In 2016, new rules will be introduced to the Polish labour code on fixed-term employment contracts, some of them revolutionary. Key changes involve the following:
- Time limit of fixed-term contracts: The total duration of all fixed-term contracts signed with the same employee will be limited to 33 months (before - unlimited). For existing contracts the 33-month period will be calculated from the date on which the new rules came into force.
- Objective reason as a gate: An employer can hire a worker for a fixed period exceeding 33 months only if it has objective reasons and those reasons are spelled out in the contract. This also concerns contracts already in force. No guidelines have been given on whatobjective reason can be at play here. This will be a grey area for some time.
- Maximum three contracts instead of two: An employer can sign a maximum of three (and no longer two) consecutive fixed-term contracts with one employee, irrespective of the gap between the contracts. Existing contracts will be deemed as the first one in the succession.
- Extended notice periods: An employer will be able to terminate any fixed-term contract witha notice period of 2 weeks, 1 month or 3 months, depending on an employee’s length of service with the employer. Previously only 2 weeks’ notice period applied. A justified reason for termination will not be required. The new rules will apply to existing contracts, unless the contract has been concluded for less than 6 months or does not provide for an early exit clause.