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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Changes in the regulations on burying the dead

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Within two months, the parliament may submit a draft law providing for the introduction of electronic death cards, digitization of cemetery registers and the creation of a register of graves and resting places. This was announced by Wojciech Labuda, plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for the protection of memorial sites.

Labuda noted that the existing provisions of the 1959 Act on Cemeteries and Burying the Dead require clarification. The purpose of the proposed changes is to adapt them to the current legal and organizational reality. The new regulations are to enter into force in March 2023.

– We do not want to make any moral revolution in this area. The only revolution will be digitization. We want all burial processes to be digital, Labuda told PAP. – These changes are made to replace the current, archaic 1959 law on cemeteries and the burial of the dead. A law that is far from being in line with the present-day reality and the requirements of the present day, he stressed.

What’s in the bill?

The project provides for the introduction of, among others electronic death certificate. The data is to be automatically transferred to state registers and related institutions. This is to improve the procedures related to the classification of the causes of death and to enable access to data by such authorities as the Central Statistical Office, the Central Statistical Office or the pension authorities.

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– We want one hundred percent of deaths to be registered electronically when the law comes into force. Everyone knows that this is a far-reaching simplification, not only for citizens and companies, but also for the state, especially in crisis situations such as an epidemic. Currently, aggregate statistics on the causes of death are still compiled by the Central Statistical Office even one year after time. It is a matter of security that such data should appear immediately – said Labuda.

On the other hand, digitization of memorial sites is to include the creation of a central database of cemeteries and burial sites, an online search engine and maps of graves, digitization of cemetery registers, or an online list of historical cemeteries and graves of distinguished persons.

The act is also to define such terms as, inter alia, embalming, cemetery, exhumation or grave. Specify the places where new cemeteries, houses and funeral homes can be built. According to the proposal, houses and funeral homes will be allowed to be built only in service development areas, which is to be specified in local spatial development plans.

When can the rules come into force?

– Currently, we anticipate the date of entry into force of the proposed provisions is March 1, 2023. The date may change as a result of further government work or parliamentary work. We are now at the stage of consultations and arrangements. I hope that in the next two months this project will find its final stage as far as the government stage is concerned and it will reach the parliamentary stage “- said Labuda. He added that” we are also assuming appropriate vacatio legis for individual statutory requirements. The longest date when the last changes will be introduced is 2028 – he emphasized.

The introduction of electronic cemetery registers is to last until 2026. By 2028, it will be necessary to adapt the crematoria installations to the emission requirements. Earlier, by the end of August 2023, companies from the industry will be required to submit an application for entry in the register of funeral directors. By then, the regulations of the cemeteries are also to be announced.

Trade fairs in Kielce

The new solutions were discussed during the Necroexpo fair in Targi Kielce, the only event of this type in Poland aimed at the funeral industry. Until June 5, the producers of hearse, urns, coffins and other funeral products will be present in the exhibition halls.

In the exhibition center in Kielce, among others, ball-shaped urns or applications for creating virtual obituaries.

Main photo source: Jaroslaw Kurek / Shutterstock.com

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