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The Warsaw Voice » Law » April 23, 2008
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April 23, 2008   
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Workers' Complaints
From 2005-2007, employees filed about 81,000 complaints with the National Labor Inspectorate (PIP), nearly 31,000 of them in 2005. Most complaints-40 percent in total-came from employees of small enterprises with up to nine workers. The higher a company's number of workers, the fewer complaints filed with the PIP. Complaints from companies with over 250 employees accounted for 12 percent of complaints.

Most complaints, over 17,000 last year, were connected with pay and benefits. They involved delay in payment, including for overtime work. Many complaints concerned infringement of regulations on working hours.

Last year, the PIP imposed over 8,000 fines on employers and filed 1,700 penalty petitions with local urban county courts. PIP inspectors issued more than 84,000 administrative decisions requiring that employers should take action on the reported infringements.

More Powers for Advisors Planned
Legal advisors will be able to represent the injured party in criminal cases, the Justice Ministry has proposed. Lawyers are voicing criticism of the proposed changes. The draft amendment to the criminal code has been submitted to the government, which will debate the draft in May. If it is passed into law, the country's 6,500 lawyers will face competition from nearly 25,000 legal advisers. The latter currently have limited rights in terms of appearing in criminal cases.

Workforce From the East
Workers from Poland's eastern neighbors, including Ukrainians, can be employed here for six months in a 12-month period without obtaining an official work permit as of this year. Since Poland became a Schengen zone country, Ukrainians or Belarusians have been admitted to Poland on the basis of a domestic labor visa. The visa entitles them to a six-month stay in Poland and is issued upon an employer's declaration that they will provide employment to the foreigner.

Consent for permanent employment of a foreigner is issued by the local province governor, on condition that there are no unemployed Poles seeking the job in question. In recent years, just over 10,000 foreigners a year have obtained a work permit, mostly managerial staff, advisers, company owners and language teachers. Ukrainians were the most numerous.

Tax Law Changes
The finance ministry has submitted a draft amendment to the tax law for inter-ministerial consultations. The draft's regulations are expected to take force January next year. The draft stipulates that a tax-related decision will only take effect when final, or when it no longer can be appealed against, and the taxpayer will be notified of a planned audit seven days in advance.

Clamping Down on Cyber Crime
Individuals manipulating or damaging IT systems will face up to five years in prison, under a draft amendment to the criminal code adopted by the government. The draft introduces more severe penalties for IT crimes. Illegal use of IT systems will be punishable by two years in prison, and other "cyber manipulation," including destroying, deleting, damaging and hindering access to IT systems, by up to five years in prison. In the future, unauthorized access to information, even if it does not involve breaking through computer security systems, and obstructing access to computer data, will also be liable to penalties.

Post Office Law Amended
Under a government draft legal amendment, it will be possible to declare the Polish Post Office bankrupt. The proposed change has been approved by two committees of the lower house of parliament.
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