Order penalties, i.e. methods for an undisciplined employee


By entering into an employment relationship, both the employer and the employee agree to cooperate on certain terms. If one of the parties breaks the provisions of the contract, the other may take the consequences specified in the regulations. It is important that the employer, in particular, uses legal methods of employee discipline. We are talking about order penalties provided for by the regulations of the Labor Code. What order penalties can the employer apply?

What are the penalties of order?

If you find that your employee does not comply with the work obligations, you have the right to impose one of the sanctions against him. This method is used primarily to prevent such vices in the future. It is a clear message for all employees that breaking the provisions of the established employment relationship is not accepted.

However, it is important that any actions related to disciplining an employee are taken in accordance with the law. Punishment may not take the form of persistent and long-term harassment of an employee or intimidation, resulting in an underestimated assessment of professional suitability. It is also forbidden to humiliate or ridicule the employee, because all such activities are nothing but mobbing.

So how can an employer influence an undisciplined employee?

When can order penalties be applied

Order penalties may be applied in a situation where:

  • the employee does not comply with the established organization and order (e.g. refuses to carry out an official order, performs activities not related to employee duties during work, is late to work),

  • the employee does not comply with occupational health and safety regulations (e.g. does not care for the proper condition of machines, devices, has not undergone obligatory checking examinations),

  • the employee does not comply with fire regulations (e.g. smokes cigarettes in prohibited places, blocks escape routes),

  • the employee does not comply with the accepted method of confirming arrival and presence at work (e.g. does not sign the attendance list, reflects the attendance card for another employee),

  • the employee does not follow the accepted method of justifying the absence from work.

Types of order penalties

If you find that an employee does not comply with the order and organization of work in the company (i.e. is late, surfs the Internet during working hours, returns an attendance card for another employee), you can use:

  • reminder,

  • reprimand

  • financial penalty.

The financial penalty, as the most severe, may be applied only in specific situations. This applies to the employee's failure to comply with health and safety regulations or fire regulations, as well as leaving the workplace without excuse or showing up at work in a state of intoxication or drinking alcohol while working.

Property order penalty for one violation and for each day of unexcused absence cannot be higher than the employee's one-day remuneration, and the total financial penalties cannot exceed one tenth of the remuneration payable, after making the deductions specified in the regulations (social security contributions, PIT advances, alimony, cash advances).

Principles of imposing order penalties

Importantly, the above-mentioned types of sanctions constitute a closed catalog, which means that the employer cannot impose any other penalty on the employee. Resorting to other methods is an offense that carries a fine.

Another important rule is that the superior may apply to the subordinate only one of the above-mentioned penalties in a specific situation and the fact that order penalties do not have to be graded (the employee may be punished immediately with a financial penalty, there is no need to apply a warning or reprimand in the first place).

Order penalties cannot be applied at any time. The employer has two weeks for this from the date of receipt of information about the breach of the employee obligation, which must occur within three months of the breach. The imposition of an order penalty takes place when an authorized person signs a letter on the imposition of a penalty or a letter notifying the employee about it.

The employer shall notify the employee in writing about the applied penalty, indicating the type of breach of employee obligations and its date, informing about the right to raise an objection and the date of its submission. A copy of the notification is attached to the employee's personal file.


At this point, it is worth emphasizing that the penalty is considered void, and the copy of the penalty notice is removed from the employee's personal files after one year of impeccable work. The employer may, on his own initiative or at the request of the company trade union representing the employee, consider the penalty void before the expiry of this period.