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Article | Global News Briefs

Poland: Numerous amendments to the Labor Code

By Krzysztof Gugała | March 29, 2023

Poland passes legislation that strengthens parental and care leave and allows certain employees to work remotely under certain circumstances.
Future of Work|Health and Benefits|Employee Experience|Ukupne nagrade |Benessere integrato
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Employer Action Code: Act

Parliament has amended the Labor Code to transpose the European Union (EU) Directives on Work-Life Balance and on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions. The resulting changes include new provisions on employee leaves and work arrangements. The amendments have been submitted to the president for signature and will be effective 21 days after promulgation. A separate series of amendments to regulate remote working are effective April 7, 2023.

Key details

Leaves:
  • Parental leave will be extended to 41 weeks (previously 32 weeks) for a single birth and 43 weeks for a multiple birth, with each parent having a right to nine nontransferable weeks. The leave allowance payable by social security will be changed to 70% of covered pay for the entire period (previously 100% for the first six weeks and 60% thereafter); however, if the mother applies for parental leave within 21 days after the birth, the allowance will be payable at 81.5% during her maternity and parental leave.
  • Employees will receive up to five days of unpaid leave each year to care for a child, spouse or other household member for serious medical reasons.
  • Employees will receive up to two days or 16 hours of force majeure leave per year to address urgent family matters caused by illness or accident, if the employee's immediate presence is needed, payable by the employer at 50% of normal pay.
Work arrangements:
  • The period during which employees raising a child may not be required to work overtime, at night or at a location other than their permanent work site will be extended to when the child reaches age eight (previously age four).
  • Employees raising a child under age eight will be able to request flexible working arrangements (e.g., individual work schedule, reduced hours, remote work). The employer must respond within seven days and provide a reason if the request is refused.
  • Employees with at least six months of service will be able to request, once a year, to change their employment contract to one for an indefinite period or one having more predictable and secure conditions (e.g., changing to full-time work). The employer must respond within one month and provide a reason if the request is refused.
  • Employers must state a reason — and notify the labor union (if any) in advance — if terminating a fixed-term employment contract.
  • Necessary employee training must be at the expense of the employer and, if possible, should be during the employee's working hours. Training held outside the employee's normal working hours is considered working time.
Remote work:
  • All employees will have the right to request regular or occasional (i.e., up to 24 days in a calendar year) remote working. Regular remote work must be based on formal written rules as agreed with the union (if any), under internal work rules or on the basis of individual agreements. Certain employees, such as those who are pregnant, have children under age four or are caring for a family member with disabilities, will have to be allowed to work remotely on request unless the nature of the work or role precludes such an arrangement.
  • Employers will be required to provide the necessary tools, as well as related support and maintenance, and cover associated electricity and telecommunication costs (and other costs stipulated by agreement with the union or work rules).

Employer implications

Poland, like most other EU member States, has transposed both Directives (the deadline for which was August 2022). Employers should review the changes in Poland and in other member States to ensure their policies and practices are consistent with the new standards. Employers should likewise review the new regulatory framework in Poland for remote working and consult with employee representatives or unions, if any, when considering the adoption of formal company rules on the matter.

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