Assessment of National Labour Inspectorate
An employer planning on hiring disabled workers ought to ask National Labour Inspectorate (NLI) to asses whether the company has the necessary accommodations. We asked Józef Fiołek, a Senior Labour Inspector and a coordinator for the employment of people with disabilities in Warsaw Labour Inspectorate to elucidate the main aspects of the procedure.
Must the NLI be informed of every disabled worker?
- No. Only those with moderate and severe disability (I or II degree of disability certificate issued by the Disability Assessment Bodies, Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) or Agricultural Social Insurance Institution (KRUS)). Legal basis: Act on vocational and social rehabilitation of the disabled (art. 4 ust. 5, Dz. U. 97.123.776 z późn. zm.): “Workers with moderate and severe disability can be employed on the open labour market providing that the employer receives positive opinion from the National Labour Inspectorate.”
Companies have to report to NLI if they plan on hiring staff. What is the purpose of the additional registration of disabled workers?
- NLI checks whether a given company's facilities have the necessary accommodations. The employer is obliged by law to turn to the NLI for their opinion before he can hire people with disability.
When should it be done?
- It is not stated in the regulations. But it's best to follow Labour Inspectors' advice and to do it as soon as all the preparations are completed and the employment agreement is signed.
What consequences face an employer who employs disabled workers without the NLI's consent?
- Although the law says nothing about any kind of legal or financial repercussions, there is a catch. If, during a routine inspection, NLI Inspectors discover that a company employing workers with moderate or severe disability do not have the proper accommodations they will issue a warrant compelling the employer to introduce necessary adjustments.
Does the act includes all working disabled or only those
- The act is in force since 1st of February 2003 and it certainly includes disabled workers hired after that date. As for the rest, according to the lex retro non agit rule, they do not need to be reported to the NLI, although there is that catch we mentioned earlier.
Where can an employer find advice on how to adapt the working environment to the impaired worker's needs?
- Sadly, there is no single set of regulations that would cover the problem in its entirety so the employer has to search for the information on his own – either in the Health and Safety Regulations or in the building regulations. But the best solution is to turn to the NLI for help – either by visiting one of our centres (for details go to www.pip.gov.pl) or simply by calling us. The advice is free. The employer may also invite the inspectors for a consultation prior to the inspection.
Is the employer informed of the date of the inspection?
- In this particular case yes, since it is the employer who asks for the inspection to be performed.
Are the accommodations for the disabled the only thing that is assessed during the inspection?
- Certainly not. Our inspectors will not turn a blind eye to any irregularities they'll encounter, especially if they pose a threat to the workers' health and safety.
How can one improve the chances of passing the inspection?
- On our website you'll find a complete list of questions that our inspectors are likely to ask and what documents they'll require – the information is not classified. You may even ask our inspectors what they'll be paying special attention to.
What if the inspectors find the accommodations unsatisfactory?
- The employer receives a formal note listing recommended adjustments and is given a specific amount of time to introduce them. Once it's done, the inspectors will evaluate the progress and will give their opinion.
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