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Polish parliament votes through national minimum wage

Poland’s Lower House of Parliament (Sejm) has voted through draft legislation raising the minimum wage for casual and self-employed workers to PLN 12 (EUR 2.73) per hour as of 2017.

In Thursday’s vote, 380 parliamentarians backed the bill, 47 were against, while 14 abstained. Earlier, the Parliament rejected the motion of opposition party Nowoczesna (Modern) to drop the bill altogether, as they did the Polish People’s Party’s proposal to raise the hourly rate.

The bill “is exceptionally important for Polish workers, the labour market and Polish employers,” Labour Minister Elżbieta Rafalska said in Parliament on Thursday. “I hope it will put an end to gravely dysfunctional compensation patterns in Poland,” she added.

According to the Family, Labour and Social Policy Ministry, which was behind the new bill, the new regulations will prevent the abuse of civil law contracts, while protecting employees at the lowest wage levels.

Employers who are caught paying their workers less than the national minimum could face fines of between PLN 1,000 and PLN 30,000 (EUR 225-6,700).

The minimum wage may be raised in the future, depending on the minimum full-time job rates.

The new bill has been hailed by unions and labour experts, although employers have complained.

The new legislation was one of the key campaign pledges of the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS), in power since October.

The draft legislation will now be forwarded to the Senate.

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