Trybunał Konstytucyjny

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Pecuniary compensation for unused holiday time; rules for calculating the amount of the compensation K 7/15

On 30 October 2018 at 9 a.m., the Tribunal publicly delivered its judgment on the application filed by the Management Board of the Independent Police Trade Union with regard to the manner of determining the amount of pecuniary compensation for 1 day of unused holiday time or extra holiday time.

The Tribunal adjudicated that Article 115a of the Police Act of 6 April 1990 – insofar as it determines that the amount of pecuniary compensation for 1 day of unused holiday time or extra holiday time should be equivalent to the amount of 1/30 of monthly remuneration – is inconsistent with Article 66(2) in conjunction with Article 31(3), second sentence, of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland.

As to the remainder, the Tribunal discontinued the review proceedings.

The ruling was unanimous.

The right to pecuniary compensation due to unused holiday time or extra holiday time is acquired upon release from service. The purpose for the pecuniary compensation is to compensate a police officer for the lack of a de facto possibility of using holiday time, which constitutes the actualisation of constitutionally guaranteed annual paid holidays.

As a result of circumstances that are beyond the control of police officers, there may occur situations where the said officers could not use their holiday time before the termination of their employment relationships. Then the only form of compensation for the unused holiday time is the pecuniary compensation provided for by the legislator.

The Constitutional Tribunal held that the pecuniary compensation which substitutes unused holiday time should correspond to the monetary value of that benefit. A benefit that would be equivalent to work performed for 1 day during holiday time is remuneration payable for 1 work day.

Specified in Article 115a of the Police Act, the manner of calculating the aforementioned pecuniary compensation leads to the situation where police officers receive approximately 73% of their daily remuneration, which – in the Tribunal’s view – may not be regarded as adequate compensation. Consequently, the challenged provision infringes guarantees arising from Article 66(2) of the Constitution in conjunction with Article 31(3), second sentence, of the Constitution.

The Presiding Judge of the adjudicating bench was Judge Sławomira Wronkowska-Jaśkiewicz, and the Judge Rapporteur was Judge Stanisław Rymar.