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Global employment briefing: Poland, October 2017

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  • Employment law


New rules on work permits and data protection

Employment of non-EEA citizens

On 1 January 2018 new rules on work-permits for people who are not citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) take effect by way of changes to the Act on employment promotion and labour market institutions. The new rules implement EU Directive 2014/36/EU on the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers.

The amendment will provide a new type of work permit for non-EEA citizens – the seasonal work permit. The new permit will enable a non-EEA citizen to perform seasonal work, for a fixed period of up to 9 months in a calendar year, in sectors identified in regulations made by the Minister of Labour. The final version of the regulations has not yet been published but the project includes sectors related to agriculture and tourism.

The amendment also settles the situation of non-EEA citizens who stay in Poland for a period longer than 6 months during a period of 12 consecutive months performing their duties as a commercial proxy of a company or as a general partner in a limited partnership or a limited joint-stock partnership. Starting from 1 January 2018 they will be obliged to obtain a type B work permit, which currently covers only management board members staying in Poland.

In addition, the amendment will provide detailed regulations on the need for employers to register a declaration if they intend to provide work to certain citizens – this is a special procedure which allows citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine to work in Poland without a work permit for up to six months in a period of 12 consecutive months. This procedure will not be used in sectors in which the seasonal work permit is issued.

Planned changes of protection of employees’ personal data

Further changes to Polish employment law can be expected with the implementation of the European General Data Protection Regulation. In this regard, details were published recently of a proposal to amend the Labour Code on the protection of employees’ personal data.

The proposal will, if enacted, change the scope of personal data which an employer may require from job candidates and employees. The new list covers the individual’s phone number and email address – personal data which are not included in the current list.

The amendment expressly allows employers to process other personal data of employees or job applicants with their consent if it concerns the employment relationship and is not related to addiction, health, sexual life or orientation. Processing of biometric data of employees related to employment is allowed if the employee consents.

The proposal also addresses the monitoring of employees. If the amendment is implemented employers will be allowed to install electronic devices to monitor employees in the workplace when it is necessary to ensure the security of employees, the protection of property or the secrecy of information which, if disclosed, could jeopardize the employer’s interests. Monitoring will be forbidden in non-working areas, in particular sanitary facilities, dressing rooms, canteens and smoking rooms. Nor will employers be allowed to use the devices to monitor employees’ work performance.