New rules on medical certificates and confirming employment terms

The Polish Parliament is working on detailed obligations for employers to confirm terms of employment before admitting employees to work. Also, new rules digitalising medical certificates came into force on 1 January 2016.

Projected changes to rules regarding confirming terms of employment

On 13 May 2016, the Polish Parliament passed an Act amending rules of the Labour Code regarding the obligation to confirm employment conditions in writing.

Currently, if an employment contract is not concluded in written form, the employer is obliged to confirm the rules of employment to the employee no later than on the first day of work.

Proposed changes amend this rule, obliging the employer to confirm the terms of employment in writing before admitting the employee to work. The amendment introduces a petty offence fine for not confirming the terms of employment within the set deadline.

The Act also envisages an obligation on the employer to familiarise the employee with workplace regulations before admitting them to work. The employer must also provide any juvenile employees with the list of light duties they are permitted to perform, before they start work.

The changes determine the exact deadline for confirming terms of employment and familiarising employees with internal regulations, which will prevent situations arising of employees starting work without necessary documents. It will also facilitate labour inspection controls aimed at identifying cases of illegal employment.

After completion of the legislative process, the changes are expected to come into force on 1 September 2016.

New rules for medical certificates of employees

Since 1 January 2016, employers have been able to get immediate access to medical certificates of incapacity for work issued for their employees in electronic form via an online platform – Electronic Services Platform of Social Insurance Institution or “PUE” for short. This solution releases employees from the obligation to provide their employers with medical certificates of incapacity for work within seven days from the date of issue, under threat of a reduction in sickness benefits for non-compliance.

In order to use the new system, employers employing more than 5 employees had until 31 December 2015 to create a PUE profile . Others - if they had decided not to create PUE profile – have had to inform their employees about the obligation to deliver printed medical certificates of incapacity for work. New employers must fulfil these obligations when they start their activity.

Even where an employer is using the PUE system, an employee will have to submit a printed medical certificate of incapacity for work if, due to technical problems, a doctor is unable to issue an electronic certificate on PUE. In those circumstances there is no seven day deadline to deliver the certificate. In addition, despite the existence of the PUE, transitional provisions allow doctors to issue medical certificates of incapacity for work on a traditional paper form - ZUS ZLA - until the end of 2017. These certificates should be delivered to an employer within seven days, failing which sickness benefits can be reduced.