For years employers have been wondering whether it is possible to use employees’ biometric data, such as finger prints or retina scanning. Such system is fast and efficient, however its legality is controversial.

So far, Polish law does not define the biometric data. There are also not listed in the catalogue of data, which an employer can require from employees. Therefore General Inspector for the Protection of Personal Data considered that using biometric data to record employees’ work time is against the law.

Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC, for the first time, introduces the definition of biometric data and include them in the category of sensitive data. Possibility of processing these data is limited. Biometric data can be processed, e.g. when the person, whose data will be processed, agrees for it. However, it is well known, that the employee’s consent is not treat as voluntary, due to his/her dependence. Therefore, when employers want to use modern technologies based on the processing of biometric data and in the case when the same goal can be achieved by another method, e.g. a magnetic card, we should advise them this second scenario.