What are the internal work regulations and what should they contain?
Enterprises operate on the basis of applicable provisions contained in statutes and ordinances, as well as according to internal standards. The set of regulations specifying the rights and obligations of the employer and employees is the work regulations. What are the work regulations and what should they contain? You will learn from this article.
What are the internal work regulations?
The definition of internal work regulations can be found in the basic legal act which is a set of provisions regulating the rights and obligations covered by the employment relationship – the Act of 26 June 1974, Labor Code. Becoming familiar with art. 104 item 1 of the said Act, we can learn that:
“Internal work regulations establish organization and order in the work process, and related rights and obligations of the employer and employees.”
Work regulations are the source of the labour law in force with the respective employer. The main purpose of creating these types of documents is to specify in detail the rights and obligations of employees and employers in relation to the needs of the individual workplace, primarily to the nature and manner of business. When creating work regulations, you must remember that their content may not contain provisions less favourable for employees than the provisions of the Labour Code and other laws, ordinances and acts regulating such issues.
When should work regulations be drawn up?
Are you wondering if when you are employing less than 10 employees, are you obliged to create work regulations in your company? The labour code also regulates this issue. The obligation for the Polish entrepreneurs to create and introduce work regulations was provided for in two cases, although there were some exceptions.
The first circumstance that puts an obligation on the entrepreneur to introduce work regulations is the number of employees totalling 50 people or more. The number specified in the regulations includes not only full-time employees, but also part-time employees. It is also worth bearing in mind that, despite the lack of obligation to introduce work regulations by an employer employing fewer than 50 employees, these can still be voluntarily drawn up and published.
The second situation in which the entrepreneur is obliged to introduce work regulations is a request for its preparation issued by a trade union organization. The said organization may apply for the introduction of work regulations if the enterprise employs at least 20 and less than 50 people. The employer may not refuse to draw up and introduce an in-house regulation of the employment relationship.
The exception mentioned at the beginning relieving the employer of the obligation to create work regulations (in each case) is a situation in which the company has a collective agreement in place, which also regulates issues typical for internal work regulations.
What should the work regulations contain?
The content of work regulations may be freely shaped by the employer, however, they should contain the obligations specified by the legislator. In accordance with art. 1041 parish 1 of the Labour Code, the regulations should specify, in particular:
- organization of work, conditions at the workplace during and after work, equipping employees with the necessary tools, materials, clothing and footwear as well as personal protective equipment and means of personal hygiene,
- working time distribution systems and accepted working time settlement periods,
- night time,
- date, place, time and frequency of payment of remuneration,
- lists of tasks prohibited for young workers and women,
- types of work and list of jobs authorized for young workers that undergo vocational training,
- list of all work authorized for young workers employed for purposes other than vocational training,
- obligations regarding occupational health and safety and fire protection, including the manner of informing employees about the occupational risk associated with the work performed,
- the employer’s way of confirming employees’ arrival and presence at work, as well as the manner of justifying absence from work.
In addition, it should also be remembered that the work regulations should contain information on penalties applied to employees in breach of them. For non-compliance with the provisions contained in the work regulations, the employer may warn or reprimand the worker. If a person employed in an enterprise breaks the rules of occupational health and safety, fire regulations or leaves work without justification, and also appears to be drunk or consumes alcohol while working, the employer may impose a fine on such a person.
When do work regulations start to apply?
If an enterprise has a trade union organization, it is the employer’s responsibility to draw up work regulations in consultation with the said organization. The provisions contained in the regulations must be accepted by both the employer, and the trade union. If the trade union objects to the issue of regulations – it refuses to conclude it, and agree on the content jointly within the time limit set by both parties, the employer sets the work regulations by itself. If an agreement is reached with the organization, regulations are issued, indicating that they were agreed with trade union. In a situation where there is no trade union present in the enterprise, the employer is obliged to draw up work regulations.
The set work regulations shall enter into force after 2 weeks from the day of announcing them to the employees. Before the provisions of the regulations enter into force, the employer is obliged to make its content available to employees, so that each of them has the opportunity to read the regulations contained in the document. Work regulations can be forwarded to employees by e-mail, posted on a public notice board, left in a public place, e.g. in the human resources department or directly distributed between employees in paper form.
Well-formulated work regulations clearly define the rights and obligations of both the employer and employees, and together with the Labour Code form the basis for settling disputes arising between them.