Network F Supporting the adaptability of firms and employees to structural economic changes and the use of information technology and other new technologies.
Project name ElaStan – Promotion of Flexible Employment Methods
Project number F0580

Project description

The objective of the Partnership is to reduce labour market discrimination by generating local enterprises' demand for flexible employment schemes and application of modern information and telecommunication technologies. According to preliminary surveys made by the Partnerships, small and medium-sized enterprises from suburban Warsaw areas are much less competitive compared to their counterparts operating in Warsaw. Due to high costs of traditional employment arrangements, small enterprises are unable to hire highly skilled specialists to support marketing, management or sales. As a consequence, their growth is brought to a halt. In addition, the local intellectual capital is rapidly migrating to large cities. Unable to find a job in their home region, specialists have to go elsewhere. The competitiveness of small and medium enterprises from suburban Warsaw is further hampered by difficult access to knowledge and latest information and communication technologies that are commonly used in the economy of today. The companies lack specialists in this area and modern methods of management. In a survey of small business owners a half of them reported that the company has to downsize its operations and refrain from growth-oriented activities due to a shortage of necessary employees. Moreover, survey results indicate that management and sales support specialists are the most sought after on the labour market. Usually, they opt for full time jobs, but the companies are unable to meet their expectation due to a lack of funds. Vacancies can easily get filled by hiring much wanted employees jointly by several companies, of which none is in need of a full time job. Almost 49% of the surveyed employers support the idea of part time jobs. Cost saving flexible employment arrangements that involve temporary part time jobs and sharing employees by two or more firms, are a possible remedy to the problems faced by small and medium-sized enterprises. Nevertheless, employers do not use such arrangements and little know about them. Moreover, there is no cooperation between the companies intended to work out a common employment policy and business owners are afraid of supervisory authorities (the Tax Office or Social Insurance Institution) in the context of fiscally and legally "problematic" employment arrangements.

The Project's activities will cover companies from the regions of Pułtusk, Garwolin and Radom. In Mazowieckie Voivodship, there are huge differences between the status of enterprises operating in Warsaw or its outskirts and those located in more remote areas. The development potential of Warsaw is not used to encourage development of weaker poviats and firms located therein. Final beneficiaries of the Project are owners and managers of such enterprises (225 persons), potential flexible workers - now unemployed or in danger of redundancy (225 persons) - and 30 potential trainers specialising in flexible employment arrangements. The main objective of the Project is to develop a model system of support to flexible employment arrangements and its pilotscale implementation. The system contains a coherent set of technical (IT), organisational, legal, educational and informational solutions. Project beneficiaries will be able to use standard flexible employment contracts conform to the provisions of the Labour Code, Civil Code and the Code of Commercial Companies, as well as other documents and procedures enabling flexible employment arrangements. They will be given a set of ready to use solutions: standard contracts, forms and procedures protecting equally the interests of employers and employees. Standard arrangements ("Flexible Company" and "Flexible Worker") and a commentary thereto will be available for downloading from a fast internet server installed under the Project. Package efficiency will be tested by micro-audits of small and medium-sized enterprises, personality/competence surveys of employees and at dedicated training events. E-Centres of Teleworking will be established to test and implement new solutions, facilitate cooperation of small and medium-sized enterprises and minimize their exposure to financial risks. The Centres will also act as information/promotion hubs and establish grounds for replication of the new system of support to flexible employment arrangements elsewhere in Poland.

The Development Partnership is planning to disseminate extensively the outcomes of the Project using a variety of measures: the Internet, training/information materials, lobbying or conferences attended by all interested parties. It will be equally important to ensure an atmosphere of political
sympathy towards flexible employment arrangements, as required for the amendment of existing labour law. Integrative debates of employees and employers will be held under the Project to expand the scope of flexible labour market. The Partnership will appoint a team of trainers/ auditors capable of performing micro-audits of human resources in the enterprises and delivering training in practical application of the system of support to flexible employment arrangements. The Project will be implemented in close cooperation with institutions and agencies in charge of local labour markets. The focus on promotion of flexible employment arrangements will contribute significantly to an improvement in employers' and employees' awareness of benefits from the application of modern information and telecommunication technologies, helping them to find new outlet markets or deliver more effective promotional campaigns.