Proposed changes to Sunday work rules already stirring the pot
When I was asked to be a contributing writer for the new WBJ Observer, I knew it was time to end my writing hiatus. Hopefully you, dear readers, will enjoy the return of something old.
My column that is. Not me.
I’m looking forward to 2014 if only because it has to be better than last year. Although I’m not superstitious, 2013 did its best to convince me of the ill influence of the number 13. The early proclamations of an economic turnaround in Poland in 2013 never quite materialized. Last year’s legislation was a mixed bag. And, to top it all off, several of my major appliances decided to give up the ghost in the last days of December.
Enough about the year that was. In the spirit of in-with-the-new, businesses should keep their eyes on several legal developments in the offing for 2014.
The proposed changes to Sunday and holiday work-time for companies exporting e-services are already stirring up controversy. The initial proposal would make Sundays and holidays regular working days for these e-service firms. Thus, no overtime would be due just because an employee worked on these days. An extreme counter-proposal would ban all work on Sundays and holidays. The outcome of this battle will be crucial in determining whether Poland remains an attractive destination for the business process outsourcing sector.
Not all changes are controversial, however. The Polish competition office is sponsoring a widely acclaimed bill to allow for fast-track pre-merger clearance on simple transactions. If adopted, this would reduce the waiting time for UOKiK watchdog clearance from several months to one month. Faster closing means less inter-regnum time for the company to be acquired, and should simplify the transaction process.
Investors in the energy sector are hoping that 2014 will herald more than one change. Most likely, Poland finally will adopt a scheme to support the implementation of Directive 2009/28/EC on Promoting Renewable Sources. As proposed, the scheme would involve an auction process to allow renewable energy producers to sell their power at a set price for a specific amount of time. Even more strategically, it remains to be seen whether the long-hoped-for spin-off of gas and renewables from the current energy law into separate, specialized laws will come to fruition this year.
The list could go on. In fact, my tax partner seems to be only person not looking forward to legislative change in 2014. Given the major tax changes implemented in 2013, she wants 2014 to be boring. Hopefully, a stable tax regime and the proposed changes in law will create a foundation for an up-swing in business in 2014.
Judith Gliniecki is a partner in Wierzbowski Eversheds Poland