Important change in the rules for making deductions from employee’s receivables
The part of protection of remuneration for work is the possibility of making deductions from remuneration for work only in cases and to the extent specified in the Labor Code. However, in addition to remuneration for work, sometimes the employee is entitled to other work-related benefits from the employer, including, for example, daily travel allowances. Until now, such benefits have been free of bailiffs’ enforcement activities, however, this situation has changed with the entry into force of the Act amending certain acts to improve the effectiveness of enforcement of child support (Journal of Laws of 2018, item 2432). Pursuant to the established legal act, the Code of Civil Procedure was amended, adding to the provision of art. 831 § 1a which excludes from execution only 50% of diets to which employee is entitled. The remaining amount may be taken by the bailiff enforcing child support for the benefit of entitled persons or budgetary claims for the Child Support Fund. The changes are effective from January 11, 2019.
What is important, this change covers only the enforcement of child support payments – in the case of other types of debts of the employee diets are still beyond the possibility of making deductions from them. It seems that this change will be particularly severe for employees employed in the transport industry, where in practice most drivers are employed on a contract of employment with a minimum remuneration for work, which is compensated to employees by high income from diets or lumps for accommodation or for other employers where the movement of employees is an important element of work organization. At the same time, the employer may face sanctions for failing to provide the bailiff with the seized receivables. In this regard, it should be pointed out that, firstly, the amount of the possible fine has been raised from 2,000 to 5,000 PLN and secondly, the payment of the part of the employee’s remuneration to the employee causes the employer to be liable for the damage caused to the creditor, i.e. persons entitled to child support. In practice, this means that it is possible that the employer will have to pay the creditor entitled to child support the amount he has already paid out to his employee despite the seizure. Even though the reimbursement of this amount by the employer will be possible from the employee, but in practice (in particular when reimbursement will be against former employee) it may be difficult.
The matter is even more complicated due to the fact that the diet does not constitute remuneration for work, but is a receivable separate from the remuneration due from the employment relationship. Hence, employers should pay special attention to the content of the bailiff’s action by verifying whether it also covers the diet due to the employee from the employer.