10.01.2017 Labour law

[Poland] Changes in Labour Code

On 1 January 2017, the law amending certain other laws to improve legal environment for businesses of 16 December 2016 came into force (Dz.U.2016.2255 of 30 December 2016). The changes aim at relieving small enterprises with no more than 50 employees of some legal obligations. Further changes affect: rules for issuing work certificates after termination of fixed-term contracts (when employee continues work for the same employer), an obligation to conclude written agreement with respect to joint financial liability of employees under the sanction of nullity. In addition, time limits for appealing to labour court were unified.

Internal regulations

Under the old legal regime, an employer with 20 or more employees was obliged to adopt in its employment establishment the work regulations, remuneration regulations and employee social benefit fund (ZFŚS) regulations.

According to the new law – employers with up to 50 employees adopt remuneration regulations and work regulations and create an employee social benefit fund on their own initiative, however, employers that employ from 20 to 50 employees who are not covered by an enterprise collective labour agreement or a multi-enterprise collective labour agreement, determine the conditions for remuneration for work in the remuneration regulations, introduce work regulations and create the fund, provided that an enterprise trade union requests that the same be determined, introduced or created.

Work certificates

Given the significant burden on the employers that had to issue work certificates for terminated fixed-term employment periods, the provisions of the labour code regulating the work certificates have been amended.

The wording of the new provision is as follows:

Upon the termination or expiry of an employment relationship, the employer is obliged to issue forthwith a work certificate to the employee immediately providing the employer has no intention to enter into another employment relationship with that employee within 7 days of the termination or expiry of the last employment. The work certificate must cover a period or periods of employment with relation to which no work certificate has been issued. If another employment is entered into between the employer and employee within 7 days of the termination or expiry of the employment relationship, the employer is obliged to issue the work certificate only upon application of the employee submitted in written or electronic form.

The employer is obliged to issue a work certificate within 7 days of the day of filing a written application by an employee.

Agreement on joint financial liability of employees

In accordance with the previous wording of the labour code, an agreement entrusting the property to employees constitutes an agreement on joint financial liability which must be concluded in writing between the employees and the employer. The amendment introduced an additional provision according to which such agreement must be concluded in writing under the sanction of nullity.

Extension of time limits for appeal

Until 31 December 2016, time limits for an appeal to labour court were as follows: 7 days for an appeal against notice of termination of employment and 14 days for an appeal against termination of employment without notice as well as in cases for reinstatement of employment.

The amendment to the labour code introduced changes that extend and unify time limits for an appeal to labour court. Now, there is only one 21-day period for all of the above appeals.

This bulletin has been prepared to provide Contract Administration clients with general information on employment issues and is not intended to be relied upon as professional advice. Please refer to your advisor for formal advice before taking any decision or action with respect to information contained herein. 

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