2022 Annual Report

Human rights

2022 Annual Report

[2-23] In the process of developing regulations, procedures and policies relating to human rights, the entities of the Bank’s Group draw on the achievements of international organizations and respect the fundamental principles set out in the International Bill of Rights which is composed of the following documents:

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
  • UN Convention: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
  • UN Convention: The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Depending on the size and specificity of a given entity of the Bank’s Group, observing human rights is manifested both in the internal provisions, the initiatives undertaken and in everyday practice. This concerns, in particular, to the rights to:

  • recognize the identity of every employee,
  • proclaiming one’s views and opinions, freedom of thought, conscience and religion,
  • protection of personal rights,
  • equal treatment,
  • access to information,
  • access to healthcare,
  • respect for privacy.

Some of the entities of the Bank’s Group have included provisions relating to respect for human rights and the prohibition of discrimination in such documents as their working regulations and/or the Code of Ethics (Ethical Standards). The Bank’s policy concerning respect for human rights is contained in the following documents:

  • the PKO Bank Polski SA’s Code of Ethics,
  • Principles of counteracting bullying and discrimination and the procedure for handling complaints concerning the violation of employee rights,
  • Principles of recruitment and the Standards of Recruitment,
  • agreements concluded with service providers (applicable to personal data protection agreements).

Issues relating to forced labour and child labour are not directly reflected in the Bank’s regulations, because:

  • the prohibition of forced labour arises from Article 4 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
  • the prohibition to employ people under the age of 15 arises from Article 190, para. 2 of the Labour Code.

In its practice, the Bank follows the principles contained in the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.

The other entities of the Bank’s Group incorporate the issues of respect for human rights in their processes, everyday practice and in the unwritten principles.

[2-24] One of the most crucial elements/stages of the analysis is the identification of human rights in the context of the operations conducted. No cases of employment of minors or forced labour were identified in the Group entities operating in various countries.

A separate task is the issue of observing the human rights in the supply chain which, in the context of the Group entities, boils down to relationships with suppliers and the outsourcing of services (mainly banking services). The issues of observance of human rights are reflected in the procedures and agreements signed with these entities.

Examples of activities conducted within the Group entities, in which respect for human rights is manifested, are presented below:

  • counteracting bullying and discrimination,
  • basing the principles of the periodic appraisal/summary of performance on a dialogue with the employee, the employee’s participation in the process, collecting feedback from a variety of sources,
  • use of recruitment principles that ensure equal treatment of candidates during the selection process for filling vacancies, without any discrimination, prejudice and without obtaining information that could violate the candidate’s rights and personal dignity,
  • basing promotion decisions on an objective appraisal of qualifications, skills and performance,
  • supporting diversity in management, in particular with respect to age, experience, style of work, thinking; promotion of diversity among managers as an asset and not a limitation;
  • enabling employees to express their opinions and influence important issues regarding the organization and working conditions, management, the organizational culture, as well as enabling the provision of information about perceived crimes and fraud – ensuring anonymity and confidentiality for the reporting persons (the whistleblower mechanism),
  • protecting personal rights (personal data, sensitive data) of the employees and customers through carefully prepared procedures and systems and the inclusion of restrictive provisions in contracts concluded with service providers who have access to such data,
  • creating conditions for satisfying needs related to leisure and culture, as well as respect for the principle of work-life balance,
  • ensuring freedom of association,
  • Under the continuing well-being programme #FocusOnYou a number of measures were organized to improve the well-being of employees. Numerous online events, video materials and articles concerned, among other things: preventive healthcare, physical activity, healthy diet, sleep or the emotional condition.
  • information materials on hybrid work not only contain guidelines on the ways and organisation of work, but also on how to take care of occupational health, including breaks, reducing unnecessary meetings in favour of specific tasks, or reconciling office work with remote work.
  • The Bank’s Group applies the same human rights standards across the entire supply chain in its business activities.

[2-25] The Bank takes action to prevent violations of human rights, including employee rights, but it is not able to eliminate all conflicts. In 2022 20 cases concerning employment relationships ended in the final termination of proceedings (9 were won, 11 were lost).

The entities in the Bank’s Group monitor the risks accompanying the individual human rights and manage them at the company level.

The basic internal communication tool is the Intra portal which contains information on benefits, privileges, rights and obligations of the Bank’s employees. On the Intranet, the employees can find the following documents:

  • PKO Bank Polski S.A.’s Code of Ethics,
  • Principles of Recruitment,
  • Recruitment Standards,
  • The principles for counteracting bullying and discrimination and the procedure for handling complaints concerning breaches of employee rights (regulations updated and communicated within the organization in 2018; a clear presentation of the principles for counteracting bullying and discrimination and the procedure for handling complaints was attached to the text of the regulations to make it easier for the employees to use the procedure);
  • Good practices in serving persons with disabilities, as well as a presentation of the Bank’s Values.

Human rights are communicated externally through the Bank’s publicly accessible website which contains information about the PKO Bank Polski Foundation, about the idea of charity it pursues as a measure of respect for the environment, in particular for other people.

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