The strength of solutions delivered by SAP AG lies in their versatility. A company that decides to select the SAP software is provided with the possibility to use the best practices that were a foundation of IT tools applied all over the world.
However, there are areas where this versatility cannot be fully used. Each country has specific legal, tax and other regulations. Therefore, an integral part of SAP rollout projects is the adjustment of a transferred corporate solution, e.g. a financial solution, to local legal regulations.
SAP HR in 54 national versions
Country-specific features are more prominent in SAP solutions that support the so-called “hard” HR – personnel administration, payroll calculation. The differences between individual countries are evidenced by the fact that SAP AG – in addition to delivering the so-called international SAP version – prepares a local version of HR and payroll solutions separately for each country.
The Polish version is currently one of 54 available versions. As regards the payroll module, 25 dedicated functions, the same number of operations and ca. 100 new programs have been prepared from scratch for the Polish version.
SAP corporate standards (common templates) in the field of HR are mostly based on an international version. However, the mentioned variety of SAP HR solutions dedicated for Poland shows that a simple transfer of a corporate common template to Poland is not possible, even if a corporation intends to spend more time on adjusting the system to the Polish law.
If the system is to operate in accordance with law, its deployment must be based on the Polish version of SAP HR. This means that as regards “hard” HR, the project will look more like a classic implementation (including elements of adjustment to corporate standards) than a rollout (a template transfer with adjustment to the Polish law).
First of all locally
In large international companies, SAP rollouts are usually carried out by an internal implementation team, often supported by an implementation partner cooperating with a corporation headquarters. In such a case, there is a substantial question whether SAP specialists from the headquarters will be able to implement the Polish version of SAP HR – with numerous solutions specific for Poland, which are hard to understand by a person from another country, not to mention their configuration in the system.
The areas of vulnerability include reporting to ZUS (in particular, complicated cases of benefits payable by ZUS (Social Security Institution) – a sick pay, allowances), and to a tax office and GUS (Central Statistical Office). The implementation of the Polish legislation requirements in the system, including the modeling of remuneration regulations, is necessary for users to be able to work efficiently and to provide HR services for employees in accordance with law.
All this requires that external specialists should be engaged in the SAP HR rollout. They should have the knowledge of the Polish version of SAP HR, Polish legal regulations – and preferably, in addition – experience in similar projects in which SAP corporate standards are used.
While convincing the corporate management of the project to engage such specialists, it can be helpful to present examples of meanders of the Polish law – this will strengthen the message that a mere SAP configuration skill is not sufficient. An extensive knowledge of the Polish labor law is also helpful. Further herein, we present several areas in which the support provided by Polish HR consultants turns out to be simply necessary.
Meanders of the Polish law
A good example is a solution for calculating a length of service and absence quotas (for leave control) pursuant to the Labor Code, section 7 – Employee leaves of absence. A well-configured SAP system, on the basis of registered information, including information about a previous employer and education, properly calculates years of service of each employee and automatically generates a vacation leave entitlement on this basis.
This mechanism works properly to the extent that the registration of concrete absences leads to reducing a quota. A quota of a leave on request in a specific year as well as a validity date of each quota are also controlled.
The Polish solution also supports the generation of allowance quotas specific for our country (according to the Act on Social Insurance Benefits in case of Illness or Maternity of June 25, 1999), i.e. a child care, a family member care or a care leave pursuant to Art. 188 of the Labor Code. While generating quotas, their value used by a previous employer is taken into account. In addition, the system checks a child’s age (up to 14 years of age).
The support of an additional vacation leave for the disabled has been also introduced. It is provided on the basis of data entered in a social insurance infotype specific for Poland.
It is also important to ensure that the configuration will enable proper generation of application documents for ZUS. It is necessary not only to fill in relevant tables, but also to modify screens of infotypes (e.g. Addresses or Personal data), and dictionaries so that the system delivers the data required by ZUS.
As a result, the SAP system configured in this way enables easy and correct preparation of documents, which are then imported to the Płatnik (Payer) program using a KEDU file which is a collection of electronic insurance documents.
Examples of companies which implemented SAP HR using SNP support
- Animex (Smithfield Group)
- GSK Pharmaceuticals
- Metro Group (Makro, Real, Media Markt)
- Hochland Poland
- Hochtief Poland
- Kimball Electronics Poland
- Nordzucker Poland
- Pfeifer & Langen Poland
- Praktiker Poland
- Strauss Cafe Poland
- Winkhaus Poland
- Wolters Kluwer
Pursuant to the Polish law, employers are also obliged to prepare statistics for the Central Statistical Office (GUS). The configuration of the personnel administration and working time management modules must take into account all the criteria that will be included in these reports since the system collects data from dictionaries and tables that will be indicated as a data source, and based on relevant algorithms, it calculates various statistical data of a company, which is then provided to GUS.
While implementing the Polish SAP HR solution, it is important to take into account the fact that there are tables which are not subject to the so-called groupings for a country-specific solution. This means that some dictionaries in the international version will have to be extended to include entries required for the Polish version, e.g. termination reason of an employment contract. There is a dictionary for termination reasons in SAP which is used while generation of the official document called Work Statement Form, which is a mandatory document issued by an employer for an employee.
The important information is that this document collects information from the whole period of an employee’s employment, i.e. a history of positions, a working time basis, suspending absences, illness-related absences – however, only provided that they are configured according to the requirements of the Polish labor law and Polish SAP HR solution.
Lack of some data and failure to adjust the system to the Polish regulations will make the work of HR specialists harder and employees will be dissatisfied with the lack of information. An even more serious problem may be a penalty imposed by the National Labor Inspectorate, or summons to the Labor Court due to improper keeping of HR documentation or failure to perform duties of an employer.
Productive go-live is not the only challenge
It is worth noting that consultants who have the knowledge of the Polish SAP HR version are very helpful not only at the configuration stage, but also in the first weeks or months after the system has gone live. At the beginning of work with a new solution, users need a lot of support in modeling (introducing into HR) complicated “HR and payroll” cases in the Polish version.
What’s more, the issue of adjustment to the Polish law is, so to say, a constant challenge – due to the published changes in law. Each month, the Polish subsidiary of SAP AG releases Legal Change Patches (LCP) – sets of configuration changes that have to be imported to adjust the system to changes in law.
And again – like in the case of implementation works – to be able to import these patches you need to have a very good knowledge of the Polish version of SAP HR so as to properly adjust the configuration of the system and its enhancements. The ideal solution here is to use a regular service of the SAP HR application support, which allows you to shift the effort of adjusting the system to legal changes on an ongoing basis to an external company.