Logo L&E Global

Poland: Supreme Court verdict on overtime work in task-based working time system

Case No. II PK 172/18 concerned a full-time employee, who was employed as a financial analyst teleworker in a task-based working time system. The agreement specifying the terms of telework contained a provision according to which the employee, in case of necessity to work overtime, should immediately inform the employer and obtain his consent. In the absence of the employer’s consent, work performed in excess of the standard working time would not constitute overtime work. Despite not obtaining the required consent, at the end of each year of work, the employee would demand payment of additional remuneration for overtime work. However, the employer questioned some of the additional work, finding that the tasks could have been completed in the standard working time, and paid the salary after verifying the statements submitted by the employee.

After terminating the employment contract, the employee brought an action demanding additional remuneration for the overtime work. The courts of both instances found his claim unjustified, because the employee had not obtained the required consent of the employer. The employee thereafter appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court reviewed the findings of the lowers courts, which indicated that the employee worked in a task-based work time system and would organise his work time directly, without informing his superiors, in any way, that it was necessary for him to work overtime. Additionally, the evidence showed that periods of excess work were offset by a reduction of working hours. Moreover, the employer had verified the scope of the employee’s work and paid him for the overtime work, despite the lack of any prior approval for the overtime work, in accordance with the regulations.

The Polish Supreme Court stated in its verdict that in a task-based working time system, even if the employee’s performance of the tasks entrusted to him is not possible during normal working hours, this does not release the employee from the obligation to prove the specific number of overtime hours to be paid. In a situation where the type and size of the work to be performed has not been precisely defined, it may not be possible to objectively estimate its duration. In such circumstances, determining overtime cannot be reduced to a mere presumption based on the employee’s assertion of alleged working hours.

Based on the above considerations, the Supreme Court upheld the judgments against the employee and in favour of the employer.