. Characteristic of the scheme is a shift  of the direction from the employer being a party to the employment contract  (the temporary employment agency) to the entity actually using the employee’s  work (the user employer), all characteristics of labour law employment being  otherwise retained. Other types of modifications can be noted in the case of  what is termed telework, where the subordination of the teleworker, in terms of  place and time of work, is practically abolished. Yet, other changes of employee  subordination take place as regards employees holding independent positions  (e.g.  of  medical  doctors,  legal  counsels,  etc.),  where  the  employer’s  influence  on  the  way  in  which  work  (e.g.  the  treatment  of  patients)  is  performed  is  excluded. These cases are sometimes referred to as instances of autonomous subordination.  Finally,  notice  should  be  taken  of  labour  relations  in  public  administration,  in  which  the  scope  of  subordination  is  actually  wider  than  under the conventional, contract-based employment relationship. 8 Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law Employee subordination is the key element allowing to identify a particular  legal  relationship  under  which  work  is  done  as  an  employment  relationship.  As for the type of work, it is the parameter determining the “broadness” of the  employee’s commitment and the extent of the person’s availability. In civil law  relations, the subject of the obligation of the work-providing party is definitely  “narrower,” as it is limited by the parameter of specified activities or work. Such  a definition of the obligations limits the ordering party’s capacity to exercise  control over the other one. That is why, under civil law relationships, there is no  room for instructions of the employing entity, and they are not even necessary  due to the fact that the work particularities have been precisely agreed upon  beforehand. Thus, it is the way in which the subject of the commitment has been defined, and then the manner of its implementation that is crucial for the legal qualification of particular employment.  Subordination  is  also  the  factor  that  allows  for  distinguishing  between  labour  relations  and  the  relations  of  service,  as  established  with  officers  of  militarised  services  (e.g.  soldiers,  policemen).  These  are  subject  to  so-called  increased  availability,  reflected  in  the  commands  they  are  given  and  the  fact  that they can be moved within the entire militarised formation, being entrusted  positions not listed in the legal act upon which their service relationships have  been established. Recently,  labour  law  employment  is  ever  more  frequently  replaced  by  employment not based on labour law provisions, mainly civil law. In addition  to  contracts  for  providing  services,  contracts  of  mandate,  and  contracts  for  a  specified  task  or  work,  the  phenomenon  of  so-called  self-employment  has  become  omnipresent.  This  consists  in  natural  persons  registering  themselves  as  person  carrying  out  business  activity  and  offering  their  services  to  other  entrepreneurs. A person like that happens to be bound by a contract with just  a single entity, gaining all or most of the income from only one source. That is  why it is more and more often suggested that the notion of subordination as  an element characterising the employment relationship should be broadened, to  include not only the current organisational, but also economic subordination.7  Re c) The employee is entitled to the remuneration agreed upon for the work  performed, and –where there is a legal basis for it – also to remuneration for  the time of work not being done (e.g. holiday leaves or certain other paid leaves  of absence from work). Remuneration for work is a mandatory element of the  employment relationship, with the employee not being allowed to renounce the  right to remuneration or its transfer to another person (Art. 84 LC). In addition,  7 Alain Supiot, Beyond Employment. Changes in Work and the Future of Labour Law in Europe  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 14–16.  9 Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects employees retain the right to remuneration for their readiness to perform work,  if the work could not be done for reasons beyond their control. The prohibition  to waive the right to remuneration means a restriction of the freedom of the  parties to the employment relationship in this regard. Once the employee and  employer do not have the right to exclude the right to remuneration, it should be  inferred that the latter is a statutory consequence of the establishment of a legal  relationship based on the requirement of personal work and subordination of  one of the parties to the other one. The issue of payment has been provided for differently by civil law regarding  contracts concluded under provisions of the latter. The Civil Code, following the  principle of freedom of contract, does not prohibit the exclusion of the right to  remuneration, and in relation to the mandate contract, explicitly states the rule  in Art. 735 (“Where it is not apparent from the contract or the circumstances that  the person accepting the order undertook to carry it out without remuneration,  remuneration shall be due for carrying out the order”). However, one should  not  lose  sight  of  Art.  8a  para.  4  of  the  Act  on  Minimum  Remuneration  for  Work. Indeed, it provides, “they that take the order or provide a service may not  waive the right to remuneration in the amount resulting from the amount of the  minimum hourly rate nor transfer the right to this remuneration onto another  person.” The  exception  to  the  principle  of  payment  for  the  subordinated  work  is  so-called  volunteering,  the  scheme  of  which,  however,  can  only  be  applied  regarding  entities  specified  by  law.  