Working time systems in Polish legislation

The working time system is considered to be the way employees are organized. The term understood in this way covers both the working time dimension, the manner of its settlement and distribution, as well as the maximum length of the settlement period and the mode of introducing a given system. What is worth knowing about labor systems that have been introduced to the Labor Code by the legislator?

Each employee, before performing work for his employer, must be informed about the work system in which he will perform his duties. Pursuant to the provisions in force, the employer is obliged to put such information in the internal normative act of the workplace regulations or, if there is no obligation to create it, in an appropriate notice, which will be communicated to employees. Regardless of which system of work will be introduced by the employer, in each of them, he has the opportunity to hire employees in shifts. Then they will perform work for him according to the agreed work schedule.

Working time systems – what can we distinguish?

Working time systems that exist in Polish law have been regulated by the legislator in the Labor Code. In this way, the following working time systems can be distinguished:

  • basic,
  • equivalent,
  • intermittent,
  • task,
  • short working week,
  • weekend work,
  • continuous work.

The basic system of working time

The first of the above is the most common. In this system, employees employed perform work according to the agreed schedule of 8 hours a day. In addition, work of over 8 hours is included in overtime work, which must be compensated in accordance with the regulations. In the basic system, the working time cannot also exceed, on average, 40 hours in a five-day working week in the adopted settlement period (Article 129 § 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure). It is not possible to extend the working time, e.g. to 9 hours a day, according to the schedule, because then it will be over time.

In summary, the basic system of working time:

  • lasts 8 hours a day, on average,
  • it lasts 40 hours in a five-day working week,
  • weekly working time,
  • including overtime,
  • may not exceed 48 hours on average in the adopted reference period.
  • In the set settlement period does not exceed 4 months.

If you want to extend your working time system, you can reduce your work time (e.g. to 0.93) or opt for an equivalent working time system.

The equivalent working time system

The equivalent working time system is based on the extension of the employee’s daily working time compared to the 8 hours in force in the basic working time system and the equalization of working time with an appropriate dimension of rest. In the equivalent working time system, it is possible to extend the daily working hours, but not more than to 12 hours (in the reference period to one month). The extended working time means that it will be reduced on another day or the employee will get a day off. An equivalent work system is to ensure that the permissible working time is regulated and not exceeded. The extension of the daily dimension may take place in justified exceptions from 16 to 24 hours.

Immediately after a day in the extended working time system, the employee is entitled to rest, which lasts a minimum number of hours worked. For an equivalent working time system, the average weekly working time system (40 hours) should be maintained. An employee who performs work in an equivalent working time system is entitled to a minimum of 35 rest hours per week.

The task-based working time system

The introduction of a task time system is only possible if it is justified by the type of work, its organization or place of work. In this case, the very task of the employee is to perform the fundamental issue. The time necessary to complete the task is determined by the parties, but must be chosen so that, in accordance with art. 129§1 of the Labor Code did not exceed 8 hours a day and an average of 40 hours in a 5-day working week.

Intermittent system

An intermittent work system can only be introduced in a collective working time arrangement or with an employer who conducts farming and farming activities. It was regulated in Article 139§1 of the Labor Code. And so, if it is justified by the type of work or its organization, an intermittent system of working time may be used according to a predetermined schedule, providing for no more than one break in work per day, lasting no more than 5 hours. The break mentioned above is not included in the working time, but the employee is entitled to remuneration in the amount of half the remuneration due for the downtime.

Work time recording system

In Poland, according to regulations, registration of working time applies, for which adequate remuneration is due. At present, modern work time registration systems are great facilitation, which quickly and efficiently calculate pay due and control the number of absences, working time and length of employee breaks.

Work time recording systems have become very popular in the human resources departments of Polish enterprises. They have contributed to more efficient employee management by creating reports, statistics, and diagrams. They give the possibility of more efficient control over the company’s human resources, and the control of working time also saves the company because they reduce the costs of traditional methods of calculating hours worked.

The working time recording system is based on three elements that form a coherent system network. Those are:

  • recorder – an electronic reader,
  • software – is installed on a computer and is used to analyze the results registered by the reader,
  • proximity tags – most often they are magnetic cards or key rings, sometimes they can be fingerprints.

Each employee receives an individual identifier, which should be applied to the recording reader before entering the building. The identity can be additionally checked by a security guard. Currently, the use of cell phones and tablets is very popular for recording working time. A special application must be installed on the device that controls work time and sends information about work-related events. The forms of the working time registration system are varied and depend on the program the enterprise uses.

The system is balanced with an admissible extension of the daily working time to 12 hours

In accordance with art. 135 of the Labor Code, in such a work system, the employee may perform work for the employer up to 12 hours a day, while the extended daily working time is balanced by shorter daily working hours on some days or days off. The overall working time employed in such a system may not be higher than the working time for all employees, which is calculated by the employer pursuant to Art. 130 of the Labor Code. It is also worth noting that this system and its application will be possible only in some cases. And so, the condition justifying the derivation of an equivalent work system may be even a type of work.

A balanced system with an acceptable extension of the daily working time to 16 or 24 hours

And this work system depends on the type of work. The legislator has indicated that it is possible to extend the daily working time according to:

  • 16 hours for works involving the supervision of equipment or related to partial leaving ready for work (Article 136§1 of the Labor Code),
  • 24 hours for employees employed in guarding property or protection of persons, as well as employees of factory fire brigades and factory rescue services (Article 137 of the Labor Code).

It is worth noting that regardless of which system is used by the employer, he is obliged to provide employees with an appropriate rest period. This should be adequate for the number of hours worked and directly after the employee’s period of work. In view of the above, in such a situation the legislator does not allow the employee to additionally provide overtime work.

Weekend work system

In accordance with art. 144 of the Labor Code in such a work system, the employee performs the tasks assigned to him only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Due to the fact that the legislator protects the employee, this work system can only be introduced at the employee’s written request. In practice, this usually applies to situations where part-time work is performed. In addition, in this system of work, the billing period may not exceed 1 month, and the working time may be extended to a maximum of 12 hours a day.

It should be remembered that the employer should inform the employee about his working time system. Such information should also be included in the work regulations, collective labor agreement or notice. Only information about the weekend work system and the short working week system should be included in the employment contract.

The work time system should always be adapted to the individual needs of the workplace, but at the same time be legal. You have to remember about the right time for employees to rest or leave. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that Polish legislation gives many opportunities to employers and meets them.

Read article in Polish: Working time systems in Poland 


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