Poland: 2023, Looking ahead
In 2023, Looking ahead, we explore the most important trends and developments related to labour and employment law in Poland.
As we are entering 2023, the field of labour law seems to be facing challenges not seen in decades. As the global economy is still struggling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the employees’ expectations in the field of flexibility and remoteness seem to be affected by changes that can no longer be reversed.
If that were not enough, the war across our eastern border is significantly affecting our economy, leading to shortages in the energy market and exacerbating already rampant inflation. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people who have found a safe refuge in Poland are starting to look for work, which has a significant impact on the labour market.
In such circumstances, the Polish legislator is preparing to introduce several significant amendments to the Labour Code.
Amendments concerning remote work
The institution of remote work shall be introduced to the Polish Labour Code. The amendment provides for both total and hybrid remote working, according to the needs of the individual employee and the employer. Moreover, the new regulation shall allow the employer to instruct the employee to work remotely in special cases.
The amendment stipulates that remote work may also be carried out occasionally, at the employee’s request in paper or electronic form, for an amount not exceeding a certain number of days per calendar year. Remote work in this form will be applied in incidental circumstances justified solely by the employee’s need.
According to the amendment, as a general rule, an employer will not be able to refuse remote work to, among others, parents who are raising a child up to the age of four, parents and carers who are caring for a person with a disability in the family and pregnant women, unless this is not possible due to the work organisation, or the type of work performed by the employee.
Sobriety control at workplaces
The amendment to the Polish Labour Code currently under procedure provides that employers will be able to introduce sobriety checks for employees – or checks for substances having a similar effect to alcohol – when this is necessary to ensure the protection of the life and health of employees, other persons, or the protection of property.
The employer will be obliged not to allow an employee in whose body the presence of alcohol or a substance having a similar effect to alcohol is detected to work.
Work-life Balance Directive implementation
After the changes, each parent will be guaranteed nine weeks of parental leave, which will not be transferable to the other parent. In practice, the entire period of parental leave will be extended by nine weeks.
There will also be five days per calendar year of unpaid leave granted at the request of an employee who, for example, needs to look after children or other household members. Employees will also be able to take time off work for urgent family matters caused by illness or accident. This is two days or 16 hours per calendar year. The right to half pay will apply for the period of this leave.
In addition, the amendment stipulates that if the employee submits an appropriate application, no later than 21 days after childbirth, the monthly maternity benefit for the period of maternity and parental leave will be 81.5 per cent of the benefit base.
Changes to employment contracts and employee information
Changes also await probationary contracts, the duration of which will have to be determined by the period of intended employment. The parties will also be able to provide for the possibility of extending the probationary contract by the employee’s absence.
Moreover, termination of fixed-term employment contracts will require justification.
When the planned amendments come into force, employers will be required to provide employees with detailed information on the conditions of their employment.