The Sejm has passed the amendment to the act on the minimum wage, introducing a minimum wage per hour for those working on contracts of order and the self-employed.
If the government, in accordance with earlier declarations, decides to increase the monthly minimum wage to 2000 PLN gross in 2017, the minimum rate per hour at the beginning of next year – when it will come into force – will be 13 PLN gross.
This change will have a significant impact on the functioning of the labour market, as the use of employment forms involving wages lower than minimal will be markedly restricted.
While the higher minimum wage in contracts of order are intended as impetus for substituting them with contracts of employment, this will most likely not be a widespread phenomenon given that civil contracts are attractive not only owing to labour costs, but also due to their far simpler legal structure and the fact that there are fewer bureaucratic obligations involved.
As these changes are introduced at a time of economic upturn, one should not expect a rapid growth of unemployment. However, unemployment will decrease far slower than it would have if not for the new regulations, and even grow should a period of downturn occur. Inhabitants of those regions of the country were wages are low will be most at risk of losing their jobs. In some counties, the minimum per hour wage will amount to as much as 80 percent of the average age.
Young people will be affected the most. The new act removes the possibility of paying 80 percent of the minimum wage to employees with less than 1 year of work experience. Therefore, the monthly costs of employing a young employee will increase by 627 PLN, while the cost of older, more experienced ones will only increase by 180 PLN.
Łukasz Kozłowski, economic expert of Employers of Poland