Control of the National Labor Inspectorate


The National Labor Inspectorate has the right to inspect each employer in terms of the legality and regularity of hiring employees. What's more, usually inspectors do not announce their visit, and their presence in the company may end with a lawsuit.

Pursuant to Art. 13 of the Act on the National Labor Inspectorate of April 13, 2007, employers are inspected - and in the field of occupational health and safety and legality of employment, also non-employer entrepreneurs and other organizational units - for which work is provided by natural persons. These persons also include self-employed persons, irrespective of the basis for performing this work.

The tasks of the labor inspection include supervision and control of compliance with labor law, in particular the provisions and principles of occupational health and safety, and control of the legality of employment and other gainful work. For this purpose (in accordance with Art.24 of the Act on the National Labor Inspectorate), inspectors have the right to carry out inspection activities without prior notice, at any time of the day or night.

Control of the National Labor Inspectorate - scope

From 9 June 2011, pursuant to the Act on the National Labor Inspectorate (Act amending the Act on the National Labor Inspectorate and certain other acts - Journal of Laws No. 142, item 829). On the basis of its provisions, currently, the scope of the control carried out includes in particular:

  • supervision and control of compliance with labor law, in particular the provisions and principles of health and safety at work, provisions on the employment relationship, remuneration for work and other benefits resulting from the employment relationship, working time, holidays, rights of employees related to parenthood, employment of young people and people with disabilities ,
  • control of the legality of employment,
  • control of products placed on the market or put into service in terms of their compliance with essential or other requirements regarding occupational health and safety, specified in separate regulations,
  • supervising compliance with the conditions of use of substances specified by the European Chemicals Agency on the basis of Art. 9 sec. 4 of Regulation No 1907/2006, within the scope of its competences,
  • taking actions aimed at preventing and reducing hazards in the work environment,
  • cooperation with environmental protection authorities in the control of employers' compliance with the provisions on counteracting environmental threats,
  • control of compliance with the requirements of health and safety at work, specified in the Act of 22 June 2001 on genetically modified organisms,
  • checking the records of employees performing work in special conditions or of a special nature, as referred to in art. 41 sec. 4 point 2 of the Act of 19 December 2008 on bridging pensions,
  • issuing opinions on draft legal acts in the field of labor law,
  • the right to bring an action, and with the consent of the person concerned - to participate in proceedings before the labor court in cases for establishing the existence of an employment relationship,
  • prosecuting offenses against employee rights specified in the Labor Code, offenses referred to in Art. 119-123 of the Act of April 20, 2004 on employment promotion and labor market institutions, as well as other offenses, when the laws so provide, and participation in the proceedings in these cases as a public prosecutor.

Pursuant to the amendment to the act, currently, the inspector, when conducting an inspection, is no longer obliged to:

  • control of compliance with occupational health and safety regulations when designing the construction, reconstruction and modernization of workplaces and the machines and other technical devices and technologies that constitute their equipment (such control is carried out in the mode of controlling products placed on the market or put into service, pursuant to the provisions of the Act on the conformity assessment),
  • participating in taking over for use constructed or rebuilt buildings or parts thereof to the extent specified in separate regulations.

The course of the control

The main duty of a labor inspector is to present documents confirming his identity and documents authorizing him to inspect in a given company. The exception is when the inspecting person deems that informing the employer about the commencement of the inspection may affect its result. In practice, this means that the inspector can come whenever he wants and at what time he wants to the company's headquarters to check the employer. In addition, it does not need any access passes and is not subject to revision.

The course of the inspection is described in detail in Art. 23 par. 1 point 1-10 of the Act on the National Labor Inspectorate. According to its wording, the inspector has the right to:

  • check the identity of people performing work or staying on the premises of the controlled entity, interview them and demand statements from them regarding the legality of employment or other gainful activity
  • demand from all employees who are or have been employed or from persons who perform or have performed work for the controlled entity, written and oral information on matters covered by the control
  • demand the submission of personal files and any documents related to the performance of work by employees or persons performing work on a basis other than employment relationship
  • request the presentation of technical documentation related to the construction, reconstruction or extension of the building in which the controlled entity is located, as well as request the presentation of relevant documentation and expertise regarding production (including samples of materials used during production) in a given plant,
  • demand the results of expert opinions, tests and measurements relating to the production or other activities of the controlled entity,
  • demand the delivery of samples of raw materials and materials used, manufactured or produced in the course of production, in the amount necessary to conduct analyzes or tests, if they are related to the conducted control,
  • make copies or excerpts from documents necessary for the purpose of control, as well as require the controlled entity to prepare relevant statements and calculations based on documents
  • record the course of control devices to record video or sound.

If there is a justified concern that the information provided by a given employee may expose him to any damage or a charge of disclosing this information, the labor inspector may issue a decision to keep the employee's identity secret. However, according to Art. 23 par. 4 of the Act, the employer has the right to lodge a complaint against such a decision and request the controlling authority to declassify the personal data of the employee submitting the testimony. However, it must take place no later than within 3 days from the date of delivery to the employer of the decision on the confidentiality of data.

In addition, the inspected entity is obliged to provide the labor inspector with the conditions and means necessary for the efficient conduct of the inspection, and in particular, immediately present the requested documents and materials, provide technical devices and, if possible, a separate room with appropriate equipment.

The result of the inspection

As a result of findings made in the course of an inspection, the labor inspector may issue a decision, apply a petition, bring an action or impose a fine. Moreover, pursuant to Art. 37 par. 2 of the amended act, must notify the competent authorities of the breach of the law:

  • ZUS - on breach of social security regulations
  • Tax Audit Office - on violation of tax law
  • The Police or the Border Guard - on violation of the provisions on foreigners,
  • staroste - about identified cases of violation of the provisions on employment promotion and labor market institutions by an unemployed person or by an inspected entity.

If, in the course of the inspection, offenses consisting in violation of the provisions of the Act on employment promotion and labor market institutions of 20 April 2004, the inspector conducts a ticket procedure or applies to the court to punish the persons responsible for the irregularities found. In other cases, when the irregularities do not constitute a serious breach of the provisions and thus do not require issuing a decision or imposing a fine, the labor inspector applies for their removal. Such a statement should contain post-inspection conclusions and their legal basis.

The employer is obliged, within the period specified in the request, but not longer than 30 days, to notify the appropriate body of the National Labor Inspectorate of the date and manner of implementation of post-inspection conclusions (Article 36 (1-2) of the Act on the National Labor Inspectorate). The employer may also appeal against the decision of the labor inspector. However, it must take place no later than within 7 days from the date of the decision.

The act contains a certain "reduced tariff" for entrepreneurs starting their own business. Namely, in justified cases, to the employer starting the business, if it was not found:

  • a direct threat to the life or health of employees or other people performing work,
  • committing an offense through intentional fault,

- the labor inspector may refrain from applying the above-mentioned legal measures. It can only be instructed orally on the methods of organizing work in accordance with the requirements of the law. He should also receive from the inspected entity a declaration on the date of remedying the deficiencies revealed in the course of the inspection.