Scheduled military exercises

According to press releases and the legislative agenda (draft number RD637), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to issue a resolution that set limits on the call-up of persons for active military service. Specifically, it is planned to call up as many as up to 200,000 people from what is known as the ‘reserve’ for military exercises. Appointments for military exercises from the reserve may apply to persons aged 18-55 (with some exceptions), including those who have had nothing to do with military service but received a military qualification (i.a., the majority of males in Polish society).

Who can be called up?

As explained by the MoD, the limit of 200,000 people is only an upper limit. In practice, the MoD has announced that only several thousand people will be called up for military exercises. Also, out of this group, the call-ups are mostly to be for people who have prior military experience, to refresh their knowledge and familiarise themselves with new equipment and combat methods. For people without such experience, the call-ups are to be for only a small group of people.

According to the MoD, out of the group without prior military experience, those called up for the exercises will mainly be specialists in fields relevant to national defence, such as IT specialists, mechanics, drivers and logistics specialists. Although, formally, the exercises may last up to 90 days, as regards individuals without prior military experience, the MoD has declared that in fact the call-ups will concern only two-day exercises organised over weekends. The MoD also referred to cases reported by the media of such people being called up for exercises lasting up to 30 days, explaining that these will be corrected.

In summary, if further action by the MoD is in line with these announcements, the military exercises should only affect a small number of people out of the group without prior military experience, should only last for a weekend, and should not destabilise people’s personal or professional lives. However, there is a greater, although further limited, likelihood of being called up for exercises, including longer than just weekend exercises, for employees with previous military experience.

However, a precautionary employer should take into account that in the changing geopolitical conditions these plans may be altered further. In addition, similar plans in future years may lead to a broader involvement of employees in military exercises to prepare them for national defence. The rules of military conscription, which have existed for years, are no longer an anachronism and could potentially be relevant in certain industries.

Contigency plan

An employer, especially one from the industries mentioned above, should prepare a contingency plan, i.e., as far as possible, it should develop procedures to fulfil the legal obligations related to the call-up of employees for military exercises and at the same time to maintain the continuity of its business operations (at least partially), even in the case of exercises lasting for weeks. This is because the employer is obliged to grant unpaid leave to the employee called-up for compulsory military exercises, and in the case of persons employed under contracts other than employment contracts, being called-up will constitute grounds to not provide services during the exercises.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further information on these topics. Our Employment team constantly monitors legislative developments and announcements from the MoD and would be pleased to prepare some practical solutions to meet your business requirements.


  • Bird & Bird

    Bird & Bird LLP is an international law firm which supports organisations being changed by the digital world or those leading that change. We combine exceptional legal expertise with deep industry knowledge and refreshingly creative thinking, to help clients achieve their commercial goals. We have over 1450 lawyers in 32 offices across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa, as well as close ties with firms in other parts of the world. If you want to find out more, ,