Employment & labor law /

Sejm completes work on work-life balance act

In September, we alerted about the upcoming changes to the Polish Labor Code, aimed at implementing EU work-life balance directives into Polish labor law, the purpose of which is to improve working conditions and provide employees with greater flexibility. The changes will be particularly important for employees raising children, but other employees will also be affected. These changes also mean new challenges for Polish employers.

New leaves

The upcoming changes are primarily new leaves for employees. The upcoming changes will introduce new paid leave due to force majeure, which the employee will be able to use once a year, as well as a new carer’s leave – lasting up to 5 days a year. The changes will also affect parental leave – its length will increase, and there will be changes in the way it is divided between two parents.

Changes to trial and fixed-term contracts

Significant changes await us also in the scope of contracts for a trial period – the length of which will now depend on the length of the next contract to be concluded with this employee. The maximum length of the trial period will remain unchanged – 3 months. However, the employer will not be able to decide on its length as freely as it was so far.

Fixed-term workers will gain more job security. The changes make it necessary to provide the reason for terminating a fixed-term contract – as before in the case of contracts for an indefinite period. In case of appealing from termination – an employee hired for a definite period will also be able to apply for reinstatement to work.

New opportunities to improve working conditions

Employees will also have the opportunity to improve their working conditions and gain more flexibility in everyday life. The changes introduce the possibility of submitting an application for flexible work organization, as well as an application for a change in the form of employment. Thus, the employee will be able to submit, inter alia, a request to change the type of employment contract (e.g. from a fixed-term employment contract to an indefinite-term contract) or to change the working conditions to more stable and predictable ones (e.g. to change the working time to full-time ).

In order to increase flexibility and provide employees with additional rest, the new regulations also introduce additional breaks at work.

When to expect changes?

The changes described above are only a summary of the most important regulations to be introduced by the amendment. However, there are many more new regulations incoming. The act is extensive, and the draft assumes its entry into force 21 days after its publication. This means that employers should now familiarize themselves with the most important assumptions of the new law and prepare for the upcoming changes. It is predicted that the legislator will strive to introduce changes around April 2023, when the changes regarding remote work are also to come into force. Certainly, this year will bring many challenges for employers.

You if want to learn more about employment law in Poland – check our online guide: Employment Law in Poland.

Author team leader DKP Legal Joanna Kowal
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