Is the Ministry of Labor preparing for an “attack on the economy”?  “It'll be a bullet in both knees.”

In addition, there are legal regulations also proposed by the Ministry of Labour. In France, by law, employees allocate 35 hours a week to their duties, while in Denmark it is 37 hours. Obviously this has an impact For “less fatigue”However, the main factor worth remembering when analyzing statistical data is: BAEL Employment Ratewhich summarizes the number of people living in a given country and professionally active.

Similar data in this regard are collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The latest survey for the third quarter of 2023 shows this The proportion of professionally active people in Poland between the ages of 15 and 64 is 72.2%. For example male Denmark and Germany Get results similar to 77 Proc. But in France, there is BAEL Lower than in Poland and amounts to 68.4 percent. This also translates into a higher reading in the Eurostat poll, because despite the short working week, the French spent on average more in 2022. 36.2 hours in offices.

Rafael Beneke, chief economist at ING Bank Śląski, agrees with the hypothesis that Polish employees are overworked. However, as he emphasized in an interview with Interia Biznes, “The problem is not the time spent on work itself, but the decrease in productivity.”.

Comparing different GDP measures shows this over the past decades Poland is succeeding in catching up with developed countries, for example in terms of per capita GDP. However, this is largely due to the enormous amount of work done by the Poles. Hourly productivity in Poland is still low and not improving much, so we are catching up with the West Work more for less money. As a result, Polish workers are overworked. Low productivity is not due to “weak” employees; The business model of many companies whose activities depend on cheap labor and the resulting low added value. Often, the idea of ​​the business is to compete with others using cheap labor and very little innovation – explains the expert.

However, Grant Thornton's chief economist, Marcin Merwick, has a slightly different opinion. In his opinion, the fact that people work long hours in Poland does not necessarily mean something bad and force them to work Lawmakers change the law.

– Looking at the statistics, you can see that Poles work a lot. We just need to answer the questions of whether this is a bad thing, and whether “something should be done about it?” – asks the economist. He points out that It is difficult to find a comprehensive answer for all employees. “Some people might want that Work more to earn more or grow your business“- adds Marcin Merwick in an interview with Interia Biznes.

However, both economists share the view that The imposed shortening of working time will affect the competitiveness of the Polish economy. This has been undermined in recent years anyway. They had an influence on this Increases in energy prices or employee wagesThis led to an overall increase in production costs, and thus in the price paid by importers of Polish goods and services.

For this reason, Rafał Beneke sees the idea of ​​shortening working time in Poland “It seems completely ridiculous”. “This is a recipe for Portuguese-style stagnation, although our central location in Europe, our proximity to Germany and the very good attitude of Polish employees save us. However, it will remain so.” He was shot in both knees“- confirms the economist.

Staff costs have been growing at a very rapid pace in Poland in recent years. As Rafael Beneke notes, Since 2019, Poland's minimum wage has almost doubled. However, the dynamics of national average growth remained at a double-digit level for almost two years. Employers must offer employees higher wages not only because of recent inflation problems, but because of it Lack of specialists in the market.

This is the point that forms another bond between economists. They point this out In the face of a “labor shortage,” shortening the hiring period will be very difficult.

The demographics are relentless – There was a shortage of employees on the Polish labor market, and this problem will also worry in the future – Marcin Mrwiek points out.

As the expert continues, one of the biggest challenges facing the Polish economy in the coming years will be its guarantee Providing sufficient labor, i.e. the number of working hours. “We can't in the light Functional disability, caused by the retirement of more people entering the labor market, which leads to a reduction in this number of hours under the law. Furthermore We are reducing the supply of labor, thus undermining the entire economy“- adds the economist.

According to Rafai Beneke, the response to overworked employees should be: Comply with labor law and combat all gray areas. But the important point is also the guarantee of work Investment conditions. “The way out of overworking people is not an administrative restriction of the workweek, but… Enabling the economy to shift towards more innovation. It is self-evident that in a company that assembles electric cars, the value added per person is greater than in a company that produces ordinary furniture. Therefore, in the first you can earn better, and if there is a shortage of labor, the company can afford it To hire new people“- points out the expert.

However, Marcin Merwick thinks so “Central planning is a very difficult solution”. Individual industries in Poland compete with other companies from many countries, and restrictions are imposed from above It will hit the entire economy, no exceptions. That's why the economist is behind the idea of ​​this “Making labor law regulations more flexible.”

– Giving more legal and regulatory tools to employees and employers who can, depending on the situation, find the appropriate solution for themselves. Perhaps changes in labor law will make this possible – Adapting the number of hours to the actual needs of the employer and the employee’s capabilities – sums up the expert.

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