Break between consecutive disability certificates and working time

Service

The rules of employing people with disabilities are regulated by the Labor Code, as well as the Act on vocational and social rehabilitation and employment of disabled people. Particular attention should be paid to the rules concerning the working time of people with a certificate of disability. It is puzzling, inter alia, what impact the break between consecutive disability certificates has on working time.

Among the disabled, we can distinguish people with:

  • slight degree of disability,

  • moderate degree of disability,

  • severe disability.

Depending on the degree of disability, these employees will enjoy various privileges on the day of presenting the employer with the first disability certificate. From that date, the employee is also included in the employment status of disabled people.

Privileges of the disabled

Additional annual leave

Employees with a certificate of moderate or severe disability are entitled to additional annual leave of 10 days in a calendar year. Importantly, the right to this leave is due one year after receiving the decision (Article 19 (1) of the Act).

Time off from work

Employees with a moderate or severe disability certificate are entitled to sick leave not exceeding 21 working days in a calendar year.

Exemption from work is available for the purpose of:

  • participate in a rehabilitation camp (not more often than once a year);

  • performance of specialist examinations, therapeutic or improvement procedures, orthopedic supplies or its repair, provided that these activities cannot be performed outside working hours.

Employees retain the right to remuneration for the time of sick leave, calculated as an equivalent for annual leave (Art. 20 of the Act).

Other working time standards

A disabled person is covered by other working time standards than a person without a disability certificate.

People with a degree of disability:

  • light - they cannot exceed the 8-hour daily norm and the 40-hour weekly norm,

  • moderate or high - may not exceed the 7-hour daily standard and the 35-hour weekly standard (Article 15 (2) of the Act).

Attention!

The application of working time standards appropriate for disabled employees may not reduce the remuneration of these employees (Article 18 (1) of the Act).

The above-mentioned working time standards apply to all disabled workers, regardless of the working time system in which they are employed.

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Extra break

Persons with a disability certificate are entitled to an additional 15-minute break from work, included in the working time. This break is intended for rehabilitation exercises or recreation (Article 17 of the Act).

Prohibition of night and overtime work

An employee with a disability certificate, regardless of its degree, cannot work at night and overtime (Article 15 (3) of the Act).

Exceptions to the above rules

In certain situations, it is possible to employ people with disabilities on an extended basis (8 hours of the daily standard and 40 hours of the weekly standard), at night and overtime.

This happens when (Article 16 (1) of the Act):

  • persons with a disability certificate are employed to supervise,

  • the doctor carrying out the preventive examination at the request of the disabled employee gives his consent.

Break between consecutive disability certificates

The provisions of the act refer to the working time standards of a disabled person. However, they do not provide information on how to proceed when there is a break between consecutive disability certificates. It all depends on the interpretation of the regulations in a given workplace.

As a rule, it is agreed that during the break between subsequent decisions, the employee loses the status of a disabled person (information from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of 23 July 2014). Therefore, during the break, he is bound by the working time standards applicable to non-disabled persons (8 hours a day and 40 hours a week in the case of full-time employment).

If a disabled employee submits an application for another disability certificate no later than the day after the expiry of the previous one and if the next disability certificate indicates the continuity of disability, the employer is obliged to include such an employee in the employment status of disabled people from the date of submitting the application for another decision.

On the other hand, regardless of the date of submitting the application for the next disability certificate, the employee should be included in the employment status of disabled persons within 3 months preceding the date of issuing the next disability certificate, provided that the decision will result in continuity of disability.

Importantly, if the employee presents the employer with another disability certificate showing the continuity of the disability and the degree of disability, the employer should pay extra for overtime or give free time for the time worked over 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week between consecutive judgments. However, it will not incur any penalties from PIP.

Example 1.

Mr. Kazimierz had a certificate of moderate disability, the validity of which was to expire on September 29, 2017. On August 28, 2017, the employee applied for another judgment, but the commission was not appointed until November 13, 2017. until November 12, 2017, the employee worked 8 hours a day and 40 hours in an average five-day working week. On November 13, 2017, Mr. Kazimierz reported to the commission, where he received another disability certificate showing the continuity of his disability. In connection with another ruling, the employer is obliged, for hours worked over 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week, when there is a break between consecutive disability certificates, pay the employee an overtime allowance or give the employee free time.

To sum up, in the light of applicable law, the break between consecutive disability certificates means for the employee that he will be treated as a non-disabled person. However, the employer should take into account that despite the break between consecutive decisions, it is possible that the employee will have to be compensated for overtime.