The passing of the guidelines for social consultations in the legislative process by the Council of Ministers gives hope for an improvement in the quality of legislation and an increased role of consultations. Guidelines were prepared by the Ministry of Economy and the final documents takes into accounts several suggestions made a.o. by Employers of Poland during the consultation of the draft.
The guidelines should be seen as an supplement to the new work rules of the Council of Ministers, passed in October 2013, in the elaboration of which Employers of Poland were actively engaged. According to the guidelines a process of gathering opinion shorter than 7 days cannot be called a consultation. This applies particularly to EU legal acts which are often sent to social partners with a deadline of 1-2 days for the submission of opinions. Such consultations are farcical – which is why the inclusion of precise and clear rules and deadlines in the guidelines is so satisfying.
However, it should be noted that the acts regulating the activity of social partners include deadlines of 30 and 21 days, though the latter can only be applied in extraordinary cases. In spite of that, the Council of Ministers granted itself the right to consult drafts of legal acts with different deadlines, such as 14 days, which is something we drew attention to during the consultation of the work rules of the Council of Ministers.
The guidelines passed on May 5th include a principle suggested by Employers of Poland, stating that when a new administrative obligation is introduced, the motivation for removing the one currently in force should be presented. What is more, attention was also drawn to the issue of the so-called “gold-plating “ – namely adding administrative obligations beyond what is required by implemented EU regulations. EU law imposes high standards, so raising the bar even higher is not necessary.
We should hope that those to whom the guidelines are addressed – particularly the people responsible for the legislative process on the part of the government: ministers, department directors and experts – take them to heart and apply them thoroughly. Listening to the voice of social partners and increasing the role of the analysis of the consequences of regulation will undoubtedly improve the quality of law and directly contribute to citizens’ quality of life and the functioning of businesses.
Piotr Wołejko, expert for socioeconomic affairs of Employers of Poland