In  accordance  with  Art.  42  of  the  Act  of  24  April  2003  on  Public  Benefit  Activities  and  Volunteering,  volunteers  may  work solely for non-governmental organisations and other entities conducting  public  benefit  activities,  public  administration  bodies,  organised  entities  reporting  to  public  administration  bodies  or  supervised  by  them,  healthcare  entities,  international  organisations,  and  associations  of  which  the  volunteers  are members. Re  d)  Another  element  characteristic  of  work  performed  under  an  employment relationship is the requirement to do work personally. It is derived  directly from Art. 22 § 1 LC, viz. from the phrase “the employee undertakes ...”  In addition, other labour law regulations, in particular provisions requiring that  the employee should have due qualifications and maintain an appropriate health  status correspond with this requirement. Thus, it should be assumed that the  employee only performs their obligation when they personally do the work, with  it being not allowed to the employee to provide a substitute – the work of such  a person would not mean meeting the obligation arising from the employment  relationship.  Moreover,  the  requirement  of  personal  work  performance  also  10 Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law results from the concept and nature of the employment relationship, where it  is the person and not the object of the obligation that counts. Therefore, the  employment contract that gives rise to the employment relationship, no longer  resembles  its  aforementioned  “hire  of  work”  (locatio conductio operarum)  prototype, but rather a “hire of a worker” scheme. Work must not be treated  simply as an object, detached from the employee as a person. Re e) Cooperation in performance of work means doing it in a team. The  most elementary team is that composed of the employer and employee, although  the employee side usually includes more people. The employer is the one that  organises the work and the entity on whose behalf it is performed. Re f) An important feature of the employment relationship is also the fact  that the employee’s obligation is a commitment to do work diligently (on a best  effort basis) and not to achieve a specific effect. Thus, the employee undertakes  to perform work honestly and diligently, but cannot guarantee the achievement  of a specific result. The person doing the work is not responsible for failing to  achieve the result expected by the employer provided that they duly meet their  obligations. Therefore, the remuneration is due for the performance of the work  and even for the time when it is not performed, if a legal regulation provides so.  Re g) The labour law doctrine identifies four types of employment-related  risk:  economic,  technical,  social,  and  personal.  The  economic risk  means  the employer is burdened with the obligation to pay remuneration and other  benefits arising from the employment relationship, regardless of the economic  effects  of  the  business  run.  The  employment  relationship  is  not  like  the  one  binding partners in a partnership, in which the parties participate in the losses,  but  also  the  profits  of  their  activities.  The  employee  has  no  influence  on  the  management  of  the  work  establishment,  being  subject  to  direction  exercised  by the employer, so they should not bear the economic risk associated with the  ailments of the project. Therefore, the employer cannot make payment of the  remuneration conditional upon the expected profits, pleading its poor financial  standing as an excuse. When calculating operating costs, the employer should  take employee remuneration into account regardless of the results of its business  activities. The employer is also obliged to pay remuneration for the period in which  work was not done for technical and organisational reasons, if the employee was  ready to perform work (technical risk) or in the event of the employee’s absence  from  work  for  important  personal  reasons  (e.g.  illness,  childcare,  etc.),  thus  bearing what is termed the social risk. Finally, it is the employing entity that is  burdened with the consequences of the non-culpable (though sometimes even  11 Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects culpable) behaviour of the employee causing damage to the employer (personal risk). Exposing the employer to the risks associated with employment does not  mean it is unable to take actions to reduce or, in some cases, eliminate certain  risks.  For  example,  the  economic  risk  can  be  reduced  by  the  introduction  of  a wage system based on rewards or other discretionary benefits, the granting  and  amount  of  which  depend  on  the  employer’s  bottom  line  (although  it  is  not  allowed  to  base  the  employee’s  entire  remuneration  upon  such  rules).  