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sobota, lipca 16, 2005

The Check is in the Mail: Polish Employers Paying Late?

The Check is in the Mail: Polish Employers Paying Late?

News Poland
by Jordan Seidel

"I haven't been paid since April," laments Pani 'X.' Her colleague joins in "Yes, it's very difficult."

Lately in conversations with Poles about various topics from holiday plans to new babies, a common complaint is emerging across the social spectrum: Polish employees aren't being paid on time. I listened to Pani X describe her situation, she knew she was being exploited and yet for someone who hadn't been paid in 3 months, she was smiling as if those backlogged bills didn't matter. In the past, this reaction would have puzzled me to the point of irritation. Why isn't anger the primary response? How can this happen? You're being taken advantage of! Let's get on the phone to a lawyer and sort things out! A couple of years ago, this would have been my reflexive diatribe. But now I understand Pani X's understated response to be a necessary adaptation to a complicated economic situation (and an avoidance of ulcers and premature balding).

According to a European Foundation report by Polish State Labour Inspection (Państwowa Inspekcja Pracy) on Polish pay practices, in 2001, [I]nspectors found that pay regulations were violated in 62% of the audited enterprises. The average amount of back wages amounted to PLN 1,000 per employee in these enterprises, representing a growth of 34% over the previous year.

When asked why they pay their employees late, the report indicated "45% of employers pointed to cash-flow problems, which they said were caused by customers not meeting their commitments on time." Finger pointing is understandable. Afterall, it's hard to blame your employer for not paying you when they can simply shrug their shoulders and blame someone else.

According to other reports, the problem can't be resolved by simply proposing more regulations (And who would pay for stricter enforcement anyway?). It appears that the root cause is not an illegal intent to withhold money, rather, the economic situation in Poland is such that both employers (mid to small) and employees face economic hardships alike. Until a turnaround occurs it appears that Pani X is on to something when it comes to delayed payments -- Poles must simply grin and bear it.

Useful Links:

1) European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions: Practices such as delayed payment of wages and failure to make social security contributions on employees' pay are relatively widespread among Polish employers. (Report in Polish)

2) European Industrial Relations Observatory on-line: Surveys of private sector enterprises in Poland have found a growing tendency among employers to delay the payment of wages in recent years.

3) The Polish Central Statistical Office (Główny Urząd Statystyczny, GUS) - In English, In Polish.

4) Latest Stats on Polish Men and Women in the Labor Market --> HERE

5) The Institute of Polish Public Affairs (IPA) ---> HERE

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At 28.7.05, Blogger A BOY NAMED GMU said...

I don't know if you're aware of this but your blog is extremely difficult to read. I'm browsing with IE and the main section is nearly illegible. As for the sidebar, I cannot even make out your contributors' names, for example.

At 2.8.05, Anonymous Anonimowy said...

It is dificult to read in firefox, too.
Fix it! I do like the content but do not like the FORM


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