The Ministry of Economy has prepared a draft amendment to the Labour Code, which is to make it easier for employers to keep employee records, and consequently to reduce the costs associated with it. We fully support the objectives of the project. We fear, however, that the proposed regulations will not lead to the desired effect. This stems primarily from the fact that they ignore the fundamental demand of employers – the possibility of documenting and archiving that data also in electronic form.
In our view, only digitization means a real convenience for employers – in terms of both logistics (saving space and time) and cost (saving funds). We draw attention to the fact that in most companies digital document flow is now the norm. The amendment should aim to sanction this practice. That is why we advocate appropriate changes in the bill and including this issue in the decrees of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
Current regulations do not specify what documents and for how long should be kept by the employer. That is why the initiative of the Ministry of Economy to specify a catalogue of these documents with the period of their obligatory archiving stipulated is reasonable. The project foresees three minimum retention periods: the period of employment (referred to as "0"), a 5-year and 50-year period after termination of employment. However, in our view introducing a 50-year retention period to the Labour Code would clearly mean it applies to all employers, which was not so obvious in the current legislation. For employers, particularly small, such a provision would constitute a heavy burden. Moreover, as the National Labour Inspectorate points out, regulating through labour law the obligation to keep employee records means that the inspectors will be authorized to control its observance by employers.
New storage periods will also cause changes in the way of collecting personal data of employees – records will consist of three parts separated according to their retention period. This change, in our opinion, may be a serious impediment in the daily use of employee acts. In addition, it may be necessary to adjust personal files in order to harmonize the rules of collecting documentation in the company. This means additional, costly and time-consuming duty, especially for large employers.
We support giving an employer the right to destroy personal records of a deceased worker. In our view, however, a similar solution should be introduced with regard to the situation of retired employees. The obligation to keep personal records for 50 years in this case also raises our big concerns, especially since pension and disability benefits records are also collected by the Social Insurance Institution.
In our opinion, the project prepared by the Ministry of Economy still requires fine-tuning. Otherwise, the new regulations could prove problematic for employers and impose new obligations, which would run counter to the idea of deregulation, which underlies the present amendment.
Employers of Poland