According to page 2 of today’s UK Financial Times, a UK National Audit Office report shows over 6.5m people waited more than 10 minutes to get their calls answered by HMRC, adding £33m to customer’s phone bills and wasting £103m of their time last year.
This snippet of information triggered a few things that I wanted to say to you this morning. The first of these is, that, despite the fact that it is obviously pretty dire that people need to wait so long to get their calls answered by the service they are paying taxes to fund in the first place, at least in the UK there is a body which is concerened at the loss of time and places a value, in monetary terms, on that loss of time by the customer.
Anyone who has spent any time either in government offices, or even banks or supermarkets in this part of the world will probably confirm that the idea that the customer’s time is valuable and should be respected is a rather alien concept. Not so long ago it was an utterly alien concept, but even today it is still a concept which they find rather hard to grasp.
Not as bad as China, though, from what I heard and also saw. People being expected to queue all day outside the Chinese consulate for their visa and then at the very moment that the scheduled closing time of the office came the shutters come down like with Kiosk Keith and that was that. The spare time of the employees was utterly sacrosanct, that of the customer not at all. This of course shows an elitist mentality, which can be found in almost all state sector offices to one or another degree anywhere in the world. Expect it and try somehow to deal with it.
Much less acceptable is the wasting of the customer’s time in business. If the customer is paying then they have a right to have their matters expedited and people who keep people waiting ought either to invest in more infrastructure to avoid it or to wonder if they are in the right business. Read more…
Immigration into Central European countries was never a friendly and comfortable matter but after the entry of countries in the Poland-Czech-Slovak area into the EU at least things got easier for those of us who are from other EEA countries living in this region. However, for those coming in to do business in this area who are not Europeans, matters only got worse. On the one hand the Schengen rules, which are among the strictest in the free world, apply to these countries now, and on the other the way that rules which are supposed to be international are actually applied in practice differs still to a degree from one member state to another.
If you are, or are sending, an important manager to live in Central Europe, you probably wouldn’t want for them to suffer the consequences of going through the immigration processes unaided. People have been known – still are known – to camp outside of the relevant office half the night in order even to see an official and progress their matter. Then when they do see an official they cannot expect that person to speak anything other than the local language. It is time-consuming, and the results can also be unforeseeable also. And what do you do if you are not successful?
Avoid these headaches with a professional immigration service run by professionals specialising in this area. Quoracy can co-ordinate the entire matter, whether we are talking about one person or a team of immigrating workers.
If interested, please fill in the below contact form without obligation.
- Capita gets migrant removal job (bbc.co.uk)
- Ministers call for stronger EU foreign policy chief (euobserver.com)
- New EU plan to boost integration (bbc.co.uk)
- Slovakia Bans Sale Of Czech Hard Alcohol (rferl.org)
- Alcohol beverages kill tourists in Poland and Czech Republic (english.pravda.ru)
- Poland bans sales of Czech alcohol after bootleg booze claims lives (euronews.com)
- .Eu Domain Names Pass 3.6 Million Registrations & Has An 85% Renewal Rate (thedomains.com)
- Shengen Working Visa (travel-bug.me)
Why do Governments try to make competitive businesses follow the same kind of labour law that applies in their own offices?
I was reading on Linked In today a post by someone blaming Labour Law, and the risks associated with having employees, as one reason why Europe is having more difficulties getting out of the Crisis than maybe some other places.
I think his comments were quite true. There are now, in situations where employers even have any choice, serious reasons not to employ anyone whatsoever and just go for self-employed subcontractors. Reasons include:
1. What you said, the inability to sack anyone, and the huge potential claims if you bungle the sacking of an employee
2. Employees cost more because the social insurance regime in most EU countries is expensive on employment and the onus falls on the employer
3. Self-employed people are likely to be more entrpreneurial anyhow. They already showed themselves to be less supine than the chronic employee by dint of actually going on the self-employed subcontractor route.
The problem is, where does this leave people who cannot deal with the challenge of saying, “to hell with my social shield in employment law, I will put my self out as self employed and stand and fall on my daily performance, and not on the basis that I have accrued rights that make me unassailable even if I become useless”? Even those who genuinely intend to be conscientious and profitable parts of a boss’s team often can’t get their heads around the transition to self -employment, and simply remain unemployed. And where does this leave bosses in businesses in places or sectors where the tax office doesn’t smile on people being self-employed and calls it “crypto employment”?
The reform of labour law to be a little bit more business-friendly is long overdue in most of Europe. And it’s not just the EU. I did some work in the Ukraine a few years back and what I heard about the claims wrongly sacked people can bring about there I found simply astounding. I learned that if the employee who sacks a person – even in a disciplinary way which is fully justified, and fails to pay them all they owe by accident – if it is found even 5 or so years later that they did not pay them everything, even if they were under by a miniscule amount, they now owe that ex-employee their whole final monthly salary for each month of the intervening period as if they had been working!
