More and more employers decide to create a Workplace Social Benefits Fund (WSBF), as it allows for settling some non-monetary benefits that serve as an easy way to motivate employees. But when is the obligation to create a WSBF placed on the employer? And how to create regulations to avoid claims from dissatisfied employees?
First, it is worth knowing that if there are at least 50 full-time employees in the company, the employer must create a Workplace Social Benefits Fund, and the number of employees is always determined as of January 1st of the current year. Otherwise, creating the fund is not obligatory, although many companies still choose to do so – it is then easier to settle non-monetary benefits, organized e.g. as part of a cafeteria system, such as Motivizer.
It is also worth noting that until 2016, the regulations required the number of full-time employees to be at least 20. Therefore, it is important to keep track of all changes in regulations.
Who establishes the WSBF regulations?
The WSBF regulations are an internal document that constitutes a source of law. If the regulations are not followed, an employee may apply to the appropriate authority or court with their claims. For this reason, the rules and conditions for using benefits and the method of allocating funds for specific purposes should be clearly defined.
The regulations should also be created on the basis of the Act of 4 March 1994 on the Workplace Social Benefits Fund and the Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 9.3.2009 on the method of determining the average number of employees for the purpose of calculating contributions to the Workplace Social Benefits Fund.
The obligation to create this document lies with the employer, although employees also have an influence on its final shape. What does this mean? When a trade union operates in the company, the employer must obtain its consent to adopt the regulations. If there is no employee organization operating on the company’s premises, the final shape of the regulations may be influenced by an employee appointed to represent the interests of the entire staff.
If there is no trade union operating at the time of approving the document, the regulations do not lose their legal force when it is created.
What should be included in the WSBF regulations?
The regulations should start with the determination of the legal basis, which is the previously mentioned act and regulation. Then, the amount of deductions should be established, and the employees who will be able to use this fund should be identified.
The document must include information about the types of social activities undertaken by the company, as well as the procedures for applying for them. To avoid claims from employees, it is also advisable to describe the conditions for using benefits in detail in order to dispel any uncertainties.
How to create WSBF regulations?
Every company policy should include the three most important sections regarding: eligible persons to benefit from the fund, purpose of the fund, i.e. which benefits can be provided within its scope, as well as the procedure and conditions for granting non-wage benefits.
At the beginning, it is necessary to define the list of persons who can benefit from the company fund. It may seem that the number of eligible persons is limited to the number of employees, but the Act on the Social Benefits Fund for Employees indicates that eligible persons may also include family members of employees, or former employees (e.g. retirees, for whom the company was the last place of work). It should be noted that all eligible persons listed in the Act must be named, and the employer may only extend this list, e.g. to employees hired on the basis of civil law contracts.
The next chapter of the regulations should concern the purpose of the fund. In practice, this means listing all social activities that can be offered under the fund. As an example, material assistance for childcare, financial support for holidays, and financial assistance can be mentioned. We encourage you to read our article on WSBF, in which we present a list of benefits included in our cafeteria system that may come from the social fund.
The chapter on the rules for granting benefits must be described in detail, taking into account that the most important criterion is the social situation. Therefore, the benefits received should be dependent on the person’s life, family, and financial situation, which, at the same time, makes it impossible to grant equal benefits to everyone. The amount of assistance cannot be determined solely by the employee’s salary.
The document must also include information about the sources of funding for WSBF, the establishment of the Social Commission, and initial and final provisions.
The WSBF regulations must precisely define the functionality of this fund, and all provisions must comply with the applicable law. Therefore, when creating them, it is advisable to seek the assistance of experienced lawyers, as any inconsistencies may generate legal problems and financial losses for the company.
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