Are we going to work 6 days in a week?


Pic by Krzysztof Białoskórski
Pic by Krzysztof Białoskórski
Is it payment for overtime or maybe extension of a working week? Changes in the Labor Code suggested by PO stir up many controversies.

According to regulations, currently we work 8 hours during 5 days in a week – for each additional day we should get a day off and overtime should be remunerated. Those regulations, however, are not always respected by employers. Therefore, a certain proposal was suggested: if an employer does not give an employee a day off for his work on Saturday, he will have to pay an equivalent to him.


Arguments pro


According to applicants, the draft amendment to the project is supposed to eliminate unfavorable differences for workers in compensating them the work on days off. The authors point out that people who work on Saturdays are treated worse than employees who perform their duties on, for instance, Sunday or holidays. They, as applicants claim, may receive financial compensation if the obtainment of a day off is not possible. Similar solutions would concern employees who work on Saturday. According to the project, they will have an addition to their consideration for each hour of work in that day. However, they will receive those money only if they submit an application in that case or if an employer will not be able to give them back a day off due to, for instance, expiring settlement period. The authors emphasize that an average 5-day working week will be reserved.


Arguments against


Trade Unions are strongly against the mentioned idea. They are afraid that it will lead to the introduction a 6-day working week. It is said that we will be able to choose if we want to work on Saturday, or not. In reality, we perfectly know that a Polish employee has nothing to say in that case. In many companies, so called free choice will indicate the imposition of a longer worktime by an employer – says Piotr Szumlewicz from OPZZ. The same case is with settlement: as the project envisages, the fact if the sixth worked day will be exchanged for a day off or remuneration would not depend on the employee, but on the employer.


On the other hand, there are people who would like to earn more, even for the price of coming to work on Saturdays. According to OPZZ representative, it is a very dangerous reasoning: the Labor Code was created in order to provide an employee some time for relaxation. The Poles do not work long – on average 40 and a half hour in a weekly-time basis. In countries which belong to the European Union, in turn, it totals 37 hours. In an annual period, the Poles spend 2000 hours in work, while the Dutch only 1400 – explains Piotr Szumlewicz.


Trade-unionists notice one more danger – the introduction of new rules may lead to decrease in real incomes per hour. In spite of the fact the a worker will work longer, his basic salary will remain the same.


The project was submitted to the Sejm on 29th August 2014 by the group of KP PO deputies. On 1th October of the current year, the project was referred to the first reading on the Sejm’s session. The Members of Parliament have been debating on the Code’s amendment on Wednesday. In the discussion, an application concerning refusal of the project in the first reading was submitted. The deputies are going to decide on that case during another meeting.

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