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The Warsaw Voice » Law » September 16, 2009
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Law in brief
September 16, 2009 By L.¯.    
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Rural Census Next Year
The Central Statistical Office (GUS) will carry out a census in rural areas next year to collect information about various areas of farming and agricultural operations in Poland. The census is expected to provide a detailed picture of the country's farms and the people who operate them. The survey will cover almost 2 million farms, and GUS pollsters will also interview landowners who do not cultivate crops or breed animals.

Statisticians will collect additional data from the Farmers' Social Insurance Fund (KRUS) and the National Health Fund (NFZ) to come up with a comprehensive collection of facts and figures about Polish agriculture. This data will be used by those providing services to farmers and rural communities, including central and local authorities for purposes such as community planning.

German Jalopies Smuggled Abroad?
Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has launched an investigation into a suspected scam in which thousands of used cars intended for scrapping may have been smuggled abroad rather than junked.

According to police sources, some 50,000 vehicles supposed to have been scrapped may have been illegally sold to Eastern Europe and Africa at a profit of around 125 million euros.

Under a program launched in February this year, car owners in Germany who trade in vehicles that are at least nine years old for new fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles receive a government payout of 2,500 euros

Drunk Drivers May Lose Licenses for Life
Drunken drivers who cause a road accident face losing their driver's license for life, under a new proposal by deputies from the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party. The bill, which has already been submitted to the lower house of parliament for review, obligates courts to hand out such penalties to individuals who cause an accident leading to the death or serious injury of another person. Hit-and-run drivers and those driving under the influence of drugs will face the same penalty under the bill.

Flight Canceled, Refund Easier
Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice, passengers seeking compensation from airlines for canceled flights within the European Union will no longer have to file their claims in the country where the airline is based or where they bought their ticket. They will also be able to bring the matter before court in the place of the planned departure or destination.

Under EU law, air passengers whose flight has been canceled can demand up to 600 euros in compensation from the carrier.

Incentives for Investors in Belarus
Belarus has introduced new regulations for Polish companies interested in doing business in that country.

According to the Belarusian embassy in Warsaw, the new regulations, which came into force in August, are designed to encourage investment in the country. Under the new rules, companies investing in Belarus will be exempted from value-added tax and customs duty on equipment imported for their investment projects. Belarus has also abolished fees for special work permits issued for specialists and other employers working on investment projects. Moreover, no auctions will be required to lease land for investment purposes.

Agricultural and Foodstuffs Law Online
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a website in English, French and Spanish to provide information about legal regulations in different countries with regard to food production and agriculture. The website, at faolex.fao.org, is intended to make it easier for users to navigate through an increasingly complicated network of international hygiene and quality standards resulting from rapid scientific and technological development, FAO said.

More Flexible Work Hours for Parents
Parents will be able to request more flexible work schedules under a law that took effect Aug. 22.

Under the law, employees looking after children aged under 14 or other family members requiring care can ask their employers to allow them to start and finish work at times that are convenient to them.

The employer has the right to refuse if the request cannot be met for organizational reasons or due to the nature of duties performed by the employee. The employer is required to notify the employee about a refusal in writing.
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