Global menu

Our global pages


Global employment briefing: Poland, January 2018

  • Poland
  • Employment law


New protection for whistleblowers

Legislation introducing statutory protection for whistleblowers is underway and expected to come into force on 1 March 2018.

Once in force, the new provision will allow any employee, worker or self-employed person to claim the status of “whistleblower” on disclosing wrongdoing by an organisation. To do so, the information they disclose must be credible evidence of specified criminal activity, such as bribery, organised crime, forgery of invoices, fraud, money laundering or corruption related to the production and sales of drugs and medicines. Whether or not a disclosure constitutes whistleblowing will be determined by the prosecutor.

Where allegations of whistleblowing are raised, an employer will not be able to dismiss the individual or make unilateral changes to their contract to their detriment, without the consent of the prosecutor investigating the allegations. This protection will persist throughout any criminal proceedings which result against the organization and for one year after those proceedings are concluded.

If organisations act in contravention of these new provisions, for example by terminating the contract of the whistleblower or making detrimental changes to it without the consent of prosecutor, the whistleblower can claim compensation. For employees, such compensation will be twice annual salary and, for other workers and the self-employed, will be payment in full for the remaining term specified in their contract.

Sunday and public holiday shopping to be prohibited

Legislation which will significantly limit trading on Sundays and over periods of public holiday, will come into force on 1 March 2018. The restrictions will cover, in principle, all retail activity in commercial establishments, although this is subject to over 30 exceptions.

Under the new regulations, trade and trade-related activities will be prohibited in retail outlets on Sundays and public holidays. The ban will also cover December 24 and the Saturday preceding Easter, when trading must cease from 2:00 pm. Importantly, in terms of prohibited activity, the ban extends to the engagement of employees, independent contractors or temporary workers to undertake trade or trade-related activities on the prohibited days. On Christmas Eve and Easter Saturday, employees who finish work at 2:00 pm (i.e. in accordance with the new requirements) will be entitled to be paid holiday pay for the remaining hours they would normally have worked.

The new provisions define “retail outlets” as “facilities in which trade and trade related activities are carried out, in particular: shops, stands, stalls, wholesalers, coal depots, building materials stores, department stores, mail order houses, sales offices - if in such facilities work is performed by employees or civil law contractors”.

A transition period will apply, during which trading will be allowed on the first and last Sunday of each month until the end of 2018 and on the last Sunday of each month in 2019. From 2020, trade on Sunday will be completely forbidden, unless it falls within one of the exceptions in the Act.

Failure to adhere to these trading restrictions will lead to potential fine of between PLN 1,000 to PLN 100,000 (approx. EUR 240 to EUR 24,000). Similar financial penalties will apply to organisations which seek to engage workers after 2:00 pm on Christmas Eve and Easter Saturday.