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The Warsaw Voice » Law » March 31, 2011
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Law in brief
March 31, 2011   
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Immigrants Need Amnesty: Civil Rights Commissioner
Poland’s Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection, Irena Lipowicz, has asked the interior minister to legalize the stay of foreigners illegally residing in Poland.

Lipowicz made her request in response to complaints from foreigners who have been detained by the Polish Border Guard so they can be deported. Many of these people have been living in Poland illegally for years or have tried but failed to obtain the right to reside in this country. Many say they live in constant fear of deportation and can only work in the unregistered segment of the economy.

For these people, deportation means a return to their country of origin, with which they have often lost contact and to which they no longer feel attached. This especially applies to children who were either born or brought up in Poland and who attend Polish schools and regard Polish as their mother tongue.

The government, meanwhile, has drafted a proposal to amend the Aliens Act with a view to providing an amnesty for immigrants staying illegally in Poland. The proposal should reach parliament by the middle of the year.

Call for Equal Pay
Equal Pay Day was held for the first time across Europe March 5. Statistics show that women in the European Union earn 17.5 percent less than men on average throughout their lives.

Equal pay for equal work is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union. It is enshrined in the Treaty of Rome of 1957. But in reality progress in reducing the pay gap between women and men has been slow in coming, experts say. The difference ranges from 5 percent in Italy to 30 percent in Estonia. Pay discrimination leads to lower pensions. Older women are therefore at greater risk of poverty than men. Twenty-two percent of women aged above 65 are at risk of poverty, compared with 16 percent for men.

Thanks to EU and national legislation on equal pay, the number of cases of direct discrimination—meaning a pay gap between men and women doing identical work—has decreased. However, men continue to outnumber women among those holding better paid executive positions.

Nuclear Energy Without Secrets
The government has drafted legislation to educate people on nuclear safety in connection with the planned construction of nuclear power plants in Poland.

Thanks to the law, the government says, people will be kept informed about nuclear safety regulations, the status and use of nuclear facilities, as well as any factors and events likely to affect nuclear safety and radiological protection.

Everyone will have the right to receive written information on these issues. Every investor behind a nuclear power plant will be required to create a local information center to provide information about the nuclear facility being built.

Keeping Tabs on Gamblers
Deputies have begun working on a government proposal seeking to amend the gambling law. The proposal is designed to ensure supervision over wins, and the enforcement of bans on access to gambling establishments and gambling by individuals subject to such a ban.

The government wants all gaming centers to register their guests and install an audiovisual monitoring system. Under the proposal, casinos and bingo halls will register their patrons at their own cost. Those managing a gambling establishment or authorized employees will check the identity of visitors using a document confirming their age and personal data.

The personal details of those visiting bingo halls and casinos will be kept in a special register of visitors, including the date and time of their entry into the casino or hall.

The data will be stored for three years.

Fewer Bankruptcies
Polish courts declared 46 companies bankrupt in January, 15 percent less than in the same month last year, according to market monitoring company Coface. However, this figure is 50 percent higher than that in January 2008, prior to the start of the economic crisis. It is also higher than in January 2009, Coface said.

Polish businesses have not faced increased financial and payment problems in recent months, according to Coface. The situation in this area improved gradually throughout 2010 and this trend continues, says Coface.

EU to Help Banks
By the end of the year, the European Union will adopt new regulations on state aid to help troubled banks avoid bankruptcy and ensure financial stability, Alexander Italianer, the European Commission’s Director General in charge of competition policy, announced at a conference in Brussels.
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