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The Ministry of Family on plans for 2016

13-01-2016

The ‘Family 500 Plus’ programme, the hourly minimum wage of PLN 12, the amendment of the Labour Code and the Act on nutritional assistance are the key changes announced by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy.

 

“Our priority is work for the family. We expressed it by changing the name of the Ministry – placing the family first. The flagship project of our Ministry and the whole government is the ‘Family 500 plus’ programme,” said Elżbieta Rafalska, Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy.

 

Changes for families

The ‘Family 500 plus’ programme will start in April 2016. Currently, the bill is being subject to pubic consultation. The child benefit of PLN 500 will be given to each family for second and subsequent child under the age of 18. Less wealthy ones, with income up to PLN 800 per family member (PLN 1200 in the case of a child with a disability), will also receive support for the first child. The benefit will be paid in the second quarter of 2016 and cover 2.7 million families, which will receive PLN 500 for 3.8 million children.

 

Together with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Family has also begun work on improving the execution of maintenance payments.

 

The efforts of the Ministry of Family will focus on building a coherent demographic policy covering the tasks of many ministries. Their purpose will be to identify and eliminate barriers that discourage young Poles from having children – among others, housing and health care issues, aid in setting up childcare facilities, pension policy, the way kindergartens and schools function, reconciling professional work and parental responsibilities.

 

Changes for work

The necessity to confirm essential arrangements to an employee in writing related to the conclusion of the employment contract is the amendment to the Labour Code proposed by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy. This means the elimination of the so-called first day of employment syndrome. Due to these changes, some of 379 thousand people who have been working without a written employment contract and without written confirmation of the basic contractual arrangements will now work legally. The draft amendments to the Labour Code were submitted to public consultation.

 

In the second half of 2016, the hourly minimum wage of PLN 12 is to be introduced. This is a change announced in the exposé of Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydło. The minimum hourly wage is also an important postulate of trade unions, one of the desired changes in the situation of Polish employees, beside limiting “junk contracts.”

 

An important element of changes in the labour market is the National Employment Programme. The analysis of solutions will be based on the current situation on the labour market, amendments in the Act on employment promotion and the Act on pre-retirement benefits, as well as the programme “100 thousand jobs for the young.”

 

Changes in pensions

Another review of the pension system, both in terms of the functioning of open pension funds and the analysis of the necessary changes which should be made in the third voluntary pillar of the pension system (Employee Pension Schemes, Individual Pension Accounts and Individual Pension Insurance Accounts) in order to increase the involvement of Poles in voluntary saving for retirement, will take place in 2016.

 

The presidential bill restoring the retirement age of 65 for men and 60 for women is the first stage of the system review imposed by the Act of 11 May 2012. The debate on the bill will begin the debate not only on the right to retirement but also on the shape of the pension system, the amount of benefits, including support for the poorest retirees and pensioners, and protection of the lowest benefits.

 

Changes in social assistance

In 2016, the new Act on nutritional assistance will be prepared to support the implementation of own tasks of communes specified in the Act on social assistance.

The introduction of solutions in the form of an act will be more stable both from the point of view of communes and citizens. It will allow introducing new solutions, e.g., in the area supporting communes in providing equipment or creating points for nutritional assistance in educational institutions that do not have canteens.

 

Changes in the functioning of social assistance centres are also necessary. The circle of help includes people and families who require more activity of social workers. The introduction a new model of a centre, where social work is separated from the payment of benefits, is the first step. This will relieve social workers of administrative work and reduce the number of people they work with.

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