A recent decision of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal will require that employers provide additional time off if a statutory holiday falls on a Saturday or other day off (excluding Sundays). All companies doing business in Poland should review and amend their workplace regulations accordingly to bring them into compliance.

The Constitutional Tribunal reviewed the Labour Code (LC) rules on statutory holidays. Pursuant to the LC, if a statutory holiday fell on Saturday (or on any other day off for a particular employee, excluding Sundays), employees were not entitled to receive an additional day off (Article 130 § 21 of LC).

On 2 October 2012, the Constitutional Tribunal decided that Article 130 § 21 of LC groundlessly differentiates the number of days off to which an employee may be entitled and, therefore, is contrary to Article 32 paragraph 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, which guarantees equal treatment under the law (case No. K 27/11). As the Constitutional Tribunal did not postpone the voiding of Article 130 § 21 of LC, it ceased to be binding as of 8 October 2012 (upon publication of the decision in the Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland).

Therefore, as of 8 October 2012, employees regained an entitlement to an additional day off, during a particular settlement period, when a statutory holiday falls on Saturday (or on any other day off for a particular employee, excluding Sundays).Currently, if employers do not grant an additional day off to an employee in a particular settlement period when a statutory holiday falls on Saturday (or on any other day off for a particular employee, excluding Sundays), the employee has the right to claim for overtime.

Fortunately, this change will be of limited importance (for the majority of employees for whom Saturday is a day off in an average five-day working week) in both 2012 and 2013 as no statutory holiday falls on a Saturday during these years. However, it may be of significance to employees who work on Saturdays and for whom any other day from Monday and Friday is a day off.

Nevertheless, we recommend that employers review their workplace regulations immediately and make appropriate amendments to bring them into legal compliance. If a company’s workplace regulations state that employees are not entitled to an additional day off when a statutory holiday falls on Saturday (or on any other day off for a particular employee, excluding Sundays), this provision will be deemed to be legally invalid and should be amended.