Without a doubt, for a State Labour Inspection’s inspection one has to prepare appropriately, just like for any other inspection. An SLI inspection is mainly based on verification of documents, both in paper and electronic form. Therefore, in order to prepare appropriately for an inspection, one has to primarily check if the documentation is complete and organise it in a way to have everything at hand in case of the labour inspector’s request so that the inspection runs smoothly and less stressfully. It is also worth to get familiarized with the Act on the State Labour Inspection in order to learn one’s rights and duties, as well as the powers and duties of a labour inspector.
Who may be inspected by the SLI?
SLI may inspect:
- all employers,
- all entrepreneurs who are not employers bur for the benefit of whom work is performed by individuals,
- all self-employed persons, regardless of their basis for the performance of work.
If you engage a worker on the basis of a mandate or task contract – you also have to be ready for a labour inspector’s visit.
Where can an SLI inspection take place?
A labour inspector may conduct an inspection:
- at the inspected entity’s seat,
- in its subordinate entities (subsidiaries, branch offices),
- in the place where workers’ files and financial documents are kept.
Specific inspection activities may also be conducted at the premises of the SLI’s organizational units, i.e. in the Chief Labour Inspectorate or district labour inspectorates.
What does a labour inspector verify in the course of an inspection?
During an inspection, the labour inspector may be interested in everything which relates to workers, among others – occupational safety and health issues (accidents at work, medical examinations, training, risk assessment etc.), legality of employment, salaries and other benefits resulting from the employment relationship (salary supplements, bonuses, awards), working time (overtime work, working on Sundays and public holidays), annual leaves etc. Moreover, SLI also inspects compliance with the provision on safety and health of working conditions of persons performing work on a basis other than an employment relationship and – in case of civil-law agreements – compliance with the minimum hourly pay rate. The labour inspector will surely be interested to see whether all legal measures applied during previous inspections of the State Labour Inspection were implemented.
Notification of inspection
Labour inspectors are authorized to inspect compliance with labour law, in justified cases without prior notification and at any time of day or night. Thus, not all inspections have to be announced in advance. However, labour inspectors usually inform the employer (via phone or in writing) about an intended inspection, except for instances where such a notification could affect the inspection outcomes.
What do you have to provide to the labour inspector in the course of the inspection?
You have a duty to provide the labour inspector with conditions and measures that are necessary to conduct the inspection efficiently, particularly:
- immediately provide requested documents and materials,
- timely provide written and oral information on issues covered by inspection,
- provide access to technical devices and, if possible, a separate room with appropriate equipment.
Course of inspection
You may not demand that the labour inspector inform you whether the inspection is carried out in result of a complaint.
INSPECTOR’S ID AND AUTHORIZATION
Before the commencement of inspection activities, the labour inspector has the duty to:
- Present a labour inspector’s ID confirming their identity and the powers of a labour inspector or other authorized employee of the State Labour Inspection,
- present an authorization for the inspection.
However, if circumstances justify an immediate commencement of inspection, it can be initiated upon the presentation of the inspector’s ID only. In such case, the labour inspector should provide the inspected entity, as soon as possible – and not later than within 7 days from the date of commencement of inspection, with the relevant authorization. In justified cases, the labour inspector may conduct the inspection with the assistance of the Police.
You may not oppose an inspection, even when you are away from the enterprise. In such case you have to appoint someone to represent you.
POWERS OF A LABOUR INSPECTOR
In the course of an inspection, a labour inspector is entitled to:
- have free access to the premises, buildings and rooms of the inspected entity. The labour inspector has no duty to have a pass, he is also exempt from a personal search, even if that is required by the enterprise’s work rules,
- conduct inspections of buildings, rooms, workstations, machinery and equipment as well as technological and working processes and works as well as to record the course and results of inspection with the use of technical devices and means for video or voice recording,
- demand from you written and oral explanations in relation to matters covered by the inspection. Same duties apply to all workers you employ or have employed as well as persons who perform or used to perform work for your benefit on other grounds than an employment relationship. The labour inspector has a right to summon and interrogate such persons in connection with the inspection,
- see the workplace documents concerning:
- construction, reconstruction or modernisation and start-up of an employment establishment,
- technical plans and drawings, technical and technological documentation,
- results of expert studies, examinations and measurements concerning production or other activity of the inspected entity, as well as – at the inspector’s demand – samples of raw materials and components used, manufactured or generated during production processes, in the amount necessary to make analyses or examinations in case they are related to the inspection underway.
- see the personal files and any other documents connected with work performed by employees and other persons performing work on grounds other than an employment relationship,
- demand, from an employer posting a worker to the territory of the Republic of Poland
or a person acting on the employer’s behalf, documents or statements relating to the posting of workers,
- get familiarized with decisions issued by other authorities competent in the area of supervision and inspection of working conditions and their implementation,
- make necessary copies and excerpts from documents and settlements and calculations drawn on the basis of documents, the labour inspector may also request them directly from you,
- check the identity of persons executing work or staying on the premises of the inspected
entity, as well as persons taking advantage of employment agency services, interrogate them and demand statements with regard to legality of employment or performance of any other paid activity,
- resort to the assistance of experts and specialists as well as accredited laboratories.
