5.04.2023 Labour law

From April 26, changes in leaves and much more. The second amendment to the Labour Code in the Journal of Laws

On 26 April 2023, the Act of 9 March 2023, amending the Labour Code and certain other acts, enters into force. It introduces, inter alia, new entitlements for employees, including additional leave for parents and caregivers, and changes the rules for concluding employment contracts, including contracts for a trial period.

The pro-parental and pro-employee amendment to the Labour Code was published in the Journal of Laws on April 4, 2023, which means that the new regulations come into force on April 26, 2023.

There are many changes, including additional leaves and breaks at work, changes in parental leave, new solutions in concluding employment contracts and an extended scope of information provided to employees. Below we present a summary of the most important solutions that will come into force due to the discussed amendment.

New leaves and flexible work organization for parents

On 26 April 2023, two new types of leave will enter the Labour Code:

  • Unpaid caregiver’s leave of 5 days in a calendar year for an employee to provide care or support to a person who is a family member (son, daughter, mother, father or spouse), or lives in the same household, who requires care or support for serious medical reasons. In order to use the leave, the employee will submit an appropriate application in paper or electronic form no later than one day before the start the leave. The application will include the name of the person who needs care or support;
  • Leave of absence of 2 days or 16 hours in a calendar year while retaining the right to 50% of the remuneration calculated in the same way as remuneration for the period of annual leave. Force majeure leave will be granted for urgent family matters such as illness or accident, if the employee’s immediate presence is required.

Moreover, an employee-parent of a child under the age of 8 will be able to apply for flexible working time organisation. The request for flexible working time organization will apply for example to remote work, hybrid work or reduced working hours. The application will have to be submitted no later than 21 days before the planned start of taking benefit form the flexible work time organization.

The employer will consider the employee’s request, taking into account his/her needs, including the date and reason for the need to use flexible work organization, as well as the needs and possibilities of the employer, including the need to ensure the normal course of work, work organization or type of work performed by the employee. The employer will inform the employee about the acceptance of the request or the reason for the refusal to accept the request or about a different possible date for applying flexible work organization than the one indicated in the request in paper or electronic form within 7 days from the date of receipt of the request.

Additional breaks from work and changes to parental leave

The amendment to the Labour Code also introduces two additional breaks included in working time :

  • a second break lasting at least 15 minutes, if the employee’s daily working time is longer than 9 hours,
  • a third break lasting at least 15 minutes, if the employee’s daily working time is longer than 16 hours.

In addition, the amendment provides for changes in parental leave:

  • non-transferable part of parental leave of up to 9 weeks for each parent;
  • as a general rule, the monthly maternity allowance for the whole period of parental leave for both parents will amount to 70% of the basis of calculation, subject to exceptions indicated in the Act;
  • making the right to parental leave independent of the child’s mother being employed (insured) on the day of childbirth, which means that the child’s father will have the right to parental leave even if the child’s mother was not employed/insured on the day of childbirth (sickness insurance).

Changes in contracts for the benefits of employees

On 26 April 2023, there will also come into force the provisions allowing an employee who has worked for a given employer for at least 6 months to apply for a change of the type of contract to an employment contract for an indefinite period or for more predictable and safe working conditions. The employer will have to respond to such a request, and if the employee’s request is not accepted, the employer will have to justify his/her decision.

Further new solutions for contracts provide that:

  • re-concluding a contract of employment for a trial period with the same employee will be possible only in the case of performing a different type of work than before,
  • in the event of termination of an employment contract for a definite period fixed term by an employer, the employer will be obliged to provide the reason justifying the termination of the contract,
  • in the contract for a trial period, an employer and an employee will be able to agree on extending the duration of the contract for the time of leave and/or other justified absence of the employee from work,
  • the length of the contract for the trial period will depend on what kind of contract an employer intends to conclude with an employee after the trial period, so a trial period contract will be concluded for a period not exceeding:
  • 1 month for the intention to conclude an employment contract for a definite period of less than 6 months;
  • 2 months for the intention to conclude an employment contract for a definite period of at least 6 months and less than 12 months.
  • 3 months in other cases, e.g. with a contract for an indefinite period.
  • the employee will have the right to parallel employment, i.e. he/she will be able to remain in an employment relationship with another employer at the same time (the exception will constitute for example the non-competition agreements during the employment relationship).

New information obligations of employers

In the light of the new regulations, employers will be obliged to provide employees with much more information than before. There will be introduced, inter alia, an obligation to inform all employees in the manner adopted by a given employer about:

  • full-time and part-time employment opportunities,
  • promotion procedures,
  • vacancies.

Furthermore, an employer within 7 days after the employee’s admission to work will provide the employee with information in writing or electronically regarding, among others, daily and weekly working time as well as overtime work and compensation for it. Thus, the information on the terms and conditions of employment will be more extensive.

The extension of the obligation to inform employees about employment conditions will also cover employees posted to work in EU countries or third countries. The employer will inform about the right to trainings or the length of paid leave.

The provisions on extended information will apply only to newly hired employees, however, employees who are already employed will have the option to request such information.

The new regulations mean a number of new obligations for companies

Changes in the labour law , which will come into force on April 26, i.e. just before the May long weekend, mean a number of new obligations for employers and the need to meet many requirements. Time is short, and there is a need to, among other things, update time-recording systems, develop a new approach to the recruitment process (determining in advance how long an employer will want to hire an employee for), adapt current HR and payroll systems and assign human resources to handle new requests and to carry out new HR responsibilities.

Learn more about the service: HR and payroll – comprehensive services for companies

There is a great amount of work, mainly for HR, payroll, legal and IT departments, and it is important to note that as of 7 April, there are also new regulations under which remote working has been made part of the Labour Code. All this does not make the task easier for entrepreneurs. When looking for a solution, it is worth focusing on proven comprehensive solutions for companies.

Amendment to the Labour Code – see how we can help:

Magdalena Wilkoszewska Director of The Labour Law Department, Attorney-At-Law
TGC Corporate Lawyers
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