Meanwhile, in the event of downtime for technical and organisational reasons,  it  is  possible  to  assign  the  employees  to  other  tasks,  thus  reducing  technical  risk.  Also,  while  it  may  be  possible  to  eliminate  social  risk  by  the  purchase  of  insurance  against  certain  events  by  the  employer,  personal  risk  may  be  lowered thanks to a thorough recruitment process, followed by the continuous  improvement of qualifications by employees. The qualification of a given legal bond as employment relationship depends  on the existence of the set of work features discussed above. In accordance with  Art. 22 § 11 and 12 LC, employment under conditions corresponding to those  characteristics has the nature of a labour law employment, regardless of the name of the contract concluded by the parties. It is also unacceptable to replace  employment  contracts  with  contracts  of  a  different  nature,  the  conditions  of  work performance not being changed. However, as it can be easily noticed, the  above-mentioned  features  of  work  done  under  the  employment  relationship  are  not  uniform  in  character  and  status.  Should  the  nature  of  a  given  legal  relationship be decided based on the existence of all of them, insurmountable  difficulties can easily arise. In the real world, even now, there is a tendency to  place, among contractual clauses, elements that could contradict the nature of  a  given  relationship  as  an  employment  relationship  (e.g.  clauses  shifting  the  work-related risk to the employed person). In addition, problems emerge with  the actual will of the parties, often concealed by means of contractual clauses  (e.g.  a  formal  exclusion  of  the  requirement  to  do  the  work  personally).  In  such a situation, it may be hard to distinguish between the elements of crucial  importance for the legal qualification of a given relationship and those being  contrary to labour law provisions (and, as such, devoid of legal significance).  In the case described above, the contractual transfer of risk onto the employed  entity  should  be  found  unlawful  if  the  obligation  having  arisen  between  the  parties is an employment relationship. Under such circumstances, it is necessary  to  precisely  determine  where  the  above-mentioned  border  should  be  drawn.  This inevitably leads to the conclusion that there exists a certain hierarchy of employment relationship features.  Therefore,  a  question  arises  of  when  an  employment  relationship  begins,  i.e.  after  the  fulfilment  of  which  conditions  12 Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law can it be reasonably stated that the relationship does, in fact, exist. It seems that  placed at the top of the hierarchy should be those features of the employment  relationship that are directly derived from the content of the above-mentioned  22  §  1  LC.  These  include:  the  requirement of personal performance of the work, employee subordination, and payment for work (understood, however,  as the statutory consequence of doing subordinated work). 1.2.3. Legal Relationships Associated with the Employment Relationship Besides the employment relationship, other legal relationships closely related  to employment relationships are also covered by labour law.8 These are, first of  all, ones: 1)  that precede the existence of the employment relationship (e.g. relations  connected with the recruitment of employees and job placement); 2)  the  existence  of  which  is  justified  by  the  existence  of  the  employment  relationship itself (e.g. relationships regarding employee representations,  relationships associated with the supervision of working conditions or those  connected with the promotion of employment); 3)  concerning dispute resolution (e.g. conciliatory proceedings); 4)  associated with the legal liability of parties to the employment relationship  (e.g. disciplinary liability); 5)  occurring after the termination of the employment relationship (e.g. concerning  the pursuit of claims arising out of the employment relationship). Thus,  the  link  between  the  above  mentioned  legal  relationships  covered  by  labour  law  and  the  employment  relationships  results,  on  the  one  hand,  from the strictly accessory nature of certain legal relationships, which largely  perform executive functions vis-à-vis an employment relationship (e.g. relations  immediately preceding the establishment of the latter, such as connected with  medical examinations, recruitment, etc. or employee liability relations). At the  same  time,  labour  law  includes  legal  relations  connected  with  employment  relations not as closely as the ones described above, but the existence of which  is  conditioned  upon  the  existence  of  the  employment  relationship.  It  is  thus  8 Wiktor Jaśkiewicz, in Prawo pracy w zarysie, eds. Wiktor Jaśkiewicz, Czesław Jackowiak and  Włodzimierz Piotrowski (Warszawa: PWN, 1985), 14; Urszula Jackowiak, in Prawo pracy. Podręcznik dla studentów prawa, Urszula Jackowiak, Waldemar Uziak and Alina Wypych-Żywicka (Kraków:  Zakamycze, 2006), 35; Teresa Liszcz, Prawo pracy (Warszawa: LexisNexis, 2007), 21; Walerian Sanetra,  in Prawo pracy a wyzwania XX wieku. Księga jubileuszowa Profesora Tadeusza Zielińskiego, eds. Maria  Matey, Lesław Nawacki and Barbara Wagner (Warszawa: Biuro Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich,  2002), 32. 