For the employee’s failure to observe the established organisation and order in the work process, health and safety regulations, fire safety regulations, as well as the accepted method of confirming arrival and presence at work and justifying absence from work, the employer may apply:
- penalty of a warning,
- penalty of a reprimand.
For an employee’s failure to comply with occupational health and safety or fire safety regulations, leaving work without justification, coming to work while intoxicated or consuming alcohol during work – the employer may also apply a fine. This is a closed catalogue of cases when a fine may be imposed on an employee. The application of penalties not provided for by the Labour Code is punishable by a fine from PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000.
The monetary penalty for an employee for one failure to comply as well as for each day of unexcused absence shall not exceed one day’s wages of the employee, and the total monetary penalties shall not exceed a tenth of the wages payable to the employee, after deductions:
- sums enforced under enforcement orders for the satisfaction of maintenance,
- sums recovered under enforcement orders for debts other than maintenance,
- cash advances made to an employee,
and if these deductions exceed half of the salary, it will not be possible to deduct the fine. In the case of fines, an amount equal to 90% of the net minimum wage is free of deduction. Proceeds from fines shall be used to improve health and safety conditions at work.
The penalty may not be applied after 2 weeks from the knowledge of the breach of the employee’s duty and after 3 months from the commission of the breach. The penalty may only be applied after the employee has been heard. If, due to absence from the workplace, the employee cannot be heard, the two-week period for punishment shall not start and the period started shall be suspended until the day the employee appears at work. The employer must notify the employee of the penalty in writing, indicating the nature of the employee’s breach and the date on which the employee committed the breach, and informing the employee of the right to object and the time limit for doing so. A copy of the notice shall be filed in the employee’s personal file. Within 7 days of the notification of the punishment, the employee may file an objection. The acceptance or rejection of the objection shall be decided by the employer after considering the position of the company trade union organisation representing the employee – if there is one. Failure to reject the objection within 14 days from the date of its filing shall be equivalent to acceptance of the objection. The employee who has lodged an objection may, within 14 days from the date of notification of the rejection of such objection, apply to the labour court for the annulment of the penalty applied to him/her. If the objection to the monetary penalty applied to him is upheld or the labour court annuls the penalty, the employer shall reimburse the equivalent amount of the penalty to the employee. The penalty shall be considered null and void and a copy of the penalty notice shall be removed from the employee’s personal file after one year of impeccable work. The employer may, on its own initiative or at the request of the company trade union representing the employee, declare the penalty null and void before the expiry of this period. The same shall be done in the event that the employer upholds the objection or the labour court issues a decision to annul the penalty. For example: the McDonald’s social code prefers the use of other forms of discipline (such as having to participate in additional training, employee rankings, etc.) to the use of disciplinary penalties even if they are legally permissible.