Polish Labour Code in 2023 – a guide to the amendment

Polish Labour Code in 2023 – a guide to the amendment
Jakub Chajdas

Jakub Chajdas

Partner / Attorney-at-law

The first half of 2023 introduced changes in the employment relationship. They aim to ensure high standards of occupational health and safety at work. Moreover, they are a response to the needs of an evolving job market reality. What did the amendment to the Polish Labour Code in 2023 introduce? Find answers in the article below.

Table of Contents

Amendment to the Labour Code in 2023 – introduction

The amendment to the Labour Code in 2023 was introduced by two acts:

1.  The Act of 1 December 2022, introducing

  • sobriety control of employees,
  • remote work

2. The Act of 9 March 2023 implementing two EU directives into Polish law. Their aim is to improve working conditions for employees. 

Sobriety control from 21 February 2023

An employer must not allow an employee to work if the sobriety control confirms:

  • the influence of alcohol,
  • intoxication
  • justified suspicion that the employee came to work after using alcohol or intoxicated
  • the consumption of alcohol by the employee during working hours.

The police perform the control at the request of an employee or an employer. As a rule, the test is performed using a breathalyzer. In cases specified by the law, an employee may be subject also to laboratory tests. An employer must inform an employee about the legal basis upon which he or she is not allowed to work. A negative test result means that the period of being prevented from work qualifies as a justified absence. In such cases an employee preserves the right to remuneration.

For the first time, the basis for checking employees for the presence of substances affecting the perception, other than alcohol, was defined. Their catalogue is closed and defined by a separate legal act. The control is similar to the sobriety test. Yet, there are different methods of taking samples for testing.

Remote work from 7 April 2023

The Act states that remote work is performed at a location specified by the employee and agreed upon with the employer. This also concerns the employee’s place of residence. It is performed particularly by using means of direct distance communication. The employer determines other organizational rules.

Remote work can take the form of:

  • fully remote work,
  • hybrid work.

Its conditions are determined:

  • at the moment of entering into an employment contract,
  • during the term of the employment relationship. A remote work can result from the initiative of either the employer or the employee. There is a possibility of returning to stationary work within a specified period. Yet it cannot be later than 30 days from submitting the request.

The employer’s obligations regarding remote work include:

  • providing the employee with appropriate working conditions. This refers also to providing work equipment. If both parties agree that an employee can use his private equipment, he/she is entitled to a relevant cash equivalent. The OHS standards must be met.
  • training and technical support,
  • ensuring contact with the office,
  • covering costs directly related to remote work. This must result from an agreement, a regulation or OHS requirements.
  • fulfilling OHS obligations,
  • determining occupational risk evaluation.

The legislator has provided three additional options for remote work:

1. Occasional remote work

  • at the employee’s voluntary request,
  • up to 24 days per calendar year.

2. Remote work order during:

  • the state of emergency, epidemic, or epidemical risk. Moreover, it can apply for a period of 3 months after the cancellation of such a state.
  • force majeure events (e.g., fire) that prevent an employer from providing on-site safe and hygienic work conditions.

3. Remote work upon request:

  • applies in the absence of an agreement or regulations on remote work,
  • The Act determines the scope of activities

Find everything you need to know about remote work in this article.

Better working conditions from 26 April 2023

The implementation of two EU directives introduced solutions for transparent and predictable working conditions. They also influenced a work-life balance. These changes refer to:

1. Parental rights

  • 5-day parental leave for care or support of a family member residing in the same household. It relates to children, parents, and spouses. There is no remuneration entitlement.
    • Leave due to force majeure in urgent family matters caused by illness or accident. This applies for a period of 2 days or 16 hours, for which the employee retains the right to half of the remuneration.
    • Flexible working hours for employees raising children up to 8 years old.
    • Changes in parental leave. These concern extension of its duration, ways of using it, and combining it with employment.
    • Shortening the time for taking paternity leave from 24 to 12 months, while keeping its length unchanged.
    • Extension of the period for an employee to agree to overtime, night work, interrupted working time and posting outside the permanent workplace until the child turns 8.
    • Equalization of parental leave, after which the employer must ensure the employee’s return to the current or equivalent job position. Moreover, the employee must have the right to all benefits to which he would be entitled if he did not use the leave. This refers for example to a raise.
    • Increase protection against dismissal when taking parental leave

2. Forms of employment

  • Extension of the employment contract content (employer’s registered office/address),
  • Modification of data in contracts concluded for a trial period or fixed term,
  • Imposing on an employer an information obligation about working conditions and deadlines.
  • The right to extend the trial period of employment due to the employee’s leave or other justified absence (if applicable),
  • Specifying the reasons justifying termination of a fixed-term contract. Also, notifying the company trade union organizations of the intention to terminate it.
  • Providing information about all possible promotions and job vacancies.

3New employee rights

  • Protection against negative consequences (including dismissal), when the employee uses his rights.
  • The right to parallel employment, excluding the non-competition clause and special provisions. This concerns employment contracts and other forms of employment.
  • The right to submit once a year a request to change employment conditions. This may refer to a type of contract or to working hours. The right applies to workers employed for at least 6 months. The contracts for a trial period are excluded. The employer has an obligation to respond to each request.
    • Organization and financing of necessary training and courses. An employer shall count the courses taken outside working hours as working time.
    • Additional breaks during work, counted as working time, for which the employee is entitled to remuneration.
  • Increased protection against dismissal.

Amendment to the Labour Code in 2023 – summary

The solutions introduced by the amendment to the Labour Code in 2023 change the reality of employment. They improve job security. Moreover, they promote professional activity through a range of parents-oriented solutions.

Do you find the above article interesting? Perhaps you want to know more about changes in the Polish Labour Code in 2023? Contact us today. Our experts are at your disposal.

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