Have people in Government who write these laws got some kind of grudge against business or what? Certainly they are welcome to have such luxurious laws to protect Government workers if they want to, but why do they insist on forcing them on private businesses? They don’t seem to understand, these Governments, that even though the government of the Czech Republic is not in competition with the government of China for the role of running this Central European country, the same is not true of Novak s.r.o., competing against China or anywhere else in the world with lower social leveraging, in order to make money which, if it is succesful, pays for the taxes that pay for the salaries of these Czech Government people. They certainly don’t create any wealth themselves – excpet for those politicians who have real business interests also, that is. And often the less there is said about that, the soonest mended.
- Does Germany really have a less regulated labour market than Britain? | Alan Manning (guardian.co.uk)
- Trade unions reject PM’s appeal to call off strike (thehindu.com)
- Davidov on Labour Law’s Goals (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Child Labour in North America (businessethicsblog.com)
TGC Corporate Lawyers in Poland sent us the following legal alert
Dear Quoracy.com SubscribersDue to a decrease in the amount of work, technical interruptions, or weather conditions, employers sometimes have to announce a work stoppage. Under Polish labour law, a “stoppage” means an unplanned and temporary interruption of work, with employees being ready to work, resulting from disruptions in the functioning of the company. Of course, employees are entitled to remuneration for this time.In some companies, stoppages are a part of the regular work schedule (e.g. decreased workload during the period of summer holidays or bank holidays, temporary repairs) and are planned in advance (e.g. included in the Work Regulations). In this situation the question arises, whether the planned work break should be treated as a stoppage or normal holiday leave for all or part of the employees?
In general, an employer may not demand that employees take holiday leave during an unplanned work stoppage. However, if a stoppage during Christmas or summer holidays is planned by the employer at the beginning of the calendar year, it is possible to include the stoppage in the holiday planner.
If you need any further information on these matters or individual legal advice, please contact our experts:
Director of Labour Law Department
Tel.: +48 22 295 33 30
Lawyer, Labour Law Department
T: +48 22 295 33 29
TGC Corporate Lawyers
ul. Hrubieszowska 2
01-209 Warsaw, Poland
T: +48 22 295 33 00
F: +48 22 295 33 01
- Rio Tinto locks out 800 workers at its Alma smelter in Quebec (theglobeandmail.com)
- First Contract Arbitration comes to Nova Scotia (conversationsonwork.wordpress.com)
- Bodog odds say NHL work stoppage unlikely (prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com)
In the same spirit as the preceding post, we decided to give more publicity to this seminar too, this time by Explanator from Poznan, a course in Polish on where the legal red line in the sand is with regards to the control of employees.
More and more Companies are tightening their governance procedures by monitoring the phone calls or emails of employees, chipping them with RFiD chips, putting satellite trackers on their cars, following their activities with close circuit television, sending private detectives round their houses when they are on sick leave to check that they are not malingering, imposing junta-style curfews on company flats, and copyrighting and secretly cloning their DNA. I even heard of one firm which had a person sitting next to the ladies’ toilets taking note of times in and times out of the breaks taken their by different people.
Other firms have begun replacing their employees with robots in order to increase control over them. Sometimes drivers will be faced with a robot taking credit cards and dispensing petrol at petrol stations which previously had real people working on the forecourt, and the robot is unable to say where they have gone and what happened to them.
There seems to be no end to the ways in which companies can use the startling array of new technologies available today in the struggle against international employee idleness.
But which of these activities are justifiable governance activities permitted in law, and which can be seen as an abuse of human rights? The answer, as far as Poland is concerned (we don’t have total harmonisation in the area in the EU – the harmonisation is general because of the Human Rights laws in the Constitution, but their enactment and application in National laws in member states still varies greatly).
TGC is able to help with these questions, when it comes to a practical example. You can contact TGC via us on email@example.com . A real person will contact you back and not a robot. Guaranteed.
Otherwise, this training by Explanator may help, too. Again, I haven’t tried them before, but I’m giving the plug in case it’s of interest to those of you with workforces in Poland, whether you speak Polish yourselves or have a Polish speaking HR director.
You don’t want to get this one wrong, by the way. Too little observation and you could appear too soft to some workforces, and some will take advantage. Too much, and you could find yourself in front of an unsympathetic judge. Or robocop.
Find out what you need to do before you embark on monitoring and controlling your people.
Chroniąc majątek firmy przed nieuczciwością pracowników przedsiębiorcy stosują różnorodne metody kontroli i monitoringu. Ale czy na pewno są one dopuszczalne? Czy kontrolując, nie przekraczamy granic prawa?.
Granice prawne kontroli pracowników
Skuteczne i zgodne z prawem metody kontrolowania pracowników i procedury w przypadku stwierdzenia nadużyć
Czas i miejsce szkolenia: WARSZAWA, 8 czerwca 2011 (środa)
Szczególnie polecamy następujące zagadnienia omawiane w trakcie szkolenia:
- procedury związane z wykrywaniem nadużyć pracowniczych
- poszanowanie dóbr osobistych i ochrona danych osobowych
- przeszukanie, monitoring GPS, kontrola korespondencji w praktyce firm… >>> więcej
Termin przyjmowania zgłoszeń upływa 2 czerwca, a liczba miejsc jest ograniczona.
