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International food and drink sector key issues for 2012 Poland

  • Poland
  • Food and drink


Human Resources

  • In 2012 any outstanding annual leave must be granted to an employee by 30 September of the following year at the latest (as opposed to the current date of 31 March).
  • The maximum working time of a person with a significant or moderate degree of disability will be increased to 8 hours per day (currently 7 hours) and 40 hours per week (currently 35 hours). It can be shortened to 7 hours per day and 35 hours per week only on the basis of a respective medical certificate.
  • The minimum wage will increase to PLN 1500 gross.
  • An additional maternity leave will last up to four weeks when giving birth to one child (currently two weeks) and six weeks when giving birth to more than one child at one birth (currently three weeks). A male employee who is the father taking care of a child will be entitled to paternity leave of two weeks (currently one week) within a defined timeframe.

Litigation and Regulatory

  • In May 2012 an amendment to the Civil Procedure Code will come into force. One major change is to revoke special proceedings dedicated for court disputes between businesses. After the change, general rules of proceedings will apply when handling disputes between business entities. The intention is to eventually improve and speed up commercial disputes. The amendment also introduces changes to many other aspects of civil law procedure, but cancellation of this special proceeding applicable to business entities the most significant one.
  • On 1 January 2012, the Act on reimbursement of medicinal products, food for special nutritional purposes and medical devices (dated 12 May 2011) will come into force. Certain provisions of this Act are already in force. It will introduce the possibility of listing certain types of food which have special nutritional purposes for government subsidy at the point of purchase (i.e. they will be dispensed at no charge or only partial charge to consumers). The Act will also introduce a pay-back mechanism whereby the government will subsidise or reimburse certain products up to a maximum of 17% of the total sum of public funds for guaranteed healthcare services. This pay-back mechanism will be applicable in cases where the 17% State reimbursement budget is exceeded; the exact amount payable will be calculated in proportion to the share of the reimbursement cost of the product. The Act will also introduce fixed prices and margins (while fixed margin in 2012 shall amount to 7%, in 2013 it shall be 6% and in 2014 and thereafter, 5%, of the official sale price). Additionally the Act introduces the possibility of negotiating risk-sharing mechanisms with the Ministry of Health. The new Act forbids giving any incentives relating to reimbursed food for special nutritional purposes, among others, to business entities and their employees. It also introduces the possibility of the direct import of certain types of food for special nutritional purposes, without the necessity to notify the Main Sanitary Inspector about bringing such products onto the Polish market, which normally needs to be notified prior or along with first introduction of the product onto Polish market.

Source: Renata Patoka, Eversheds Briefing, January 2012

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Renata Misiewicz
PR team
+48 22 50 50 719