24.05.2021 Labour law

Parental leave for fathers – important changes in 2022

Poland has to implement the provisions of the EU Work-Life Balance Directive and adjust the Labour Code to the modified parental leave rules by August 2022.  What rights will employees taking such leaves gain in the coming year?

The EU Directive on work-life balance for parents and child carers, the so-called work-life balance directive, was adopted in June 2019. Member States, including Poland, are required to adjust the Labour Code to the new rules by 2 August 2022.

One of the most important changes will involve increasing the entitlement of fathers to take parental leave, but the modification of the provisions is aimed primarily at ensuring equality between women and men in terms of opportunities on the labour market and treatment in the workplace, as well as promoting the partnership model of a family.

What new rights will employees taking parental leave gain in 2022?

The provisions of the EU directive will implement a number of new solutions to the Polish Labour Code in the area of paternity, parental and childcare leave, designed to help women equalise their opportunities in the labour market and ensure an easier return to work duties after giving birth.

The new rules will cover employees with an employment contract or other employment relationship as defined by law.

Parental leave rules in 2022:

  • 2 months of parental leave exclusively for a father, cannot be transferred to a mother, and unused leave is lost (currently there is a 14-day paternity leave on the occasion of the birth of a child),
  • the option for a father to take the whole parental leave (4 months) if the child’s mother is not entitled to it (e.g., no employment contract),
  • the introduction of flexible working arrangements for workers who are parents or child carers.

Length of parental and maternity leave – how is it now?

At present, the provisions of the Labour Code provide for the following dimensions of maternity and parental leave:

Maternity leave in 2021:

  • 20 weeks if one child is born in one birth;
  • 31 weeks if two children are born in one birth
  • 33 weeks for three children born in one birth
  • 35 weeks for four children born in one birth
  • 37 weeks for five or more children born in one birth;
  • (an employee may take no more than 6 weeks of maternity leave before the expected date of birth),

Parental leave in 2021:

  • 32 weeks – if one child is born in one birth,
  • 34 weeks – if more than one child is born at the same time;
  • (granted once or in parts not later than until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 6 and granted directly after the use of maternity leave or maternity allowance for a period corresponding to the period of maternity leave, not more than in 4 parts, falling directly after the other or directly after the use of maternity allowance for a period corresponding to a part of parental leave, in multiples of one week).

Paternity leave in 2021 14 days of leave for a father (10 working days), an employee-father raising a child, including an adopted child, is entitled; unused leave is lost (an employee is entitled to 100% pay for the time of paternity leave).

Moreover, employees taking parental leave can combine it with their work duties – reducing their full-time position to a maximum of half and combining work with parenthood duties.

Learn more: The New Order – planned changes to the health contribution

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