Digitisation of HR documentation in Poland – Polish Labor Code

You run a Polish company, hire employees, and documents pile up in the HR department?

In January 2018 the legislator found a solution and you can use it.

The Polish Act of 10 January 2018 amending certain acts in connection with the shortening of the period for keeping employee files and their electronification made it possible for an employer in Poland to keep employee files in electronic form, which, pursuant to Article 9411 of the Polish Labour Code, is equivalent to that in paper form.

What is employee documentation?

It consists of following elements.

  1. Documentation on matters related to the employment relationship, which includes, among others:
  • working time, that is the number of hours worked in a mandatory and overtime manner,
  • days off,
  • applications for dismissal to settle personal matters or raise a child up to 14 years old,
  • the application of the task-time system.
  1. Personal acts of an employee, which include statements or documents (examples):
  • containing personal data collected by the employer in connection with applying for employment, such as referrals for medical examinations and medical certificates,
  • concerning the establishment of the employment relationship and the course of the employee’s employment, e.g. employment contract, scope of activities,
  • related to the contract and certificate of employment, concerning the non-payment of the employee’s holiday pay,
  • related to the employee’s bearing the disciplinary responsibility or responsibility specified in separate regulations, which provide for the blanking out of the penalty after a certain period of time and a copy of penalty notice.

Where and how to keep documents?

All the above-mentioned types of documents can be kept and stored in electronic form and the employer is obliged to store them in a way that guarantees their confidentiality, integrity, completeness and availability, under conditions that do not threaten to damage or destroy them for the period of employment, as well as for 10 years after their termination (counting from the end of the calendar year in which the employment relationship was terminated or expired).

The digitised employee records are kept and stored in the ICT system which:

  • protects it against damage, loss and unauthorized access,
  • guarantees constant access to the documentation to persons authorized to do so,
  • enables identification of persons having access to the documentation and registration of changes in the documentation and metadata made by these persons,
  • facilitates efficient documentation search.

Does the ICT system effectively protect documentation?

Such documentation is considered secure if three conditions are met continuously and simultaneously:

  1. it is accessible only to authorised persons;
  2. it is protected against accidental or unauthorised destruction;
  3. its maintenance and storage are carried out using methods and measures for the protection of records whose effectiveness at the time of their use is generally recognised.

From paper to electronic form

The change is made by making a digital representation (scan) and affixing it with a qualified electronic signature or a qualified electronic seal of the employer or a qualified electronic signature of the person authorised by the employer, confirming the conformity of the digital representation with the paper document.

Firstly, you must obtain qualified electronic signature from one of the entities entered into the The National Certification Centre. The employer also informs the employees, in the manner adopted by the employer, about the change in the form of keeping and storing the Polish employee documentation and about the possibility of receiving the previous form of the employee documentation within 30 days from the date of the transfer of information.

Importantly, the employer is not obliged to keep employee records in paper form if it has created an electronic version of them.

I want to return to keeping and retaining the employee records in paper form

As the employer has the right to choose the form of keeping electronic records, he can make a change at any time, that is, by switching from paper to electronic form, but also from electronic to paper form, while keeping in mind the relevant security requirements and storage rules, together with the relevant information obligations towards his employees.

The employer wants to make a deal with an employee who does not have his electronic signature – is this possible?

This is not an obstacle. The employer or a person authorised by the employer only has to make a scan of this document and sign it with a qualified signature.