Employment Contract in Poland

Attorneys of our Polish Law Firm provide comprehensive services on Employment Law in Poland. In particular we advise and draft Polish employment contracts. Below you might find description and characteristics of employment contracts in Poland. Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact our employment lawyers in Poland: [email protected]

  1. Types of employment contracts in Poland
    1. Employment contract concluded for an indefinite term
    2. Employment contract concluded for a fixed term
    3. Employment contract concluded for the time it takes to complete a specific task
    4. Employment contract concluded to replace an employee
    5. General conditions of concluding an employment contracts in Poland
  2. Contents of the employment contract according to Polish Labour Law
    1. The type of contract
    2. The type of work
    3. The place of performing the work
    4. The remuneration
    5. The length of working time
    6. The date of commencing work
  3. Contact us

​1. Types of employment contracts in Poland

1.a.The employment contract concluded for an indefinite term

This type of employment contract ensures to employee relatively long period of notice, which depends on the job seniority of the workers. Such period can be defined even up to three months if employee works more than three years in the same workplace. The long term of notification period is one of the reasons why employers hardly-ever agreed on concluding an employment contract for an indefinite term at the beginning of cooperation. The second reason is “justified reason” of termination such agreement. The employer shall indicate such reason in notification. Correct and accurate indication of the basis of termination the employment contract is very often difficult for the employers. Sometimes, the termination shall be consulted by an employer with trade unions.

On the other hand, the employment contract concluded for an indefinite term increases the loyalty and devotion for the work of an employee. It is widely know that such type of employment contract is considered as guarantee of stabilisation, especially for young people and employees in preretirement age.

It should be noticed, that in present economical and social situation in Poland, taking into consideration market development and actual trends, many people decide not do bind themselves with one employer by an employment contract for indefinite term because of growth of the specialisation of many professions and the need of flexibility in their professional career.

1.b. Employment contract concluded for a fixed term

The main feature of employment contract concluded for a fixed term is the provision which specify the term of employee employment. This contract is concluded to perform certain tasks during the specified period of time. The contract expires by law with the date indicated in agreement.  Polish Law stipulates that the period of notification is fixed term contracts is relatively short, because as a principle the period of two weeks is commonly applicable. The other difference is that an employer does not have to consult the lay off with the trade union. The termination of fixed term employment contract is not dependent of the “justified reason” as it is applicable in employment contract concluded on indefinite term. This regulation makes that employers more likely conclude such type of employment agreement, but there are also some limitations in such contracts.

The most significant limitation introduced by Polish Employment law is related to the number of  employment contracts for a fixed term is that it can be concluded between the same employee and employer. The third time makes that such contract is converted to an employment contract for indefinite time. The courts also challenge the issue that concerned the period of time on which the contract was concluded.

The Supreme Court in decision of November 21st 2000 stated that the extension of the duration of the second fixed term contract agreement in a situation in which the third contract would led to conversion of such contract into a employment contract concluded for an indefinite term (without the existence of special circumstances justifying such extension) shall be considered as circumvention of the law.

1.c. Employment contract concluded for the time it takes to complete a specific task

The article 25 of Polish Labour Code specify inter alia employment contract concluded for the time of the completion a specific task. This is a variety of fixed-term contract, which is concluded (inter alia) especially in performance of architecture buildings and agricultural works. The main purpose of such type of agreement is that the parties’ will is to conclude employment contract which is limited in time, but the parties cannot precisely define the date of the work performance. The duration of employment contract depends on works performance. The duration of work performance have to be clear and cannot be dependant from an employer. As a rule, that type of contract cannot be terminated.

There is a possibility to conclude that type of employment contract few times, but if it lead to circumvention of the law, such practice shall be considered as concluding the indefinite term employment contract.

This type of contract shall contain the specification of the parties, the type of works, the date of concluding the contract and terms and conditions of remuneration.

The employment contract concluded for the time it takes to complete a specific task can be terminated by mutual agreement of the parties or in case of bankruptcy or liquidation the employer.

The employers willingly employed workers by such type of agreement because it makes them more flexible, but on the other side for the employees, such type of contract is less stable.

1.d. Employment contract concluded to replace an employee 

Polish Employment Law stipulates that this type of contract may be concluded in case on long justified absence of an employee. There are few reasons, which may result in concluding by the employer another employment contract:

  • Maternity leave,
  • Post-maternity leave,
  • Disease,
  • Unpaid leave.

This contract is concluded in order to replace the absent employee by new one. This substitution ends with the day of return of the substituted employee to work. The employer is not bound by specified limitation of concluded substitution contracts with the same employee – in that matter it is different than in other contracts, which have defined date of termination. The third substitution contract does not convert into the indefinite term contract.

In this particular type of contract there is requirement, which has to be fulfil. The substitution contract shall indicate the identity of substituted employee.

