Employment law in Poland. General information

Employment law in Poland. General information
Jakub Chajdas

Jakub Chajdas

Partner / Attorney-at-law

This article offers a detailed examination of employment law in Poland, presenting a clear and professional overview tailored for individuals and businesses alike.

It focuses on the legal foundations, employment contracts, and the rights and responsibilities that define the employer-employee relationship in the Polish context. Through this analysis, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the essential aspects of Polish labour law, including its sources, the various types of employment contracts, and the specific protections and obligations these contracts entail.

The article is designed to be an informative resource for those seeking to understand or engage with Poland’s employment legal framework.

Employment law in Poland

Employment law in Poland – key points

SectionKey Points
IntroductionPolish labour law provides comprehensive protection under employment contracts.
Legal BasisSources include the Labour Code, acts on labor inspection and redundancy, collective agreements.
Employment ContractMust include employee/employer details, contract type, and work/pay conditions.
Types of ContractsProbation period, defined period, and permanent contracts.
Working and Pay ConditionsIncludes place of work, working hours, kind of work, and remuneration details.
Direction of the EmployerEmployer’s right to command; employee’s obligation to follow.
Disciplinary LiabilityIncludes admonition, reprimand, financial penalties.
Basic Duties of EmployeesRespect working hours, regulations, confidentiality, and workplace welfare.
Termination of Employment ContractCan be without notice (for serious violations), with notice, or by mutual agreement.
Benefits of Employment RelationshipVacation leave, leave on demand, health leave, unpaid leave, state-mandated insurances.
Occupational Safety and HealthMandatory health and safety conditions; special provisions for workplaces with over 100 employees.
SummaryEmployment contracts offer stability and protections for employees and employers.
Employment law in Poland – key points

Employment law in Poland. Introduction

Polish labour law provides a robust legal framework that safeguards the rights and interests of employees. While there are various types of work contracts in Poland, only an employment contract offers full protection under the country’s labour laws. In this article, we delve into the essential regulations that establish the fundamental rules governing the relationship between employees and employers, shedding light on the legal basis and key provisions of Polish labour law.

There are many basis under which work can be performed in Poland, various including civil contracts, B2B contracts. But only conducting work under contract of employment gives employee full protection of Polish labour law. Bellow I will show case most important regulations setting basics rules of relationship between employee and employer.

Sources of Polish Labour Law

Before we can begin discussion on provisions of Polish labour law, it is important to understand what are its sources. In contradiction to most of Polish law branches, Polish labour law can originate from state and employer or  from cooperation of employer and trade union.

Polish Labour law acts originating from the stat are publicly binding and includes:

  • The Labour Code of 26 June 1974;
  • Act on National Labour Inspectorate;
  • Act on special rules for termination of employment relationships with employees for reasons not related to employees (also known as Act on collective redundancies)
  • Act on minimum renumeration for work and other acts regarding rights and obligations of parties of employment relationship.
  • collective labour agreements and other collective agreements based on the law, regulations and statutes determining the rights and obligations of the parties to the employment relationship.

Intra-company acts are also source of Polish labour law but are not publicly binding. They are only binding on the employer and his employees :

  • Workplace regulation;
  • Wage regulation;
  • Other internal legal acts. 

Employment law in Poland. Employment contract

Employment law in Poland. Definition of employment contract

It’s a contract in which employee obligates to perform work for benefit of the employer and under his direction, at place and time designated by his and employer obligates to pay renumeration for the work performed.

Every employment contract has to include:

  1. indication of employee and employer;
  2. indication of type of contract;
  3. date of conclusion of the contract;
  4. working and pay conditions.

Every contract and agreement have to indicate parties between it was concluded.

Employment law in Poland. Types of employment contracts in Poland

There are 3 types of employment contract in Polish labour law:

  1. probation period employment contract – probation period can only last up to 3 months and cannot be included in any other employment contract.
  2. Define period contract – only 3 such contracts might be concluded with single employee and only for period no longer than 33 months. After termination of 3rd define period contract or end of 33rd month of work on basis of such a contract, an employee must be offered permanent employment contract)
  3. Permanent employment contract – is concluded for indefinite period of time.

Type of contract can be define in title of the contract or in its content. If parties have not stipulated type of contract it is considered to be concluded for indefinite period.

