Children and Youth Protection in Poland
- Up to which age is one regarded as a child and young person respectively?
- Are children/teens allowed to stay in public places?
- Are children/teens allowed to stay in restaurants or dance halls / ballrooms?
- Are children/teens allowed to stay in night clubs, bars, casinos, places for gambling etc.?
- Is it allowed to sell spirits to children/teens?
- Which restrictions are there for children/teens to visit public film screenings?
- Are children/teens allowed to smoke in public?
- Is it allowed for children/teens to go to internet café?
- Which restrictions are there about carrying knifes, martial arts equipment, weapons?
- Which regulations are there concerning sexual relations with children/teens?
- Which restrictions are there if foreign young people want to work temporarily?
- To which institutions can children/teens turn to if they need help?
- Useful internet sites about youth protection
- More information
Under Polish law, persons between the ages of 13 and 18 are
considered to be minors. Minors have limited legal capacity and are subject to
the supervision of their parents. (…) Roznica
The Act of 26 October 1982, Rules of Procedure for Minors, considers persons older than 13 and younger than 17 who commit a crime to be minors. The rights of children are guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, as well as the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by Poland in 1991).
Poland has an ombudsman/advocate for children's rights.
Pursuant to Article 43 of the Road Traffic Act of 20 June 1997, children aged 7 or less may only use the roads when accompanied by persons aged 10 and up (this does not applyfor the areas where the children live).
The parents (legal guardians) decide whether a child may be present in public places unaccompanied by an adult. In accordance with the Family and Custody Act of 25 February 1964 (Official Journal 1964, No. 9, Item 59, with subsequent amendments), the parents (legal guardians) bear responsibility for the safety of their children. Children are subject to parental supervision until they reach the age of majority. The duty of parental supervision particularly includes the right of the parents to have custody over the child's person and assets. This is to be performed in a manner consistent with the welfare of the child and the public (the interest of society at large).
The decision as to whether children and adolescents are allowed to be present in taverns and restaurants is to be made by the parents. There are many restaurants which target children and adolescents.
See the response with respect to places which are morally harmful to youth.
Only persons who have reached the age of majority may be present in bars, night clubs and similar places of entertainment. Nocturnal entertainment establishments are meant for adults only. The parents (or legal guardians) are responsible for the presence of minors in night clubs and discos.Harmful Places:
Children and adolescents are not allowed in places which are morally harmful to youth. The Act on the Procedure for Youth Affairs of 26 October 1982 (Official Journal 2002, No. 11, Item 109) requires every citizen to prevent hazards to youth and, in particular, to notify the parents or legal guardians, the school, the family court or the police with respect to circumstances which pose a hazard to minors and to testify to violations of social coexistence.Places for gambling:
There are no informations.
The Act of 26 October 1982 on Upbringing in Sobriety and the Prevention of Alcoholism (Official Journal 2002, No. 147 Item 1231) prohibits the sale and serving of alcohol to persons who are under the influence of alcohol or who are less than 18 years of age. In case of doubt as to whether the buyer has reached the age of majority, the seller or the person serving the alcohol may request the presentation of a document confirming the buyer's age.
Polish law imposes restrictions on film attendance. These restrictions relate to the age of the attendee, and films are divided into the following categories: no restrictions, 12 years and up, 16 years and up and 18 years and up. Under the Cinematography Act (Official Journal 2003, No. 58 Item 513), the minister responsible for cultural affairs determines the direction of activity and development in cinematography and the guidelines for film institutions with respect to production, editing and distribution.
The Act of 9 November 1995 on the Protection of Health from the Consequences of Tobacco Consumption (1996 Official Journal No. 10 Item 55) prohibits smoking outside of separate and accordingly adapted areas, i.e. in health care installations, schools, educational facilities, in factories and other public buildings and in single-room restaurants. The owner or operator is responsible for implementing this prohibition in the aforementioned areas.
Article 6 Paragraph 1 of the aforementioned Act prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18. The sale of tobacco products in health care installations, schools, educational institutions and athletic facilities is prohibited (as is the sale of tobacco products using vending machines and of boxes containing less than 20 units).
Also prohibited are advertisements for tobacco products, smoking requisites and products which imitate tobacco products or smoking requisites, as well as symbols associated with the consumption of tobacco.
The rules with respect to the issuance and revocation of gun licenses, the purchase, storage, sale and dumping of weapons and munitions, transit through the territory of the Republic of Poland, the import and export of weapons and munitions, the possession of weapons by foreigners and the operation of shooting galleries are defined in the Arms and Munitions Act of 21 May 1999 (Official Journal No. 53 Item 549, with subsequent changes).
