This article is a short overview of the most significant changes to employment law that took place in Poland in 2017.

By: Katarzyna Dobkowska, Marcin Sanetra

Firm: Raczkowski Paruch

1. Monthly minimum wage raised and night allowance changed (from 1 January 2017)

In January 2017 the monthly minimum wage became PLN 2,000 gross, including additional associated benefits (e.g. an increased allowance for night work and an increase to statutory severance pay). This applies to all employees, including in their first year of working. This is a change from the way it used to be, in that first-timers were only previously required to be paid 80% of the minimum wage.

The allowance for work at night is no longer included in calculating an employee's minimum remuneration. The lowest paid employees working at night must now receive this allowance in addition to the minimum wage.

2. Hourly minimum wage introduced into service agreements (from 1 January 2017)

In civil law contracts including service agreements between companies and individuals, companies must now:

  • pay a gross minimum wage of PLN 13 for every hour of services provided by the contractor in 2017;
  • pay the contractor at least once a month if the agreement is for longer than one month; and
  • either confirm the hours for which the contractor provided services or pay for hours based solely on the provider’s declaration.

Paying less than the new hourly minimum wage risks a fine of PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000.

3. Retirement ages changed (from 1 October 2017)

Women’s retirement age is now 60 years (instead of 65) and men’s is now 65 years.

4. Higher threshold for setting up pay rules and work rules (from 1 January 2017)

Employers not covered by collective bargaining agreements only need to set out their pay and work rules if they employ 50 or more employees (previously 20). Employers with 20-49 employees need to do so only if a trade union asks them to. These rules apply to pay rules (regulamin wynagradzania) and work rules (regulamin pracy).

5. Longer to appeal to employment court (from 1 January 2017)

In 2017 employees were able to appeal termination for up to:

  • 21 days for termination with notice; and
  • 21 days for immediate termination.

6. Restricting temporary workers (from 1 June 2017)

Employers may now not use temporary workers for longer than 18 months by changing the hiring employment agency (which had been common practice).

Employers must now also keep employment records for all temporary workers.

7. Work certificates for repeat relationships

Employers no longer need to issue a separate work certificate when they sign an employment contract with the same person within seven days of the previous employment relationship ending. Instead, an employer must now issue a collective work certificate at the end of employment. This is more convenient for companies employing employees for consecutive fixed terms.

Work certificates must now include information on the employee’s protection connected with parenthood. This includes the right for employees to have child-care leave (until the end of the year in which a child reaches six); to apply for reduced hours (with protection against dismissal for reasons attributable to the employee for 12 months); and to have part of the paid paternal leave (of which 16 weeks must be used directly after the maternity leave of 20 weeks and another 16 weeks can be used by the end of the year in which the child reaches six).

8. All employers to use electronic medical certificates (from 1 January 2017)

E-certificates give employers faster access to employees’ medical status.

All employers must now access electronic doctors’ certificates issued to their employees, through the Electronic Services Platform of the Social Security Office (where employers must create an individual account).

Doctors may for now still choose to issue traditional, paper certificates, but after 1 June 2018 they will have to issue only e-certificates.

9. Visa-free entry for Ukrainians (from 11 June 2017)

Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports may now legally enter the territory of Poland (and other Schengen countries) for up to 90 days during a 180-day period without needing a visa. This makes employing Ukrainians even more popular for Polish entrepreneurs