DUTIES OF A LABOUR INSPECTOR
In the course of an inspection, a labour inspector has a duty to:
- cooperate with trade unions, workers’ representatives, work councils and social labour inspection,
- comply with provisions on occupational safety and hygiene, fire safety and protection of confidential information.
Upon the completion of an inspection
After completing inspection activities, the labour inspector shall draw up a PROTOCOL. The document shall be signed by the labour inspector in charge of the inspection and the person or authority representing the inspected entity.
Before signing the protocol, you have the right to submit motivated objections to the findings included in the protocol. The objections should be made in writing within 7 days from the presentation of the protocol. The labour inspector in charge has the duty to verify the objections and, if he/she considers them justified, change or supplement the relevant part of the protocol.
Refusing to sign the protocol by the person or authority representing the inspected entity shall not prevent the labour inspector from applying legal measures.
If the labour inspector does not find any irregularities during the inspection, he/she may draw an OFFICIAL NOTE instead of the protocol, which shall include a brief description of factual situation found during the inspection. Such note shall only be signed by the labour inspector.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IRREGULARITIES ARE DETECTED?
In case of identifying an infringement upon regulations concerning labour law or legality of employment, the labour inspector has the right to:
- issue a DECISION:
- ordering the elimination of identified OSH irregularities within a specified time-limit,
- ordering to: cease work or activity if the irregularities cause immediate hazard to life or health of employees or other persons engaged in work; transfer to other tasks the workers employed against the existing regulations in forbidden, harmful or hazardous work, if they do not have the required qualifications (with an immediate effect),
- ordering to cease the operation of machines and equipment when their operation causes an immediate hazard to life or health of humans (with an immediate effect),
- ordering, when the working conditions cause immediate hazard to life or health of workers or persons performing work on other grounds than the employment relationship, to discontinue operations or activities of a given type,
- ordering to determine, within a specified period, the causes and circumstances of
an accident at work,
- ordering to conduct examinations and measurements of harmful and onerous factors in the working environment,
- ordering the employer to pay the employee due remuneration for work as well as other due benefits (with an immediate effect),
- prohibiting the performance of work or conducting activity in places where working conditions pose direct threat to human life or health (with an immediate effect),
- ordering to include a workstation in the list of workstations where works are performed in particular conditions or of a special nature, as referred to in the Act of 19 December 2008 on Bridging Pensions, make a deletion from the list or correct an entry in the list,
- ordering to include a worker in the list of workers performing work in particular conditions or of a specific nature, make a deletion from the list or correct an entry in the list.
The decision may be made orally (if the OSH irregularities detected may be removed during the inspection), in writing or in the form of an entry in the construction logbook. It should indicate the legal grounds, the deadline for removing detected irregularities and information on how to appeal against the decision. You may appeal to the district labour inspector against the labour inspector’s decision issued orally, in writing or in the form of an entry in the construction logbook within 7 days from the date of receipt of the decision.
You have the duty to notify the competent SLI unit on the implementation of a decision within the deadlines specified in the decision. Failure to comply with the decision results in initiation of administrative enforcement proceedings.
- issue IMPROVEMENT NOTICES, which should include post-inspection instructions and their legal grounds,
If you receive an improvement notice, you have the duty to notify the competent SLI unit on the date and the method of implementation of the post-inspection instructions within the deadline specified in the improvement notice, not exceeding 30 days.
- issue INSTRUCTIONS,
- file suits with labour courts concerning detected irregularities
- take other actions if the right or duty to commence these actions is provided for in separate provisions, e.g. a labour inspector shall have the right to inform competent authorities (e.g. the Police, Social Insurance Institution, Border Guard) on detected misdemeanours.
A labour inspector may fine a person who committed a misdemeanour with a PENALTY TICKET in the amount from PLN 1000 to 2000. If a similar misdemeanour is committed within two years of the last penalty, the amount of the fine may reach the amount of PLN 5000.
You may, just like a driver, refuse to accept the penalty ticket; however, in such case the labour inspector shall request the court to impose the penalty and then the fine may amount to as much as PLN 30,000.
The State Labour Inspection’s inspection and GDPR
Provisions on the protection of personal data do not apply to labour inspectors who, on the basis of the Act on the State Labour Inspection, have the explicit right to request the presentation of personal files and any other documents relating to the employment of workers.
You may not refuse to provide a labour inspector with the requested information on the grounds of personal data protection.
- The Act of 13 April 2007 on the State Labour Inspection,
- The Act of 24 August 2001 Misdemeanour Proceedings Code
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