Introducing Fairwork Poland!

Posted on 10.10.2023
Warsaw delivery resized

Fairwork Poland will be utilising the Fairwork principles to assess the working conditions of labour platforms operating in Poland. The team will be composed of principal investigator Karol Muszyński and Zuzanna Kowalik, who will supervise the data collection.

Ride hailing apps entered the Polish market in 2014. Since then, the platform economy has been growing rapidly and it is estimated that Poland hosts up to half million platform workers. In the context of historically low unemployment, a significant percentage of these platform workers are migrants, because many digital labour platforms draw from the migrant workforce, including migrants and refugees from Ukraine.

Digital labour platforms – in particular ride-hailing and food delivery platforms – operate with the use of independent contractors hired on so called “civil law contracts” – a specific type of non-standard employment prevalent in largely destandardised Polish economy. Such contracts give workers access to some form of social protection, and, theoretically, coverage by the statutory hourly minimum wage. In reality, platform workers hired under these employment contracts still lack protection by the OSH regulations, as well as working time and holiday protections. Moreover, these contracts are often concluded not directly with platforms, but instead with intermediaries, making enforcement of the regulations a much more significant challenge.

More recently, Poland has whitnessed patchy attempts to regulate some subsectors of the platform economy. In 2020, and then 2023, in the context of widely publicised instances of tax evasion and sexual harassment, the Polish government introduced laws requiring platform workers to register, and follow at least some of the regulations applicable within the traditional taxi sector. Importantly though, these changes mostly created obligations for workers and not for platforms.

In addition, Polish workers seem to be engaging increasingly in a backlash against precariousness within the platform economy – numerous informal groups have organised log-off strikes, and the first trade union at Takeaway was founded.

As well as evaluting the fairness of working conditions in the platform economy, the Fairwork Poland team will also follow these events with the aim of promoting positive regulatory developments for platform workers in Poland.