New developments in the Polish labour law: transparent employment conditions, and work-life balance
The spring brings with it a series of changes in the labour law. Apart from remote work, the most relevant and significant developments for HR Departments concern the new regulations dealing with work-life balance and transparent employment conditions. The new provisions implement two EU Directives: Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers, and Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable employment conditions. These provisions will come into force on 26 April 2023. The new “work-life balance” provisions were intended to make it easier for working parents and family caregivers to balance work and family life, as well as to contribute to gender equality with respect to labour market opportunities. Even though the idea behind this is a noble one, it is presently difficult to assess whether these introduced solutions will work in practice and will actually help employees achieve a balance between their private and professional worlds, or whether these new developments will only trigger additional duties and paperwork for HR teams. What does the new law implementing the “Work-Life Balance Directive” give? The most important changes concerning work-life balance include:
- The extension of parental leave: Parental leave will be extended to 41 weeks. The change introduces a non-transferable portion of parental leave for up to nine weeks for each parent. If an employee does not use their entitlement, it will expire.
- Carers’ leave: Employees are granted the opportunity to take unpaid care leave for five days every calendar year in order to take care of a family or household member.
- Flexible work arrangement: The establishment of more flexible work arrangement options for working parents with children under the age of 8. These options include the possibility to request remote work, the possibility to request an individual work schedule, the possibility to request part-time work, the possibility to have the right to refuse overtime work, or the possibility to have the right to refuse being delegated outside the permanent workplace.
- Shorter deadline for using paternity leave: A working father will be entitled to up to 2 weeks’ paternity leave only within first 12 months of the child’s life (instead of the current 24 months).
- Time of work: A new exemption from work has been introduced with the right to maintain 50% of one’s salary on the grounds of force majeure, to be taken in the event of an emergency concerning family matters (two days, or 16 hours per calendar year).
- No possibility of prohibiting an employee from being in an employment relationship with another employer (excluding work for a competitor)
- An extension of the scope of the information concerning the terms and conditions of employment.
- The possibility that, once a year, fixed-term employees who have been employed for at least six months can request a change of their employment contract into an employment contract for an indefinite period of time. The employer has one month to respond and is required to provide reasons if this request is declined.
- Temporary employees who have had their contracts terminated contrary to the provisions of the regulations have been granted a claim for reinstatement if the termination occurred after they had applied for maternity, parental, or paternity leave.
- Employees will be entitled to two additional breaks of at least 15 minutes depending on the number of daily working hours. The second break applies if the employee works for more than nine hours, and the third break occurs if the employee works for more than 16 hours.
- Preparing extended information on working conditions
- Preparing additional information for employees working abroad, or for employees taking foreign business trips
- Updating internal regulations
- Preparing new templates of employment contracts.