The contract can be terminated in two ways:

  • By mutual agreement of the parties;
  • By notification (the period of notification is 3 work days);
  • Without the notification on the employee’s fault;
  • By the date of the contract expiration;
  • On the fault of employer;
  • Without the termination due to reasons not attributable to employee.

1.e. General conditions of concluding an employment contract

According to Polish Employment law the employment contract shall be concluded in writing. Moreover, it shall be signed not later that one day since the employee starts working. Any changes in work terms and conditions also shall be made in writing. If there are any others provision that are not mentioned in Polish labour code, they also shall be made in writing. The employer shall be attached also to the contract certain information concerning the provisions of Polish labour law. The provisions of contract agreement have to be complied with the provisions of polish labour law.

2. Content of an employment contract in Poland

The article 29 of Polish Labour Code states that the employment contract must specify the parties to the contract, the type of contract, the date of conclusion and the work and remuneration terms and conditions, which consist of:

  1. The type of work,
  2. The place of performing the work
  3. The remuneration corresponding to the type of work, with a specification of the remuneration components,
  4. The length of working time,
  5. The date of commencing work.

According to the article 29 of Polish Labour Code an employment contract must be made in writing. In case of an such contract do not meet this requirement, then the employer must – at least on the date when the employee commences work – provide the employee with a written statement of the settlements in relation to the parties to the contract, the type of the contract as well as its conditions.

2.a. The type of contract

The Polish Labour Code distinguishes four types of employment contracts:

  1. Concluded for an indefinite period of time,
  2. Concluded for a definite period of time,
  3. Concluded for the time of specific task.
  4. Concluded for a definite period of time to substitute an employee due to their justified absence from work.

According to the literature, the lack of definition of the type of concluded contract in such documents does not influence its validity. The most important matter in such cases is consistent intent of the parties. As a rule, such types of contracts are considerated as concluded for indefinite period of time, but there are some exceptions e.g. when the occurred circumstances allowed us to assume that the contract was concluded for definite period of time.

2.b. The type of work

The clause, which describes the type of work that has to be performed by an employee, is one of the essentialia negotii of the employment contract. The type of performed work shall be indicate in written or in verbal agreement. It can be assumed that the employee perform certain job e.g. by conducting activities which can be clearly specified, but in the situation that mentioned activities cannot be specified, it shall be assumed that the employment contract does not exist.

2.c. The place of performing the work

The specification of the place of performing the work can be described by details e.g. by precise the specific workplace or by more general description like concluding that it will be seat of the employer. The place of performing work for mobile employees is limited to certain area, which is described in an employment contract. The specificity of the employment agreement in the scope of the place of performing the work is very important to future activities of the employee.

2.d. The remuneration 

The remuneration corresponding to the type of work, with a specification of the remuneration components is left to the parties will, but in cases in which there is an enterprise or
multi-enterprise collective labour agreement or the Remuneration Rules applicable in appropriate workplace, the provisions of employment contract cannot be less favourable than provisions of aforementioned documents. In Poland, the payment of wages is usually performed monthly in fixed amount. There are also other types of payment the remuneration e.g. by hourly fee.

The Ordinance of the Ministry of Labour and Social Politics indicates the minimal wage, which shall be applicable in current year. Presently (2015), the minimal wage in Poland is 1750 PLN.

The remuneration is necessary component of the employment contract. The employee cannot waive the entitlement to remuneration for performed work.

2.e. The length of working time 

The working time is the time that the employee is available to perform certain work. The time, which is needed to prepare to the work e.g. changing clothes, taking the tools from storehouse etc. is also counted as working time. The time, which is needed to access the workplace, is not recognized as a working time.

There are many types of working hours. The basic type of working time is a work day which lasts 8 hours, 5 days per week. The average weekly dimension is 40 hours.

The employer must plan the work time in the way which provide a minimum of 11 hours of uninterrupted rest in each day and a minimum of 35 hours of uninterrupted rest every week. This periods can be shortened if it is necessary due to rescue and neutralization the effects of accident.

2.f. The date of commencing work

The day of commencing work or the day in which the employment contract was concluded are the determinants of the existence of the employment relationship. According to the Polish Labour Code an employment relationship is established on the date specified in the employment contract as the date of commencing work, and if this date is not specified – on the date of the conclusion of the employment contract.

If there is no date of commencing the work in the employment contract, the employment relationship arises in the day of its conclusion, which is considerated as a day in which the parties expressed consistent intention to conclude the employment contract.

If the employee did not begin the work because of justified issue, the employer cannot apply the sanctions. The employer is obliged to allow the employee to undertake work duties as soon as the justified obstacles will be overcome.

3. Contact our Employment Law Firm in Poland

You did not find answer to your questions ? Please feel free to contact our employment lawyers in Poland[email protected]

Expert team leader DKP Legal Alicja Myśluk-Landowska
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