Labour Code – key amendments to come into force in August 2022
In August 2022, amendments to the Labour Code implementing the Work-life Balance Directive are to come into force. The proposed regulations will apply to both employees and employers, on whom new obligations will be imposed.
Currently, work is underway on the final version of the amendment to the Labour Code. The proposed regulations include, among other things, new rights and employee leave entitlements. For employers, the changes will bring new obligations.
Key labour law changes
1. Leave of absence due to force majeure
After the amendments, employees will be entitled to additional leave of absence while retaining the right to half of remuneration, due to force majeure event in urgent family matters caused by illness or accident, if an immediate presence of the employee is necessary. In a calendar year, the employee will be able to take 2 days or 16 hours of leave for this reason.
The employer will be obliged to grant leave of absence due to force majeure at the request of the employee, reported at the latest on the day of taking the leave. The leave granted to a part-time worker on an hourly basis is to be determined in proportion to his working time, with an incomplete hour of leave to be rounded up to a full hour.
2. 5 days of carer’s leave without retaining the right to remuneration
After the amendments, employees will be entitled to carer’s leave without retaining the right to remuneration in order to provide personal care or support to a person being member of the family or living in the same household who requires significant care or support for serious medical reasons. The following shall be considered members of the family:
The length of such leave in a calendar year will be 5 days. The employee will be able to take this leave in one go or in parts. The employer will grant the carer’s leave on the basis of the employee's application on days that are working days for the employee and in accordance with the working time schedule in force in the company. The carer’s leave will be included in the period of employment.
3. Change in employment contracts for a trail period
In accordance with the new regulations, employment contracts for a trial period will be concluded for a period not exceeding 3 months or for a period not exceeding:
- 1 month – if the employer intends to conclude a fixed-term employment contract for less than 6 months;
- 2 months – if the employer intends to conclude a fixed-term employment contract for at least 6 months and less than 12 months.
The employment contract for a trial period not exceeding 2 months will specify the period for which the parties intend to conclude a fixed-term employment contract in the event of an intention to conclude such a contract for a period shorter than 12 months. An employment contract for a trial period with the same employee is to be allowed only if the employee is to perform other type of work.
4. Longer parental leave and its non-transferable part
After the changes, employees who are parents will have the right to parental leave to care for a child for:
- 41 weeks – in the case of one child;
- 43 weeks – in the case of multiple births.
In accordance with the new regulations, each parent will have exclusive right to 9 weeks of parental leave from the above entitlement. The most important fact is that the right to a 9-week leave cannot be transferred to the other parent, because it is a non-transferable part of the leave. In addition, parental leave could be taken in one go or in no more than 5 parts and no later than until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 6 years of age.
5. Remote work in the Labour Code
According to the new regulations, remote work will be 100% remote or hybrid. The employer will be responsible for providing the employee with materials and tools necessary to perform professional duties outside the employer’s premises.
Remote work could also be performed occasionally, not exceeding 24 days in a calendar year. In this case, the employee will be able to apply for working remotely indicating in the application the place of work.]
See also: Remote working in the Labour Code brings additional obligations for employers
6. Flexible working arrangement at the request of a parent employee
The regulations stipulate that an employee raising a child until the age of 8 will be able to apply for flexible working arrangement. Flexible working arrangements may include such forms as:
- remote work
- intermittent working time system
- shortened working week system
- working weekend system
- reduced working hours
- flexible working time system
- individual distribution of working time
The employee will submit the application not less than 21 days before the planned start of flexible working arrangement. The employer will consider the application taking into account the needs of the employee, including time frames and the reason behind using flexible working arrangement. The employer will also take into account the need to ensure normal course of work, the work organization and type of work performed by the employee.
7. Protection against adverse treatment in the employment
The new regulations enhance the protection of employees and employees supporting them against:
- negative treatment by employer,
- negative consequences resulting from an internal complaint made by an employee
- negative consequences due to employee’s submitting the application for or taking paternity leave, parental leave, carer’s leave due to force majeure or flexible working arrangement.
An employee whose rights are violated by the employer will be able to claim compensation not lower than the minimum wage for work.
8. Extended employer’s information obligations towards the employee
According to the new regulations, the employer's information obligations towards the employee will also be extended. Among other things, the employer will have to inform the employee in paper or electronic form, no later than within 7 days from the date of employee's admission to work, about:
- daily and weekly working time standard applicable to the employee;
- daily and weekly working time applicable to the employee;
- employee's entitlement to breaks from work;
- daily and weekly rest periods to which the employee is entitled;
- rules on overtime and compensation for overtime;
- in the case of shift work - rules for switching from shift to shift
- in the case of several places of work - the rules on movement between places of work;
- components of remuneration and cash or in-kind benefits not specified in the employment contract to which the employee is entitled;
- paid leave entitlement, in particular annual leave or, if it is not possible to determine it on the date of providing the employee with this information, the rules for determining and granting annual leave;
- applicable rules for termination of employment, including formal requirements, the length of notice periods and deadline for appealing to the labour court or, if it is not possible to determine the length of notice periods on the date of providing the employee with this information, the method of determining such notice periods;
- employee's right to training, if the employer provides it, in particular the general principles of the employer's training policy;
- the collective agreement or other collective arrangement by which the employee is covered, and where a collective agreement is concluded outside the employer’s establishment by joint bodies or institutions, the name of such bodies or institutions;
- if the employer has not established work regulations – date, place, time and frequency of payment of remuneration for work, night time and the method adopted by a given employer of confirming the arrival and presence at work by employees and justifying absences from work.
9. Possibility to apply for change of employment form
Employees who have worked for the given employer for at least 6 months will be able to apply to their employer once a year to change:
- type of employment contract for an open-end employment contract, or
- more predictable and safe working conditions, including changing the type of work or undertaking full-time employment.
The employer will be obliged, as far as possible, to take into account the employee's request (Article 29(3) § 2 of the Labour Code). In addition, the employer will provide the employee with a paper or electronic response no later than within 1 month from the date of receipt of the application, in which the employer will take into account the needs of both parties, and if the application is denied, the employer will have to inform the employee about the reason for refusal.
10. New sanctions for employers
The new regulations also provide for sanctions for employers for failure to: inform the employee on time about the conditions of his employment or failure to provide the employee with a paper or electronic response to the application for the change of employment form with more predictable or safer working conditions, including changing the type of work, changing the type of employment contract to an open-end contract or undertaking full-time employment, or failure to inform about the reason for refusal. Such actions may be considered violations of the employee's rights.
The entry into force of the new regulations was initially planned for 1 August 2022, however, the works on changes are still underway and the time of their implementation is not yet confirmed.