The following amendments to the Polish Labour Code came into force on 23 August 2013:
- Introduction of flexible working hours: the amended Polish Labour Code expressly provides for the possibility of employees starting work at various times on individual days, in which case commencing work during the same “employment day” (i.e., before the end of the 24-hour period after work began the preceding day) would not be classed as overtime, as was previously the case.
- Extension of the reference period from four to twelve months: the amended Polish Labour Code provides for the possibility to extend the “employment” reference period from four months to twelve months.
- Introduction of an interrupted working time system in the workplace: under the interrupted working time system, an employee may take no more than one break of up to five hours during the working day. This break does not form part of the employee’s daily working hours. Previously, this interrupted working time system could only be introduced on the basis of a collective bargaining agreement (save for a few exceptions). Under the amended Polish Labour Code, it will now be possible to implement the interrupted working time system under an agreement with a trade union or employee representative.
- Family friendly rights: parents of children born in 2013 will now be entitled to 12 months’ paid parental leave. The amended Polish Labour Code extends a parent’s right to paid parental leave after childbirth from six to twelve months. This was achieved by extending additional maternity leave from four to six weeks and introducing new parental leave (of up to 26 weeks) so that parents can share the parental leave between themselves. The amended Polish Labour Code also introduces changes to parental leave allowance which will vary from 60% to 100% of a parent’s salary depending on the duration of the parental leave in question. These new regulations aim to combine working life and family life. For example, a parent will now be able to request to work no more than half of the time assigned for a full-time job in exchange for an allowance equal to 50% of his or her salary.