Article 4 of the aforementioned Act includes definitions for weapons and munitions. Article 9 contains a provision which states that persons may only possess firearms and the relevant ammunition if they were previously issued a weapons license from the commander of the responsible police administrative district.
Article 15 Paragraph 1 Point 1 states that persons under the age of 21 may not receive a weapons license. Chapter 3 of this Act contains rules which govern the transit, import and export of weapons and munitions as well as the problem of the possession of weapons and munitions by foreigners. On application from a school, athletic organization, the Polish Hunters' League or a defense organization, a weapons license may be issued to a person who is less than 18 years of age. However, such a weapon may only be used for sporting or hunting purposes.
Article 200 § 1 of the Criminal Code of 6 June 1997 (1997 Official Journal, No. 88, Item 553) states as follows: "Whoever subjects a minor under 15 years of age to sexual intercourse or makes him/her submit to another sexual act or to perform such an act shall be subject to the penalty of the deprivation of liberty for a term of between 1 and 10 years."
The Ministry of Economics, Labor and Social Policy, which is responsible for this question, informs us that the long-term employment of children under the age of 16 is prohibited under Article 65 Paragraph 3 of the Constitution. Permissible forms and types of employment are determined by law.
Part 9 of the Labor Code deals with questions relating to the employment of adolescent workers (Articles 190 ff). According to the Labor Code, an adolescent is a person who is greater than 16 but less than 18 years of age. The employment of persons under the age of 16 is prohibited.
At the same time, it should be stressed that, in accordance with the Labor Code, employment is defined as the performance of work based on an employment contract, appointment, election or nomination (Article 2). This information therefore encompasses provisions relating to work based on the aforementioned principles, i.e. work performed within the context of an employment relation. Provisions governing work performed based on civil law contracts (e.g. contracts for works and services, fee contracts) can be found in the Civil Code and the Ministry of Justice is responsible for their interpretation.
According to the provisions of the Labor Code, employment may only be extended to adolescents who have completed high school and who present a note from a physician stating that this type of work is not hazardous to their health. Adolescents with no professional qualifications may only be hired for vocational training purposes. The principles and conditions of vocational training and the principles of compensation for adolescents during this period are defined in the Ordinance of the Council of Ministers on Vocational Training of Minors and their Compensation of 28 May 1996 (Official Journal No. 60, Item 278 with amendments). Detailed procedures for the conclusion and termination of employment contracts for vocational training are determined by the provisions of Articles 194 through 196 of the Labor Code. In light of the purpose of this study, it appears necessary to discuss these rules in greater detail. The most important rules for the purposes of this study are those governing the employment of minors for purposes other than vocational training.
Other than employment for vocational training purposes, the Labor Code allows for the employment of adolescents for light work based on an employment contract. The rules for such employment relations are defined in Article 200 and the ensuing Articles of the Labor Code. Under those provisions, light work may not pose a hazard to the life, health and physical and mental development of the adolescent. It also must not interfere with the adolescent's compulsory education. The employment compiles a list of light work with the permission of a physician who practices labor medicine. This list must be approved by the responsible labor inspector. The list of light work may not include work which is prohibited by Ordinance of the Council of Ministers of 1 December 1990 (Official Journal No. 85 Item 5000 with amendments). The list of light work is determined by the employer in the work rules. Employers who are not required to adopt work rules place the list of light work in a separate legal act. The employer is obligated to acquaint the adolescent with the list of light work before the work begins.
Pursuant to Article 200 of the Labor Code, the employer determines the total hours and the division of the hours to be worked by adolescents who are employed for light work. However, the weekly learning hours evident from the lesson plan or school schedule must be maintained.
The working hours of adolescents during the school year may not exceed 12 hours a week. On days when the adolescent takes part in instructional units, the workload may not be greater than 2 hours. Adolescents may not work more than 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week during their vacation from school.
Adolescents under the age of 16 years may not work more than 6 hours a day. The time limits designated above also apply if the adolescent is employed by more than one employer. Before an employment relation can be entered into, the employer is obligated to obtain from the adolescent a statement regarding the latter's employment or non-employment by other employers.
All adolescent employees who perform light work must undergo prior examinations before they can be employed, as well as routine examinations during the course of their employment, regardless of whether they were employed for the purpose of vocational training or for another reason.
The working hours of adolescent employees are determined in a specific way. The working hours of an adolescent worker may not exceed 8 hours a day. Adolescents may not work overtime or nights. For adolescents, "nights" are considered to be the hours between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. The work break, which includes the night hours, may be no less than 14 uninterrupted hours. Adolescents have the right to 48 hours of uninterrupted rest each week, including Sundays.