EXPLANATOR, Podchorążych 33, 60-143 Poznań
Tel. (61) 855 01 12, Fax. (61) 855 00 78
- Poznań, Poland: Goats in a Clock (stevensirski.wordpress.com)
- Euro 2012 arena not ready for Poland-France game (usatoday.com)
- Poland shuts two stadiums in hooligan crackdown (reuters.com)
Dear Quoracy.com subscribers,We would like to draw your attention to the liability of members of the management board in Polish companies, as regulated by a number of legal acts. Management board members bear civil liability, criminal liability, liability for tax obligations, liability to the Social Insurance Office and liability resulting from specific provisions (e.g. resulting from the Accounting Act – Journal of Laws of 2009, no. 152, position 1223).According to the provisions of the Commercial Companies Code (Journal of Laws of 2000, no. 94, position 1037) members of the management board bear civil liability for actions taken on behalf of the company already at the stage of establishment of the company, i.e. from the date of signing of articles of incorporationof the company. This applies even before registration of the company with the State Court Register.It should be noted that members of the management board bear civil liability towards the company, among other things, for any damages inflicted upon the company in result of the management board members’ activities or omissions contrary to the articles of incorporation. Furthermore, they are jointly and severally liable for the company’s liabilities when enforcement proceedings against the company have proven ineffective.
Criminal liability of members of the management board arises as a result of a property damage caused to the company.
Apart from civil and criminal liability, members of the management board are jointly and severally liable for tax arrears, as well as for lack of (timely) payment of contributions to social insurance. It has to be noted that this type of liability lasts even after deletion of the company from the State Court Register.
In most cases members of the management board may protect themselves against responsibility for the company’s liabilities on condition that they undertake appropriate preventive activities in due time.
We will be happy to give you any detailed information with regard to the liability of the management board members, as well as circumstances of release of the liability.
For further information please contact our expert:
Director of Corporate Department
T: +48 22 653 3649
We are moving!From 1st May 2011our new Warsaw office address and phone numbers will be:Crown Tower
ul. Hrubieszowska 2, 01-209 WarsawTelephone: +48 22 295 3300
Fax: +48 22 295 3301
- Creative Commons Global Meeting 2011 (creativecommons.org)
- Death in Truth or Consequences: Woman Mauled To Death By Four Pit Bulls (jonathanturley.org)
- How to Dissolve a Corporation (brighthub.com)
- Guidance on UK Bribery Act Imminent (businessinsider.com)
This one day training course will help you to improve your business communication skills in this key area.
For many of us writing e-mails is crucial to our relationships with our contacts in other parts of the country or internationally. Writing effective e-mails can enhance your personal effectiveness and business performance as well as having a big impact on how you are perceived by partners and colleagues.
The course will focus on 4 principles:
- Be clear – planning, layout of facts and figures, simple English, addressing and referencing people
- Be concise – use of appropriate grammatical forms, simple vocabulary, sentence structure
- Be courteous – use of appropriate tone, appropriate pronouns, positive language, awareness of audience
- Be correct – checking, consistent style, punctuation, accuracy
This course is conducted in English and is suitable for participants with English levels from B1 up to advanced levels and who have some prior experience in writing English e-mails.
Please note:Cancellation of confirmed participation can be made no later than Friday, 20 May at 5.00 p.m. No-shows will be invoiced after the event in full amount. We reserve the right to make changes to the programme due to unforeseen circumstances. By registering, you give your consent to our maintaining and processing your personal data, and using your electronic address for the purpose of disseminating business-related communications by the BCC and its sponsors.
BCC golf Awards ceremony and business mixer, Občanská Plovárna, U Plovárny 8, Prague 1, 5.5.2011 REGISTER HERE
Ethics at Lunchtime, The Augustine hotel, Letenská 12/33, 118 00 Prague 1, 12.5.2011 REGISTER HERE
AGM 2011, Žofín Restaurant, Slovanský Ostrov 226, 110 00 Prague 1, 24.05.201 REGISTER HERE
British Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic
Malé náměstí 11, Prague1, 110 00, Richter House, 3rd floor
Tel: +420 224 835 163 / Fax: +420 224 835 162
- Chamberwatch: Invitation to BCC Workshop – English for HR Professionals, 21 April 2011, Prague (quoracy.com)
- BCC Invitation to workshop Ethics at Lunchtime, 24 March 2011, Prague (quoracy.com)
- Chamberwatch: Invitation to BCC British Day at the Races, 17 April 2011 (quoracy.com)
- BCC Invitation to workshop “Negotiating – The Win-Win Approach”, 10th March 2011, Prague (quoracy.com)