Following our April 2017 update, the employment reforms in Poland continue to progress. The key changes now in effect or with set implementation dates include:
- New regulations on fixed-term contracts: Under Polish law, the length of a fixed-term contract, as well as the total length of consecutive fixed-term contracts, cannot exceed 33 months. Moreover, only three fixed-term contracts are permitted. From 1 June 2017, this will not apply to pregnant employees whose contracts are extended due to their pregnancy,
- The introduction of a new regulation governing risk management and remuneration policies in banks. The main purpose of the new regulation is to specify the basic principles for introducing remuneration policies in banks and to regulate the principles for granting variable pay and fixed pay. The new provisions restrict a bank's ability to provide key employees with unlimited benefits.
- The introduction of a new list of jobs that are detrimental to women's health, which include jobs that are prohibited for pregnant and breast-feeding employees. The regulation including this new list came into effect on 1 May 2017 and requires employers to amend their workplace regulations.
- Key amendments to the Act on the Employment of Temporary Agency Workers came into force on 1 June 2017. The amendments impose new duties on temporary agencies and employer end-users, including the obligation to keep records of individuals employed under employment and civil law agreements. Additionally, any fixed-term employment contract with a pregnant woman that would terminate after the third month of pregnancy must be extended until the delivery date.
- Reinstatement of the previous retirement ages of 60 for women and 65 for men. The new law will come into force on 1 October 2017.
In addition to changes that have already come into effect, the Polish parliament is currently working on new legislation that will introduce a number of amendments to employment law, including:
- The opportunity to keep all employment-related documents in electronic form: Legislative amendments will make it possible to conclude employment contracts, provide employees with key documents such as termination notices, and keep employees' personal files in electronic form. Any employer that uses this option will be obliged to provide employees with their personal files in writing after making an electronic copy of them.
- The obligation to pay remuneration into a bank account specified by the employee. Under current provisions, an employer is obliged to pay remuneration personally unless a collective bargaining agreement or the workplace regulations provide otherwise or unless an employee consents to a different method of payment. The planned change is reflection of market reality, i.e. almost everybody receives remuneration into a bank account.
- The introduction of obligatory pension schemes which will provide an additional element of financial protection for pensioners.
- New provisions guaranteeing that whistleblowers can anonymously inform the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection about practices which restrict competition in the market without risking reprisal.