“Turning back” the clocks in labour law

The change from daylight saving time to wintertime is made by turning the clocks „backwards” that is, from 3:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Consequently, employees performing their duties that night will work longer.

This year, we switch from daylight saving time to wintertime on the night of October 28-29, 2023. Employees who work on that night will work one hour longer than the employee’s regular scheduled working hours. Consequently, those working that night will perform overtime work. Following the applicable provisions of the Labour Code, the employer will be obliged to pay the employee a salary plus the relevant allowances, or an allowance together with time off for the extra hour worked.

Remuneration for working an added hour in case of a change from summer to wintertime.

It is important to be aware that in connection with the shift of time from 3:00 to 2:00, the employee is entitled to one daily overtime that fall during nighttime.

Daily overtime falling during nighttime, requires the payment by the employer of an allowance, in addition to wages, equal to 100% of the basic rate of pay out of the payroll or the granting of time off. Notwithstanding this allowance, for all hours at night, during which the employee performs work, he should receive a separate night allowance of 20% of the hourly rate based on the minimum wage in effect for the calendar year.

The employer may exempt himself from paying overtime allowance to employees by giving them time off work. This can be done at the request of the employee or without request, by decision of the employer.

When it is the employee, who requests the employer to grant him time off from work, it is granted to him in proportion to the number of overtime hours worked. On the other hand, time off granted at the employer’s decision, must be granted no later than by the end of the pay period and in a measure half as much as the number of overtime hours worked. This action makes the employee not entitled to overtime pay allowance, however, it cannot cause a reduction in pay for the full monthly working hours the employee is entitled to.

Nighttime, according to the regulation included in the Labour Code, includes 8 hours between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. The legislator has left it up to the employers to plan the specific time frame to include nighttime at their workplace.

According to the current legislation, a working day should be understood as twenty-four consecutive hours, starting from the hour at which the employee begins work according to his working time schedule. It also applies to the working day during which the time change occurs. In connection with the change of clocks from 3:00 to 2:00, an employee day starting, for example, at 8:00 a.m. on the last day of summertime, will last until 7:00 a.m. the following day.

Will the seasonal time change be abolished?

In Poland, the time change is regulated by a decree of the Prime Minister. The current regulation, which was prepared at the request of the European Commission, concerns the validity of the current regulations on winter and summer time for the coming years – until 2026.

However, there has already been a discussion for several years now, regarding, the legitimacy of the time change. The European Commission conducted a public consultation, in 2018, on this subject, which received 4.6 million responses. Results showed that 84% of respondents believe that the time change is unnecessary[1].

In Poland, there are also similar trends voices regarding that subject. From a CBOS survey conducted in November 2018, 78.3% of respondents and 79,2 % of respondents asked in April 2019, were against the use of time changes[2]. Then, from a poll conducted by IBRiS on behalf of Radio ZET in 2022, the mood of Poles remained the same[3]. Nearly 80% of those surveyed were against the seasonal time change.

The European Commission put forward a proposal to abolish the seasonal time change in September 2018, based on scientific research and extensive consultations. The European Commission’s proposal met with the approval of the European Parliament, leading to approval of legislation abolishing the seasonal time change in EU countries in March 2019. The project, however, has been suspended, resulting in the European Commission ordering member states to continue the current seasonal time-shifting regulations until 2026.

[1] https://www.prawo.pl/prawo/czas-letni-i-zimowy-na-razie-bez-zmian,511360.html

[2] https://www.gov.pl/web/rozwoj-technologia/sondaz-mpit-niemal-80-proc-ankietowanych-chce-likwidacji-zmiany-czasu

[3] https://wiadomosci.radiozet.pl/polska/Sondaz-IBRiS.-Prawie-80-proc.-przeciwnych-zmianie-czasu

Author ;: Marcin Jóźwiak

10.18.2023

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