The Warsaw Voice » Law » Monthly - September 28, 2012
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Law in brief
No Residence Permit for Illegal Aliens
Under Poland’s Aliens Act, illegal stay is one of the three most important reasons why a foreigner will likely be refused a temporary residence permit in this country. This is confirmed by a recent ruling by Polish courts against a citizen of Belarus seeking to take up residence in Poland.

Temporary residence permits will also be refused for foreigners who are persona non grata in Poland and those whose names are in the so-called Schengen Information System. Each of these situations in its own right justifies a decision to refuse a residence permit, officials say.

Residence permits can only be granted to those aliens who legally work, study, or do business in Poland. Other eligible individuals are those who are entitled to a residence permit for family reasons or those who demonstrate that there are other reasons why they should take up residence in Poland for a period longer than three months.

Pork Chops with a Certificate
Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development wants to launch a special nationwide program to ensure the quality of pork. This is one of the proposals put forward as part of a broader plan to upgrade regulations on the quality of farm produce and foodstuffs.

The pork quality system will cover producers, abattoirs, butchers, and meat processing plants, in addition to other market sectors. Special accredited certification bodies will carry out inspections and grant certificates authorizing companies to use the system’s logo and name. The logo will be placed on product packaging and in promotional materials.

The certificate is designed to guarantee the quality of meat and meat products. The costs of the certification process will be covered by businesses wishing to take part in the system. Those marketing products produced under the system but failing to meet the necessary specifications will face penalty fees.
The ministry also aims to promote local produce. To this end, it wants to establish a system of local production and direct sale of agricultural products and foodstuffs. There will be no fees for those taking part in this system, which will be open to agricultural producers who sell their produce to consumers on the farm, in a local marketplace or through direct delivery. Such produce will feature the “Produced on my Farm” logo and label. Inspections will be carried out to ensure the proper use of the system’s logo and name, the ministry says.

Labor Courts Inundated with Lawsuits
Polish labor courts say they have a growing number of lawsuits from employees filing complaints against their employers. The increased number of lawsuits extends the length of proceedings against dishonest companies, officials say.

This year Polish labor courts expect to receive up to 20 percent more lawsuits than in 2011, Justice Ministry data shows.

A growing number of employees have to wait several years before the court deals with their complaint. These most often concern remuneration or reinstatement in their place of work after what may have been an illegal dismissal.

Court proceedings lasting longer than six months harm the employee who has lost their job, experts say. Many people, before they are reinstated at work, must find a new job; otherwise they may be left with no means to support themselves. Meanwhile, in some labor courts, employees have to wait half a year for the first hearing.

Prolonged court proceedings can also hit employers’ wallets because, in the event of losing the case, they must pay an employee compensation together with interest, and the longer the proceedings the higher the interest.

Broadband for Every New Home
The Administration and Digitization Ministry wants to introduce rules to ensure that every newly constructed building in Poland has access to broadband internet.

“We have worked out changes which require that every multi-family building in Poland should be provided with a fiber-optic system, a complete telecommunications infrastructure, at the construction stage,” Małgorzata Olszewska, deputy administration and digitization minister, told the Newseria news agency.

The ministry says that before drafting the new rules, a study was conducted to assess what impact providing additional telecommunications connections to each apartment in a newly constructed building will have on home prices. “It turns out that these costs are not high compared to the costs now borne by those who construct such buildings,” Olszewska said.

The decision about whether and when the proposed regulations will come into force depends on the European Commission. “We had to submit the rules to the European Commission,” Olszewska says. “The Commission is examining whether we have ensured equal access for all operators, not only cable operators but also infrastructure and satellite ones.”

Under the European Digital Agenda, next year every EU household should have access to the internet with a minimum speed of 30 Mbps. By 2020 at least 50 percent of EU households should have access to broadband with a speed of over 100 Mbps.

Polisa Życie Joins Vienna Insurance Group
Vienna Insurance Group (VIG), a leading insurance company in Central and Eastern Europe, is the new owner of Polish life insurer Polisa Życie.

As of June 27, VIG controls 92 percent of Polisa Życie’s shares. The remaining 8 percent is held by minority shareholders.

The acquisition of Polisa Życie by VIG is expected to allow the Polish company to build on its 180 years of experience on the Polish market while benefiting from the group’s strong position on the international insurance market.

Polisa Życie is a brand with a long tradition and strong position on the Polish insurance market, in both group and individual insurance. The company also offers many niche products.

More Funds from Norway
Beginning September, Polish research institutions can apply for funding for their research projects from the Polish-Norwegian Research Collaboration program. This is one of a dozen or so programs that will be carried out as part of the second round of Norway’s assistance to Poland.

The program’s budget is 43 million euros, of which 39 million will be spent on research projects. The Polish-Norwegian Research Collaboration program was established to provide funds for research carried out jointly by scientific institutions in Poland and Norway.

The co-financing is intended for research in areas including environmental protection, climate change, health, and social sciences. Also eligible are projects dealing with the promotion of gender equality and those designed to help individuals balance work with private life.