13.09.2022 Labour law

[Poland] Labour code to be amended – extra breaks for employees

An amendment to the labour law is still being prepared. One of the planned changes is to provide employees with additional breaks during working time. Who may benefit most from these changes?

The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy is working on an amendment to the Labour Code implementing EU directives into Polish labour law. One of the proposed changes concerns breaks included in working time.

Extra breaks at work – draft provisions

The proposed provisions of the Labour Code envisage, among other things, an extension of employees’ existing entitlements regarding breaks included in working time.

Once the changes come into force, employees whose daily working time:

  • exceeds 9 hours – will gain one additional break included in working time of not less than 15 minutes,
  • exceeds 16 hours – will gain two additional breaks included in working time of 15 minutes each.

Thus, under the new regulations, employees working more than 8 hours per day will be entitled to one or two additional 15-minute breaks. Currently, each employee whose daily working time exceeds 6 hours is entitled to one break included in the working time and lasting no less than 15 minutes.

If the proposals come into force, an employee working more than 16 hours a day will be entitled to three breaks of at least 15 minutes each, while two breaks will be granted to an employee working more than 9 hours a day.

Employees working 8 hours a day, that is 40 hours a week, will not gain from the change in legislation, they will still be entitled to a statutory one 15-minute break a day.

New regulations – duty to provide information

In the amendment to the Labour Code, the legislator has provided for the obligation of employers to inform employees of the breaks they are entitled to. Such information is to be provided to the employee in writing within a maximum of 7 days from the date when the employee starts work.

The current legislation is also to be extended by a provision under which training time taken after an employee’s working hours will be counted as working time.

The amendment to the Labour Code, which is being prepared by the Ministry of Labour, is likely to enter into force on 1 January 2023.

That’ so in terms of changes, but the current legislation allows some employees to take other extra breaks. What are they? We explain below.

Explore the service: Working time settlement (RCP System)

Extra breaks – current regulations

Under the current regulations, in certain situations employees may enjoy breaks other than the aforementioned 15-minute statutory break.

Additional breaks include:

  • a 5-minute break for people working at a computer after every 1 hour worked in front of a monitor,
  • a 15-minute break included in working time for employees with disabilities,
  • two 30-minute breaks for women breastfeeding one child,
  • two 45-minute breaks for women breastfeeding more than one child,
  • a maximum 60-minute break not included in working time.

Breaks for women who are breastfeeding may be taken together at the request of an employee. On the other hand, the break for employees with disabilities is provided for exercise or rest and is included in working time. The one-hour break, however, is a break that is not counted as working time and its granting is at the sole discretion of employers.

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