Date of conclusion of the contract is self-explanatory. It’s always better to include this date in employment contract as it can turn out to be useful to define moment of establishment of work relationship.

Employment law in Poland. Working and pay conditions

Contract of employment must include following condition of work and payment:

  • Place of work – work can but doesn’t have to be performed in registered office of employer. Employee can work where ever it is accepted by his superiors. Remote work, better known as Home Office wasn’t regulated until 7th April, before this day condition of Home office was freely agreed on by parties of the contract. Now the Labour Code sets out the principles of remote work. You can learn more on that topic further in this article.
  • Working hours – the standard working time under Labour code is 8 hours a day, 5 days in the week, 40 hours in week. Legislator gives parties of employment contract limited freedom of exceeding this limits.
  • Kind of work – most of the times kind of work will be define by name of position in which the employee will work. It can also be defined by description of activities.
  • Renumeration for work – renumeration can and in most cases is paid monthly but it can be paid weekly and even daily. It can be defined with basic month rate or hourly rate. Renumeration should be determinate precisely and understandable. In case when there are intra-company regulations on conditions of payment employment contract can refer to that regulation. Lack of provision regulating enumeration does not render contract null and void. In that case renumeration is determined of the basis of intra-company regulations and in the absence thereof, on basis of a generally applicable provision. The amount of remuneration shall be adequate to the work performed and cannot be less than minimal payment. Minimal wage is determined by the government, as of the day of this article it amounts 3490PLN per month and 22,80 PLN per hour.

Employment law in Poland. Direction of the employer in Polish labour law

The economic and organizational risk of employment is always borne by the employer. For this reason, among others, the employees performs work under employer direction. But what “under direction” exactly means?

Employer is entitled to command employee and employee is obliged to follow. This commands can regard performing work as well as organizational issues.

In case of breach of employees obligation they can be subjected to disciplinary liability. Disciplinary punishments and procedure of imposition of this punishments are regulated in Labour Code.

Employment law in Poland. Disciplinary liability of the employee

There are following disciplinary punishments in Polish labour law:

  1. Admonition
  2. Reprimand
  3. Financial penalty

Employer cannot subject an employee to any other punishments than listed in Labour Code.

The employer must notify the employee in writing of the application of the penalty, indicating the nature of the breach of the employee’s duties and the date on which the breach was committed, in addition to that employer must inform employee on the right to loge an appeal agonist application of penalty. If employer does not accept the appeal, employ has a right to apply to the labour court to revoke the penalty.  

Employment law in Poland. Basic duties of employee in Polish labour law

Disciplinary procedure can be instigated when employee fail to fulfill his basic duties which are:

  1. respect the working hours established in the workplace;
  2. respect the work regulations and the order established in the workplace;
  3. respect health and safety and fire regulations and rules;
  4. look after the welfare of the workplace;
  5. protect workplace property;
  6. keep confidential information the disclosure of which could expose the employer to damage;
  7. respect the secrecy specified in separate regulations;
  8. respect the principles of social coexistence in the workplace.

Employment law in Poland. Termination of employment contract in Polish labour law

a) Termination without notice

In case of serious validation of one or more of aforementioned duties the contract of employment can be terminated without notice resulting in immediate termination of employment. Such a termination can be applied only in 3 cases in mentioned serious infringement of employees duties, employee loses permit required to perform employment related duties and employee commits an offense, which makes further employment impossible, and if the offense is obvious or has been confirmed in the final court ruling.

b) Termination with notice period.

In other scenarios the contract of employment can be terminated with notice period by each party. Notice periods are defined in Polish labour code as follow:

  • notice period of 2 week – employees with job tenure below 6 months;
  • notice period of 1 month – employees with tenure exceeding 6 months;
  • Notice period of 3 month – employees with job tenure exceeding 3 years.

Above periods cannot be shortened by parties in contract, but can be lengthen.

c) Mutual termination agreement

Parties of employment relationship can terminate their contract by mutual termination agreement. With this way of termination employee and employer can freely determinate their conditions of termination.

Be up-to-date and know about the most important changes in labour law. All you need to know you’ll find in our article related to changes in Polish Labour Code in 2023

Benefits of employment relationship in employment law in Poland

Employment law in Poland. Vacation leave

Under employment law in Poland employee is entitled to Vacation leave in amount of 20 or 26 days a year. This amount is linked to work seniority which is calculated on basis how long given employee has worked in general without regard where or for whom work was performed. University diplomas add to work seniority. It is important to note that the holyday leave is guaranteed in Polish Labour Code for that reason it cannot be shorten than in code’s provisions and employee cannot resign  from his right to holiday leave.

