Recent legislation has amended the Labour Codes, most notably regarding fixed term employment, post-termination restrictions and parental leave.

New rules on definite period (ie fixed term) employment contracts and other Labour Code amendments will come into force on 22 February 2016

Amongst various changes,  amendments to the Labour Code will limit the permissible forms of employment contract to three: those for an indefinite period, those for a definite period and those for a probationary period. 

The new rules will also limit to three, the number of contracts for a definite period that can be concluded with the same employee over a combined period of 33 months. Exceeding these limits will result in the employee being deemed a permanent employee. However, there will be four possible exceptions from this “3/33” rule, one of which will require notifying the regional labour inspector. The purpose or circumstances justifying use of the exception will have to be stated in the employment contract.

Concluding more than one probationary period employment contract with the same employee, e.g. when the employee will perform other type of work, will be allowed. 

A further amendment will introduce uniform notice periods for the termination of definite and indefinite contracts,  including the possibility of early termination of a definite period contract upon notice, regardless of the period for which it is concluded. 

The amendment also introduces “garden leave” to the Polish Labour Code, allowing employers to release employees from the obligation to perform work during a notice period, whilst retaining right to remuneration. 

Changes to leave entitlements for parents from 2 January 2016

Amendments to the Labour Code, concerning the rights of working parents, are designed to make it easier for employees to balance their professional careers with raising children. 

Following the changes, the mother of a child will be able to share her maternity leave entitlement with the child’s father, where he is employed but, in certain instances, also with the father or other family members who are not in work, if they have social insurance cover and have interrupted their employment to care for the child. 

Additional maternity leave entitlement of the mother will be included in the length of such parental leave, which may last 32 or 34 weeks (depending on where there are multiple births). It will be generally taken immediately following maternity leave, but it will be possible to take 16 weeks of parental leave later, until the child reaches age6. Leave taken in blocks in this manner will reduce the number of periods of available upbringing leave. 

During the period of parental leave, the employee will be subject to protection against dismissal. There are analogous changes for adoptive parents. Furthermore, for parents working on  a part-time basis, the length of parental leave will be extended pro rata (up to a maximum of 64 or 68 weeks).

Separate provision for parents allows an employed father  to take two weeks’ paternity leave until the child reaches age 2, whether as consecutive or separate weeks.