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05. Pay Equity Laws

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05. Pay Equity Laws

Extent of Protection

Employees have the right to the same remuneration for the same work or for work of the same value. Such remuneration includes all components of remuneration, regardless of their name and character, as well as other work-related benefits allocated to employees in cash or in forms other than cash. Work of the same value is understood as work, the performance of which, requires from the employees’ comparable occupational qualifications, confirmed by documents envisaged in separate provisions or by professional practice and experience, as well as comparable responsibility and effort.

Remedies

An employee who suspects discrimination in terms of remuneration or unequal remuneration, may take the case to court or file a complaint with the National Labour Inspectorate. In the event of a court dispute, if an employee accuses the employer of violating the provisions of non-discrimination, the employee should indicate the alleged cause of discrimination as well as facts to present the violation as probable. From this time, the employer bears the burden of proving that the differentiation of the situation of employees was caused by objective reasons.

Enforcement/Litigation

In such cases, the decision of the labour court replacing the provisions of the employment contract with relevant non-discriminatory provisions, may shape the content of the ongoing employment relationship for the future. In the event of a breach of the principle of equal treatment in employment with regard to the amount of remuneration in the past (especially after termination of employment), an employee may claim compensation in the amount of the difference between the remuneration they should have received without violating the principle of equal treatment and the remuneration actually received, for a period of up to 3 years.

Other Requirements

It is becoming more popular among major employers (over 1000 employees) to introduce pay equity regulations, allowing for the monitoring of pay equity among employees and adjusting pay accordingly. Many employers, in order to avoid accusation of renumeration discrimination, introduce a clause of earnings confidentiality in employment contracts or work regulations, which forbids informing other employees about the amount of the employee’s remuneration, sometimes even under the threat of dismissal, which is contrary to the law, and therefore null and void. For example, in the judgment of 26 May 2011 (file no. II PK 304/10), the Polish Supreme Court decided that disclosure of remuneration that was covered by a confidentiality clause, in order to prevent violation of the principle of equal treatment and to manifest the remuneration discrimination, cannot constitute a reason justifying the termination of an employment contract. An employee can disclose the information on his remuneration if he suspects that there are cases of remuneration discrimination at the workplace. It should also be remembered that the information on the amount of individual remuneration is the personal data of the employee, not the employer, so ultimately the employee has the right to use this information.

Any questions

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