13 Introduction to Polish Labour Law with Cross-Border Aspects functional or axiological connections that are dealt with in such case. Here, in  turn, mention should be made of collective labour relations, relations connected  with the settlement of labour disputes, legal relations concerning the supervision  of  working  conditions,  and  legal  relations  associated  with  promotion  of  employment and combating unemployment. The above indicated scope of legal relations connected, in real life, with the  employment  relationship,  is  specific  for  the  broadest  approach  to  labour  law,  i.e. that presented by legal scholars and teachers. However, one should be aware  that not all of these legal relationships are part of labour law when it comes to  law application. For example, the relations of a procedural nature fall within the  subject of civil proceedings law, and most legal relations concerning employment  promotion – into the subject of (substantive and formal) administrative law. The  parties  to  legal  relations  associated,  in  the  realities  of  life,  with  employment  relationships,  not  always  include  employees  and  employers.  In  collective  labour  relations,  the  parties  are  composed  of  employers  and  their  representatives  as  well  as  employee  representations  (trade  unions,  workers’  councils, etc.). Sometimes the parties are job seekers and employers-to-be, as  well as former employees and employers or family members of the employees  (as regards, for example, the right to death severance pay). The affinity of the  discussed  group  of  legal  relationships  to  labour  law  is  beyond  doubt  (due  to  their close functional connection with the employment relationship). Attention  should  also  be  paid  to  the  phenomenon  of  what  is  termed  the  labour law expansion beyond the traditional area of its influence. It consists  in  the  application  of  specific  labour  law  provisions  to  legal  relationships  of  employment not based on labour law by virtue of a statutory authorisation (or  that granted by an implementing regulation). In earlier literature, legal relations of social insurance were also included  in  the  subject  of  labour  law,  which  was  justified  by  the  fact  that  they  would  arise  as  a  legal  consequence  of  persons  enteringan  employment  relationship.  In fact, until the early 1990s, social insurance was mostly a scheme concerning  employees. It was only the political changes started after 1989 that led to the  extension  of  the  personal  scope  of  social  insurance;  now,  covered  by  it  are  almost  all  persons  remaining  in  occupation  or  living  on  proceeds  from  their  own activities. At present, no reasons exist that would justify the inclusion of  social insurance matters into labour law. 14 Chapter 1. Introduction to Labour Law 1.3. The Systematics and Functions of Labour Law 1.3.1. The Systematics of Labour Law Labour law is a relatively extensive body of law, its scope encompassing many  legal relationships of different natures (especially if the broadest doctrinal and  didactic approach to it is taken). It is therefore necessary to further systematise  labour law, i.e. to distinguish, within it, smaller areas consisting of specific sets  of legal norms that regulate various types of legal relations the branch of law  deals with. The  criterion  most  frequently  used  in  the  doctrine  when  systematising  labour law, is the criterion of the object of regulation. In its simplest form, the  system’s  internal  division  follows  the  lines  demarcating  the  various  types  of  legal relations that are covered by labour law. Using a slightly more elaborate  approach, the general part of labour law should be distinguished in the first  place (covering issues such as labour law principles, sources and norms). Only  afterwards  may  individual  areas  of  labour law  be  indicated  –  the  law of the employment relationship (referred to as individual labour law), which deals  with the employment relationship and the accessory relations, collective labour law, labour dispute law (procedural labour law), the law of the supervision of working conditions, as  well  as  labour administration and employment promotion law.  Each  of  the  specific  part  is  subject  to  further  internal  systematisation. Labour  law  may  also  be  subject  to  internal  differentiation  using  the  personal criterion, with the addressees of legal norms being taken into account.  Following that criterion, labour law can be divided into common and sectoral   (industry-wise).  The  common labour law  covers  all  those  employed,  either  directly (as the law is applicable to a given group of persons), or indirectly, as the  alternative law applied in matters not regulated by special provisions. Meanwhile,  the  sectoral labour law includes  sets  of  legal  norms  distinguished  within  the  system  due  to  the  limited  scope  of  their  application  to  selected  professional  groups.  Sectoral  labour  law  may  be  comprehensive  (examples  being  teachers’  labour law or the law of academic staff) or particular (e.g. specific health and  safety provisions applied to individual sectors of the economy). It is well-worth   mentioning  that  in  Poland,  unlike  in  Germany,  France,  Spain,  and  other  countries, the law of public servants, i.e. the law providing for the legal status of  the officials employed in state administration, is also a part of labour law. 15
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