Employment law in Poland. Leave on demand in Polish labour law

This 20 or 26 days includes 4 days of leave on demand. This means employee can use 4 days of leave without consulting this with employee or applying for the leave.

Employment law in Poland. Health leave in Polish labour law

Beside basic holyday leave, employees are entitled to other leaves linked to parenthood, pregnancy period and training.

During all above mentioned leaves employee is paid full or partial salary.

Employment law in Poland. Unpaid leave

In addition to that Polish Labour Code provides unpaid leave. Unpaid leave is suspension of employment. Employer can grant employee unpaid leave for any purpose due to any reason. Duration of unpaid leave is not define in Labour Code because of this it can be freely agreed upon by the parties of  employment relationship. It is important to note, that period of unpaid leave is not counted into work seniority and is treated more like a brake in employment relationship than leave.

Employment law in Poland. State mandated insurances

Other employees benefits that are guaranteed by employment law in Poland are following insurances:

  1.  Health care insurance
  2. Sickness insurance
  3. Accident insurance
  4. Disability insurance
  5. Retirement insurance

All of above are mandatory and are collectively called Social security insurance”

For that reasons contract of employment is most common form of provision of work. Giving the employee stability of renumeration and social security. Contributions for this insurances are calculated and remitted by the employer from employee salary monthly.

Employment law in Poland. Occupational Safety and Health

Above all that employees are entitled to occupational health and safety in workplace. As earlier mentioned this is right and obligation. Employee is entitled to work in safe condition but one is obliged to comply with OHS regulation.

It is mandatory for employers with more than 100 employees to create a OHS service. If the employee employs less than 100 people, he can delegate some of employees to perform the duties of OHS service.

Last but not least employees are entitled to medical examinations both initial and periodical ones.

Employment law in Poland. Summary

Stability of contract of employment is one of its main advantage but not the only one. Employees performing work on basis of employment contract are entitled for example to paid holyday leave, sick leave and additional renumeration for overtime hours.

Employers are also protected by labour law, giving them stable and clear rules of cooperation with theirs employees. In addition employees performing work on basis of employment contract are far less frequently point of interest of National Labour Inspection.

FAQ on employment law in Poland

What types of work contracts exist in Polish labor law?

Polish labor law recognizes various types of work contracts, including civil contracts, B2B contracts, and employment contracts, with employment contracts offering full protection under the law.

What are the main sources of Employment law in Poland?

Key sources include the Labour Code of 1974, the Act on National Labour Inspectorate, collective labor agreements, and other legal acts and intra-company regulations.

What are the essential elements of an employment contract in Poland?

An employment contract must include the identification of both parties, contract type, date of conclusion, and specific working and pay conditions.

What are the different types of employment contracts available?

There are three main types: probation period contract (up to 3 months), defined period contract (maximum of 33 months), and permanent employment contract.

How are working hours and remuneration defined in Polish employment contracts?

The standard working time is 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week, with remuneration details including payment terms and rates, which must be clearly stated.

What constitutes ‘direction of the employer’ in Polish labor law?

It refers to the employer’s right to command and the employee’s obligation to comply, covering work performance and organizational aspects.

What disciplinary actions are permissible under Polish labor law?

Disciplinary actions include admonition, reprimand, and financial penalties, with procedures and limits defined in the Labour Code.

What are the basic duties of an employee under Polish labor law?

These include respecting working hours, workplace regulations, health and safety rules, maintaining confidentiality, and protecting workplace property.

How can an employment contract be terminated in Poland?

Termination methods include without notice (for serious violations), with notice periods defined by job tenure, or through mutual agreement.

What are the key benefits and leaves entitled to employees?

Employees are entitled to vacation leave (20 or 26 days), leave on demand, health-related leaves, unpaid leave, and various insurances (health care, sickness, accident, disability, retirement).

What are the obligations for Occupational Safety and Health in Poland?

Employers are required to ensure safe working conditions, with specific obligations for workplaces with more than 100 employees, including the creation of an OHS service.

What advantages do employment contracts offer in Poland?

They provide stability, rights to various leaves and insurances, and protect both employees and employers under clear legal frameworks.

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