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Polish employers may soon have access to employees’ vaccination status

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Poland – After Italy and Austria, which have introduced a Covid passport requirement at work, and Hungary, which allows employers to require their employees to get vaccinated against Covid, Poland could soon go down the same path, according to an announcement made by Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski on 1 November.

Niedzielski announced a bill that would give companies the ability to learn whether their employees are vaccinated against Covid. It will be put before the Sejm during its next session.

We have (…) a solution in the form of a draft law that will give employers the ability to check whether an employee is vaccinated. This is a very good solution”,

he said on Polsat News.

Conflicting voices within the government coalition

However, this idea is not unanimously supported in the government camp. In an interview published on 30 October by Do Rzeczy, MP Anna Maria Siarkowska said:

Solutions introducing health segregation, differentiating and discriminating against citizens on the basis of their vaccination status, cannot be introduced into the Polish legal system in accordance with the Constitution.

(…) We Poles know well how every segregation of people ends. We cannot accept such solutions. (…)

The introduction of solutions which generate internal conflicts and incite social unrest, and which will undoubtedly bring people to the streets, will lead to the destabilization of the internal situation in Poland and will have a destructive impact on social support and the feeling of legitimacy of the government.

In order to be considered legitimate, power must not only be acquired but also exercised in accordance (…) with the Polish legal order. The introduction of health segregation breaks these rules (…)

Civil rights and freedoms are not privileges that the authorities can hand out to those who meet their conditions. Civil rights and freedoms belong to everyone, regardless of their views or vaccination status.

For the Minister of Health, however, this plea for individual freedoms is “so irrational, backward, and superstitious that one might say it is not appropriate for someone who is educated.

One wonders whether Adam Niedzielski’s goal is not to bring down the government, which has only a narrow majority in the Sejm.