Self-Employment in Poland - the Perspective of Human Resources Management

By Bak-Grabowska, Dominika | Economics & Sociology, January 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Self-Employment in Poland - the Perspective of Human Resources Management


Bak-Grabowska, Dominika, Economics & Sociology


Introduction

Entrepreneurs are increasingly investigating alternatives for both expensive and inflexible employment of workers based on employment contracts, which results in establishing non-standard employment forms. One of the options in this matter is entering into cooperation with individuals running their own economic activity, the so-called self- employed. Poland is ranked among the leading European Union Member States in terms of the self-employed share in the total workforce number. It is claimed that the vast majority of Polish self-employed persons do not exactly represent entrepreneurs developing their own businesses, but rather the ones for whom self-employment is the form of cooperation with a particular outsourcing enterprise implemented as the alternative to employment contract.

In such perspective the problem of human resources management within the framework of cooperation with the self-employed, presents and interesting issue. In the course of the carried out research project the process of human resources management, referring to self-employment, was analyzed. In order to identify and evaluate this phenomenon both literature and empirical studies were carried out. A survey questionnaire, addressed to people working based on atypical employment forms, was used in empirical studies which constitute a pilot approach to identify the discussed phenomenon. The descriptive statistics was mainly used in the process of analyzing the obtained data. The conclusions present further research directions in the field of human resources management in the conditions of self-employment.

1. Self-employment - definitions and types

Self-employment presents a complex and ambiguous phenomenon which raises problems of definitional nature. In simple terms self-employment is defined as a situation in which an individual works for him/herself instead of working for an employer who pays a salary or a wage. A self-employed individual earns his/her income through conducting profitable operations within the framework of a trade or business they operate directly (Self- employed, 2014).

Self-employment is most frequently identified with running a business by a natural person. In Polish system the procedure of a business registration is free of charge (only filling in a VAT return is subject to a fee), there is no obligation of an initial capital; there is a personal responsibility for all receivables and liabilities resulting from running a business. Therefore, it represents the form of individual entrepreneurship which legal persons cannot take advantage of (Wach, 2005, pp. 37-44).

Starting one's own business can take place when (Jagoda, Bak-Grabowska, 2008, pp. 136-140):

* an enterprise is created from scratch, following the leading motive of developing an organization in the course of which self-employment is a transitional form;

* an enterprise is established by a person performing a free profession - the main motive is the freedom offered by running an independent business, it is also significant whether such solution is a customary one in a particular professional group;

* an enterprise is established by a person who renders services for a former employer with whom he/she used to be formally bound by an employment contract, or starts cooperation with a new employer based on the same rules.

The third of the presented options raises most controversies. Many authors emphasize that in practice self- employment is frequently regarded by employers as a beneficial alternative if compared to signing an employment contract. The problem starts when a natural person (often a former employee) runs business activities for an employer, consisting in fulfilling certain obligations in the subordination conditions in terms of place, time and manner of performing work. The presented characteristics are typical for an employment relationship. As a result of the indicated problem certain restrictions were introduced in Polish labour law system in relation to running a business, which theoretically prevent substituting employment relationship by the so-called fake self-employment (Duraj, 2007, pp. …

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