Poland: Implementation of EU Directives in the Labor Code
Poland has recently passed an Act amending the Labor Code and other acts (“Amendment Act”) in order to implement the EU Directives 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable employment conditions, and EU Directive 2019/1158 on maintaining a work-life balance for employees in the Labor Code. The amendment has implemented a number of solutions resulting from the two EU directives.
On March 8, 2023, the Senate introduced revisions to the government’s version of the Sejm-approved measure revising the Labor Code and a few other statutes, and on March 9, 2023, the Sejm adopted some of those amendments. The President of the Republic of Poland signed the act amending the Labor Code on March 23, 2023. The amendment act will come into force on April 26, 2023, after its publication in the Journal of Laws. The amendments provide for the introduction into Polish labor law new solutions concerning employment and the rules of granting inter alia parental leaves and benefits. The amendments are as follows –
Additional Breaks During Long Working Hours
Currently, article 132 of the Labor Code states that an employee whose daily working time is of at least 6 hours is entitled to a paid break of a minimum of 15 minutes. This break is included in the working time of an employee.
In accordance with the Amendment Act, an additional provision has been added which states that if the employee’s daily working time –
- is longer than 9 hours, the employee has the right to an additional paid break of at least 15 minutes ( i.e. a total of 30 minutes of paid break) and;
- is longer than 16 hours, the employee has the right to another paid break of at least 15 minutes ( i.e. a total of 45 minutes of paid break).
Amendment to the Parental Leave
Currently, article 182 of the Labor Code states that employees (both parents) shall be entitled to up to 32 weeks of parental leave (34 weeks for multiple births) immediately after using maternity leave.
In accordance with the Amendment Act, the duration of parental leave available to employees (both parents) shall be increased to 41 weeks in the case of giving birth to one child and 43 weeks in the case of multiple births.
Furthermore, each parent will receive an exclusive right of 9 weeks of parental leave (from the leaves specified above) at 70% on the basis of the allowance assessment, which cannot be transferred to the other parent. Also, the maternity allowance will be raised for the duration of parental leave. The monthly maternity pay for the duration of maternity and parental leave will be 81.5% of the basis of the allowance assessment if an application for parental leave is submitted no later than 21 days after childbirth.
Introduction of Carer’s Leave
The Amendment Act has introduced a new provision (Article 173) which shall provide 5 calendar days of unpaid carer’s leave.
Employees will be entitled to carer’s leave in order to provide personal care or support due to serious medical reasons for family members. Children, parents & wife will be considered as family members. The employee will be able to take this leave in one go or in parts. The carer’s leave will be included in the period of employment.
Introduction of Force Majeure Leave
The Amendment Act has introduced a new provision (Article 148) which shall entitle employees to a new type of leave of absence for 2 days or 16 hours per calendar year due to force majeure events in urgent family matters caused by illness or accident where the employee’s immediate presence is necessary while retaining the right to half of the remuneration.
Employees who work part-time are entitled to hourly leave that is prorated based on the number of hours they actually work; any incomplete hours of leave shall be rounded to a full hour.
Flexible Working Agreement at the Request of Parent Employee
Currently, article 178 states that an employee raising a child until the child is 4 years old is not permitted to work overtime, at night, during working hours, or to be employed outside their permanent place of employment without prior approval of the employee.
In accordance with the Amendment Act, an employee raising a child until the age of 8 (currently up to the age of 4) will be able to apply for various types of flexible working arrangements, namely remote or flexible work, intermittent working time system, shortened working week system, working weekend system, and individual distribution of working time.
The employee must submit the application at least 21 days prior to the flexible working arrangement’s anticipated start date. The employer shall be required to take into account the employee’s demands.
Extended Information Obligations towards the Employees
The Act amends article 29(b)(3.3) of the Labor Code introducing several additional responsibilities that the employer is required to fulfill. The employer’s information obligations towards the employee will also be extended. Among other things, the employer will now have to inform the employee in paper or electronic form, no later than within 7 days from the date of the employee’s admission to work, about:
- Daily and weekly working time standards applicable to the employee;
- Daily and weekly working time applicable to the employee;
- Employee’s entitlement to breaks from work;
- Daily and weekly rest periods to which the employee is entitled;
- Rules on overtime and compensation for overtime;
- In the case of shift work, the rules for switching from shift to shift
- In the case of several places of work: the rules on movement between places of work;
- Components of remuneration and cash or in-kind benefits not specified in the employment contract to which the employee is entitled;
- Paid leave entitlement, in particular, annual leave or, if it is not possible to determine it on the date of providing the employee with this information, the rules for determining and granting annual leave;
- Rules of Termination and notice period.
- The general principle of employee training policies.
- The details on the collective agreement or other collective arrangements by which the employee is covered.
- If the employer has not yet established work regulations; the employer shall provide the information about the date, place, time, and frequency of payment of remuneration for work, night time, and the method adopted by a given employer of confirming the arrival and presence at work by employees and justifying absences from work.
The employer shall inform the employee in paper or electronic form about the change in the terms and conditions of employment, as well as about the inclusion of the employee in a collective labor agreement or other collective agreement immediately, but not later than on the date on which such a change applies to the employee.
Employers should start modifying and practicing their policies accordingly. Employers should also inform their employees of upcoming changes and proactively review their current policies.