Employment & labor law /

Leave at the request in Polish Labor Code

Leave at the request is regulated in Polish Labor Code in Article 1672 which states:

Art. 1672 . Leave at the request of an employee. An employer is obliged to grant up to 4 days of leave in each calendar year at the request of an employee, within the period specified by the employee. The employee must apply for the leave at the latest on the day of beginning the leave.

According to the Article 1673 employee is entitled only to 4 days leave per year on the basis of above mentioned request, no matter how many employers this employee had during the year. Those 4 days can be taken in any configuration that employee wants.

When leave at the request can be granted:

Employee is entitled to request even on a date of a leave. Technically such request can be delivered via e-mail, text message, phone call, official letter or any other effective way. It is crucial to mention that leave at the request is a privilege of the employee and is supposed to be used for urgent, random matters (so called acts of God). Taking into consideration that there is no catalogue of urgent and random situations, application of such provision is very problematic in practice and one shall remember that if the employer doesn’t allow the requested leave, he can be punished with up to 30 000 zł. penalty (282 §1 p. 2 of Polish Labor Code). The employee that requested the leave in situation that wasn’t random or urgent can be punished as well (e.g. loss of bonus to the remuneration, reprimand, worse vacation term, cash penalties etc.). It shall be clear that the employee cannot use a requested leave as a tool for putting a pressure on an employer (e.g. a strike) or in any other way that would be against this privilege’s socio-economic application (Article 8 of Polish Labor Code).

It is important to mention that an employer is not allowed to demand a justification for such request under no circumstances.

Employer’s allowance.

Technically to obtain requested leave employer must give his permission to the employee, but practically it is not always necessary (e.g. employer didn’t respond in customary period of time, therefore employee is allowed to leave). It is worth mentioning that common practice shows that employees often deliver requests couple of minutes before the leave. In certain occasions such practice might be treated like an abuse of a subjective right (above mentioned Article 8 of Polish Labour Code). Nevertheless one shall be very careful in such situations. It is recommended that only very obvious and well evidenced examples are considered as abuse and the reason of rejecting the leave.

Refusal of requested leave.

There are several cases in which an employer can refuse granting a leave at the request. Such action must be justified with crucial employer’s business (e.g. a company cannot function in certain period of time without this employee, other employees have vacation and there is insufficient amount of employees etc.). If this happens (e.g. services may not be provided without that employee) – request might be rejected, employee ordered to work while arranging other substitute employee in the meantime. After such, when substitute employee reaches the office the other employee may be released for the leave.

As mentioned above, an employee is entitled to only 4 days of requested leave annually. If those days won’t be exploited during the year they vanish and employee is not entitled to additional 4 days during next year.

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Author team leader DKP Legal Marcin Kręglewski
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