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Overnight accommodation case - the Constitutional Tribunal ruled


Bogusław Kapłon
Dr Tomasz Zalasiński

On 24 November the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the regulation based on which payments are made in the form of overnight allowances for international transport drivers is not compliant with the Polish Constitution, thereby upholding the stance taken in the case by DZP's lawyers. The application for a ruling on whether article 21a of the Act on Drivers' Working Time is constitutional was filed in February 2015 by the "Transport & Logistics Poland" Employers' Association.

The applicant was represented by DZP lawyers Dr Tomasz Zalasiński, Counsel in the Regulatory Advice Team and renowned constitutional expert, and Bogusław Kapłon, Head of the Labour Law Practice.

The challenged regulation meant that professional drivers were subject to the same regulations as public sector workers for whom business trips are not usually a basic duty. The interpretational doubts in this respect caused serious turmoil on the market. Employers were flooded with a wave of claims from drivers, demanding high overnight allowances for spending the night in their cabs on international trips. A different interpretation of the issue was made by, e.g. the Supreme Court. The situation therefore posed a business risk for the entire sector.

DZP's lawyers applied for the legal norm arising from the cited and inter-related provisions to be found incompliant with, e.g. article 2 of the Polish Constitution, laying down the democratic rule of law principle. The Constitutional Tribunal upheld this stance and indicated that the normative structure adopted in the questioned provisions had led to unforeseen legal effects of measures taken based thereon by their addressees, thereby breaching the principle of confidence in the state and the laws enacted therein.

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