On 1 January 2004, the Act of 14 November 2003 amending the Labor Code and other laws took effect (Official Journal No. 213, Item 1081), under which a new Article, Article 304, was adopted into the Labor Code. This provision imposes restrictions on child labor and gainful activity by children up to and including the age of 16. This provision relates to work and other gainful activity which are not performed based on an employment contract, i.e. work which is not performed within the context of an employment relation.
Under this statute, children under the age of 16 may work only for institutions performing activities in the cultural, athletic, advertising and artistic spheres. It is also necessary to obtain the consent of the parent, legal guardian and labor inspector. The competent labor inspector is to issue a permit on the application of the institution. The inspector may refuse to issue a permit if performance of the work or gainful activity represents a hazard to the life, health or physical and mental development of the child, or if it interferes with the child's compulsory education.
The following is to be attached to the application:
-written consent from the parent or legal guardian that the child is allowed to perform the work or gainful activity;
-an opinion from a psychological/pedagogical advisor finding no objections to performance of the work or gainful activity by the child;
-a note from a physician allowing the child to perform the work or gainful activity.
With respect to the compulsory education of children during the period in which they are working are exercising another gainful activity, an evaluation must be obtained from the responsible director of the school which the child is attending.
The permit should include:
- personal information about the child and the legal guardian or representative;
- designation of the institution which is exercising the activity provided for in § 1;
- designation of the type of work or other gainful activity which may be performed by the child;
- designation of the time frame during which the child may perform the work or other gainful activity;
- designation of the daily workload for the work or other gainful activity;
- other information which may be needed for the welfare of the child or based on the type and character of the work and the conditions of the work or gainful activity.
The permit is to be revoked by the competent labor inspector on the application of the parent or legal guardian. The inspector is authorized to revoke the permit ex officio if it is found that the conditions under which the child is working do not conform to the conditions defined in the permit.
Article 304 of the Labor Code will remain in effect through 1 May 2004, i.e. until Poland's accession to the EU.
The answer to this question depends on the type of problem with regard to which the child or minor decides to turn to a specific institution for help.
If the problems in question relate to the protection of life, health and property from unlawful attack, or other affairs pertaining to fundamental police functions (pursuant to Article 1 Paragraph 2 of the Police Act of 6 April 1990 [Official Journal 2002, No. 7, Item 58 with subsequent amendments]), the nearest police station, police headquarters or a policeman in the vicinity of the incident is the competent institution to which one should turn.
If the problem relates to the crossing of national boundaries, i.e. control of border traffic and the other functions of the Polish border control authority pursuant to Article 1 Paragraph 2 of the Border Control Act of 12 October 1990 (Official Journal 2002, No. 171, Item 1399 with subsequent amendments), a watchtower, border control point or a border control officer situated in the vicinity is the competent institution to which one should turn.
If the problems relate to the provision of assistance in the event of fire or natural disaster, the removal of local dangers or other fundamental tasks of the State Fire Service (pursuant to Article 1 Paragraph 2 of the Act on the State Fire Service of 24 September 1991 [2002 Official Journal No. 147, Item 1230 with subsequent amendments]), one should turn to the nearest fire station.
In addition, Article 1 of the Aliens Act of 13 June 2003 (Official Journal No. 128, Item 1175) defines guidelines and requirements for entry into the sovereign territory of the Republic of Poland, transit through Polish territory and the residence and departure of aliens, as well as modes of procedure and determination of the competent authorities. Pursuant to Article 141 of the Aliens Act, the central authority of governmental administration, responsible for repatriation affairs, entry and departure, residence within the territory of the Republic of Poland, granting refugee status and asylum, issuing residence permits and temporary protection and affairs relating to Polish citizenship within the scope of functions of the governmental administration is the President of the Office for Repatriation and Aliens.
For other problems, such as problems relating to health and social assistance for children and adolescents, persons residing in Poland may turn to the nearest health care or social welfare institution.
According to the Ministry of Economics, Labor and Social Policy, in cases where there is a suspicion that an employer has violated labor laws, any worker, including adolescents, should turn to the competent district labor inspector for help.
Other than government institutions, children and adolescents can also turn to other non-governmental institutions, such as the Children's Friends Society. Foreign nationals can, in any case, take their matter to the nearest consulate or other diplomatic mission from their country within the territory of the Republic of Poland.
Ministry of National Education and Sport, Youth Department, with the help of the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (2/2004).
For the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the information we can not guarantee.