Employment & labor law

A revolution in the regulations governing the activities of trade unions

The end of the year is usually a very busy period for employers. It is so mostly because they have to prepare for changes that will come into force with the new year. However, 2019 will bring truly revolutionary changes in trade union law, which will certainly strengthen the position of trade unions. Below we present the most important provisions of the amendment to the Act on trade unions, which will come into force on January 1, 2019.

  1. Trade unions not only for employees

Certainly, the most important change in the existing regulations is the change in the definition of a person who has the right to participate in trade union. From the begging of a new year, such right will be given not only to employees, but to every person working for remuneration on a different basis than the employment relationship. This means that the person holding right to join a trade union will also be a person working on the basis of a contract of mandate, a contract for specific work, and even a self-employed person, if he or she carries out the work in person. An additional condition for the possibility of joining a trade union by a non-employee will be that this person’s rights and interests related to the performance of work are in trade union’s capacity to be represented and defended. In addition, volunteers, trainees and other persons who personally provide unpaid work under the conditions set out in the certain unions’ statutes will also be able to join the trade union.

  1. Union rights also for non-employees

Although not all rights of members of trade union, which are employees and those which are providing work on a different basis, have been made equal, as some of them – those necessary to perform trade union activities – will also be given to the other group of entities. This includes, among other things, the possibility of dismissal from work for the time necessary to perform an ad hoc activities while retaining the right to remuneration, the right to be exempted from the obligation to perform work for the period of acting as a Board member of given company’s trade union organization, but most of all to protect members of the union who are not employees against the termination of the employment contract or change of working conditions.

  1. Effects of termination / change, of the terms of the contract of a person who is not an employee, without the consent of the trade union board

The effect of protection against the termination of the legal relationship between the employing entity and the person providing work on a basis other than the employment contract, will give such persons the right to claim, irrespective of the amount of damage suffered, compensation equal to the 6-month remuneration to which this person was entitled in the last period of employment and if the remuneration of this person is not paid on a monthly basis – in an amount equal to 6 times the average monthly remuneration in the national economy in the previous year, announced by the President of the Central Statistical Office. Such a person will also be able to claim damages or indemnification that transfers the amount of compensation.

  1. Increase of the threshold for representatives

The extension of the circle of persons entitled to join the trade unions will also entail changes in the scope of the threshold granting the trade union organization the attribute of a „representative organization” and thus:

  • a representative sector trade union organization will be a sector trade union organization:
  1. representative within the meaning of the Act on the Social Dialogue Council or,
  2. bringing together at least 15% of the total number of people who perform paid work which people are covered by the scope of the statute, however, no less than 10,000 people working for remuneration, or
  3. bringing together the largest number of persons working for remuneration for which a given collective agreement is to be concluded;
  • the representative trade union organization will be the company’s trade union organization:
  1. being an organizational unit or membership organization of a sector trade union organization recognized as representative within the meaning of the Act on the Social Dialogue Council which bringing together at least 8% of people who work for a given employer, or
  2. bringing together at least 15% of people who work for an employer.
Author team leader DKP Legal Alicja Myśluk-Landowska
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