Poland – Health



The state’s duty to protect human rights

1. Regulations relating to business and human rights under Polish law

Employment and occupation equality [pages 11-12]

According to Article 943 of the LC, the employer is obligated to take action against workplace mobbing, which includes acts or behaviour towards an employee or directed against an employee involving persistent and long-lasting harassment or bulling of an employee causing specific negative consequences. An employee who was harassed at work and developed health problems may claim an appropriate amount of money from the employer as a pecuniary compensation for the damage sustained.

Workplace bullying at one’s place of work or in connection with one’s work means a systematic repetition of certain behaviour directed at an employee that results in, e.g., the elimination of such an employee from the group. Particularly important in this case is the health aspect, which distinguishes the phenomenon of workplace bullying from an ordinary conflict.

Prevention of economic exploitation of children [page 12]

Article 3045 of the LC provides that work or other paid jobs may only be performed by a child under the age of 16 for the benefit of an entity conducting cultural, artistic, sporting, or advertising activity, and only with the prior consent of the child’s statutory representative or guardian, as well as permission from the relevant labour inspector. The relevant labour inspector must refuse permission if the performance of the work will endanger the life, health, or psychophysical development of the child or if it constitutes a threat to the child’s performance of his or her school duties.

Occupational safety and health[pages 14-15]

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights calls on the States Parties to the Covenant to recognise the right of everyone to enjoy of just and favourable conditions of work, including safe and healthy working conditions, as well as rest, leisure, and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic paid holidays, as well as remuneration for public holidays.

The provisions for ensuring safe and hygienic working conditions by employers are set out in Division 10 of the Labour Code, “Health and Safety at Work”, as well as in other generally applicable laws. In accordance with the provisions of the Labour Code, employers are obliged to protect the health and life of their employees by providing them with health and safety conditions at work that appropriately use science and technology achievements. Employers are also obligated to organise work in a manner that ensures the above-mentioned conditions. In addition, Division 10 of the Labour Code specifies the rights and obligations of employees with respect to health and safety at work, the basic health and safety requirements for buildings and working premises, as well as machines and other technical equipment, requirements regarding factors and processes of work that create particular threats to health or life, obligations providing employees with preventive health protection, employers’ obligations related to accidents at work and occupational diseases, obligations to provide health and safety training, obligations to provide employees with measures of individual protection and work clothes and shoes, requirements to establish a health and safety at work service, requirements to provide consultations on health and safety at work and a commission on health and safety at work.

In addition to the provisions of Division 10, the Labour Code also contains other provisions for the protection of the lives and health of women and young people who are employees, included in Division 8, “The Rights of Employees in Relation to Parenthood”, and Division 9, “Employment of Young People”. The provision of safe and hygienic work conditions for employees is also ensured by regulations of other laws, including the Construction Law, the Atomic Law, and the Geological and Mining Law.

The state’s activities as regards supervision and inspection of work conditions (in accordance with the requirements of international law) are important for ensuring health and safety at work. The system of measures that implement this policy is based, in particular, on the powers of the National Labour Inspectorate (reporting to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland) to supervise the observance of labour law, including health and safety at work, and the State Sanitary Inspection (reporting to the Minister of Health) to supervise compliance with work hygiene regulations. According to Article 304 of the LC, employers are obligated to ensure health and safety working conditions not only for their employees, but also for individuals performing work on a basis other than an employment contract at a work establishment or in a place designated by the employer, as well as for anyone conducting their own business activity at a work establishment or in a place designated by the employer. Obligations related to health and safety at work are applicable to non-employers who organise work performed by individuals on a non-employment basis and self-employed individuals. According to Article 3041 of the LC, the basic duties of employees (referred to in Article 211 of the LC) within the scope determined by an employer or another entity organising work will also be imposed on individuals who perform work on a different basis than an employment contract at a work establishment or in a place designated by the employer or other entity organising work, as well as on anyone conducting their own business activity at their work establishment or in a place designated by the employer or another entity organising work.

4. Investment strategy and an ideal investor’s profile [page 32]

The ideal investor should engage in broad employee care activities (e.g., by offering additional healthcare programmes or the ability to use in-company preschools and crèches). This contributes greatly to building responsible entrepreneurship and to recognising the role of entrepreneurs as actors of particular importance in the process of building civil society.



2. Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy

Activities under the European Social Fund

Another area in which ESF+ support will be implemented is care for the youngest children. Ensuring greater availability of care facilities for children below the age of three is one of the key instruments influencing the professional situation of parents and carers, especially women, who are most often responsible for childcare. Increasing the reach of care institutions therefore has a positive impact on the issue of equal opportunities in the labour market. For this reason, ESF+ resources will be used to finance establishment and operation of nurseries, child clubs and day carers as well as activities ensuring high quality of care (such as trainings for personnel of care institutions).

Another important aspect of furthering social economy is the development social economy entities’ activities in the field of social services. Social economy entities, operating on the basis of local communities, are an important provider of social services. Thus, it is also critical to build up the market by way of encouraging local authorities to entrust social economy entities with the provision of said services. – page 7

The document includes a separate area on creating conditions for tapping the potential of the older persons as active participants of economic life and the labour market, adjusted to their psychophysical capabilities and family situation, which is implemented through:

1.     preventing economic (increasing social security), digital and technological exclusion of older persons;

2.     creating incentives for older persons to remain in the labour market;

3.     promoting the principles of corporate social responsibility and age management among employers; – page 15

The first Polish Strategy for Persons with Disabilities 2021–2030

The document identifies eight priority areas of the Strategy.

Within the first of the priority areas, namely ‘Independent life’, the actions planned seek to fulfil an overarching objective to guarantee the right to independent living to persons with disabilities under Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Within this area, actions are foreseen for the deinstitutionalisation process, in line with the Common European Guidelines on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care, referring to ‘the process of developing a range of services in the community, including prevention, in order to eliminate the need for institutional care’. The third stage of the process will be to ‘ensure universal availability of basic services in areas such as education and training, employment, housing, health care and transport to all children and adults in need of support’. – page 17

Within the ‘Health’ priority area, measures have been planned in order to fulfil Poland’s obligations following from the Convention (Article 25), in particular to provide persons with disabilities with health care, access to health services and programmes taking into account their specific requirements and needs with respect to health prevention, prevention of secondary complications and deterioration of health condition, medical rehabilitation and optimisation of the quality of functioning. The planned measures concern, among others, improvement of accessibility of preventive medical treatment, improvement of accessibility of health services, improvement of access to rehabilitation services and the highest quality medical devices, development of a model of comprehensive rehabilitation, reform in the field of mental health and improvement of medical personnel’s competencies in the field of health care of persons with disabilities. – page 19

4. Ministry of Family and Social Policy

Development programme for care institutions for children under the age of three TODDLER+

Care institutions for children below the age of three are one of the tools enabling employees to combine private and professional life. The instrument which increases their territorial and financial availability is the Ministry’s programme for the development of childcare institutions for children under the age of three TODDLER+. It is announced annually, starting from 2011 (annual programme). The programme allows for co-financing of two types of activities:

1.     a)  establishment of new care facilities,

2.     b)  operation of care facilities.– page 20