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Poland's State of Flux: A Buzz Interview with Cezary Zelaznicki of PwC Legal

Poland's State of Flux: A Buzz Interview with Cezary Zelaznicki of PwC Legal

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Poland is experiencing a lot of regulatory and legislative changes, primarily driven by (new) EU directives. The energy, commercial, employment, and consumer protection sectors are all in flux, according to Cezary Zelaznicki, PwC Legal Poland Managing Partner and PwC EMEA Legal Business Solutions Leader.

“The energy crisis and the market’s response to it will likely be the hottest topic in the near future,” Zelaznicki begins. “With the incoming EU directives soon to be implemented in Poland, the way in which the energy markets ebb and flow will change.” What’s more, he reports that the Polish government has introduced “a number of support packages seeking to reduce the negative impact of the rising energy prices by, in particular, introducing measures such as price freezes for sensitive customers and setting a maximum price for selected types of customers and the balancing market.”

Zelaznicki also reports that, after “many years of considerations and analysis, the Polish commercial code received a much-needed overhaul. Now, the code includes holding law regulations that allow local subsidiary companies to be guided by overall group interests.” That wasn't the case before, as “there had been many complications that local subsidiaries were facing because the regulator only took into account the interest of the local company and not the group as a whole,” he explains.

According to Zelaznicki, this means that certain decisions – for example, related to global financing and loans or group reorganizations – are less problematic to undertake. “The holding law principles allow for a much broader interpretation,” he says. “The concept of binding instructions has also been introduced, which will ultimately provide important guidance as to what a local subsidiary can and cannot do while securing the local officers.”

There has also been movement on employment and consumer protection legislation, Zelaznicki says. “The EU well-being directive’s expected implementation will change certain statutory conditions of employment and rights of employees, among others aimed at facilitating combining work and private life for parents. In addition, the new legislation is to be adopted regulating remote work in a more comprehensive way than the legal frame existing currently. Also, there are new possibilities for employers when it comes to testing their employees for sobriety and drug usage,” he explains. “Moreover, with the incoming implementation of the Omnibus directive into the Polish legal order arriving soon, there will be changes made with respect to consumer protection.” According to Zelaznicki, these will be most important for the retail industry and online marketplaces. “A new mechanism for consumer protection will be implemented, with more transparent information required to be made readily available for all,” he adds.

Finally, Zelaznicki offers an insight into “a general trend that we have seen, as a consequence of the changing and trying times we live in – a trend of clients seeking a foundational change in the way legal services are consumed.” According to him, clients are “looking to outsource entire processes to be delivered with the support of technology and in alternative delivery models (ADMs) in an effort to streamline their operations – and with all that’s going on right now, the markets will have to adapt.”

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