1. What types of employment contract are recognised in Poland?
The following types of employment contract are recognised in the Polish Labour Code:
- a contract of employment for a probationary period;
- a contract of employment for an indefinite term; and
- a contract of employment for a fixed term.
A contract of employment for probationary period must not exceed three months.
2. What are the minimum and maximum terms for which a fixed-term employment contract can be concluded in Poland?
A contract of employment for a fixed term, and the total period of employment where multiple consecutive fixed-term contracts are concluded between the same parties in the employment relationship, must not exceed 33 months. A maximum of three consecutive fixed-term contracts are allowed.
3. How can a contract of employment be terminated in Poland?
A contract of employment is terminated:
- by mutual agreement of the parties;
- by a statement of will of one of the parties with a period of notice (‘termination of a contract of employment with notice’);
- by a statement of will of one of the parties without a period of notice (‘termination of a contract of employment without notice’); or
- upon expiry of the agreed contract term.
4. What are the applicable notice periods, and what determines their length?
The period of notice for an employment contract concluded for an indefinite period of time depends on the employment period with a given employer and amounts to:
- two weeks if the employee has been employed for less than six months;
- one month if the employee has been employed for at least six months; or
- three months if the employee has been employed for at least three years.
The period of notice for a contract of employment concluded for a probationary period is:
- three working days if the trial period does not exceed two weeks;
- one week if the trial period is longer than two weeks; or
- two weeks if the trial period is three months.
5. Is it possible to employ employees as teleworkers in Poland, and are there any particular regulations that apply (differentiating from other regulations)?
Regulations regarding the employment of teleworkers are contained in Chapter II B of the Polish Labour Code. Telework may be performed away from the employer’s premises using information technologies. The parties to a contract of employment may agree that telework is performed when the contract is concluded, or during the period of employment.
If telework is performed at the teleworker’s home, the employer shall have the right to carry out inspections:
- of the performance of telework;
- in order to perform inventory counts, maintenance, servicing or repairs of the equipment provided to the teleworker, or installation of that equipment; and
- related to occupational health and safety.
Such inspections require the teleworker’s prior consent expressed in writing, or using means of electronic communication, or similar means of distance communication.
The employer has an obligation to provide the employee with health and safety at work.
A teleworker may not be treated in a less favourable manner in relation to undertaking or terminating an employment relationship, employment conditions, promotion and access to training to improve professional qualifications than other employees employed in the same or similar position, taking into account the particular conditions of the work performed in the form of telework.
6. What are the rights for women who become pregnant during their employment contract, and are they protected from being dismissed?
Pregnant and breastfeeding women cannot perform arduous, hazardous, or detrimental-to-health works that may have an adverse impact on their health, the pregnancy, or breastfeeding. A pregnant employee shall not perform any overtime or night work.
An employer may not terminate an employment contract with a female employee during her pregnancy or while on maternity leave, with or without notice, unless there are reasons justifying termination without notice through her fault, and an enterprise trade union representing the employee has consented to the termination of the employment contract.
7. What types of paid days-off are the employees entitled to in Poland?
Employees can take 20 paid days-off in the first ten years of working. After this time employee has the right to 26 paid days off.
An employer is under the obligation to grant leave of no more than four days per calendar year at the request of the employee and at the time specified by the employee. The request for leave shall be placed by the employee on the first day of that leave at the latest.
An employee who is developing their professional qualifications shall be entitled to training leave and a leave of absence for the entire working day or any part thereof, as required, to attend mandatory training on time, and covering the time of that training. The employee retains the right to remuneration for the time of the training leave and the leave of absence for the entire working day or a part thereof.
In case of exceptional circumstances (such as death of an employee’s family member, childbirth of the employee, or the employee’s marriage), the employee also has the right to paid days-off. In case of childbirth, employees are entitled to maternity leave, parental and childcare leave. Each employee retains the right to remuneration for the time of illness.
8. Is it possible to include a non-competition clause in the employment contract, and what are the grounds for concluding a valid non-competition agreement?
The parties of the employment contract can include a non-competition clause in the contract.
The non-competition clause must be made in writing or will be invalid.
9. Is the employer obliged to pay compensation for the period of validity of a non-competition clause/agreement after the termination of employment?
The employer is obliged to pay compensation for the period of validity of non-competition clause/agreement after the termination of employment.
10. What happens to employees if their employer goes bankrupt in Poland, and are they entitled to severance pay?
If an indefinite-term or a fixed-term contract of employment is terminated with a declaration of the employer’s bankruptcy or liquidation, or for other reasons not attributable to employees, the employer may reduce the three-month period of notice for the purpose of earlier contract termination, but to a period no shorter than one month.
If this is the case, the employee shall be entitled to a compensation equal to the amount of remuneration due for the remaining part of the period of notice. The period of entitlement to compensation counts towards the length of service of the employee who is not employed during that period.
Employer’s obligations are also indicated in the Act on the Specific Principles for Terminating Employment Relationships with Employees for Reasons not Related to the Employees Concerned. According to this act, an employee whose employment relationship is terminated as part of a collective redundancy shall be entitled to a severance payment.
11. Are there any courts specially appointed for the purpose of dealing with labour law matters in Poland?
Disputes over claims arising from an employment relationship shall be settled by common courts, referred to as “labour courts”. The principles for the establishment of labour courts, their organisation and the proceedings before labour courts are governed by separate regulations.
The following disputes do not fall within the jurisdiction of labour courts:
- matters relating to the determination of new terms and conditions of work and pay; and
- matters relating to the implementation of work standards.
12. In the event that an employee is a debtor in enforcement proceedings in Poland, to what extent is it possible for a bailiff to seize remuneration?
The employee’s remuneration is subject to execution of the amounts paid under enforceable titles in relation to maintenance obligations, amounts paid under enforceable titles in relation to obligations other than maintenance, cash advances from the employer, and financial penalties provided by the Polish Labour Code.
Deductions may be made within the following limits:
- In the case of enforcement of maintenance obligations, up to three-fifths of the remuneration.
- In the case of enforcement of other obligations or deduction of cash advance payments, up to 50 per cent of the remuneration.
The following amounts of remuneration for work shall be free of any deductions:
- The minimum remuneration for work defined in a separate Act when it comes to deduction of amounts paid under enforceable titles in relation to obligations other than maintenance.
- 75% of the minimum remuneration specified in a separate Act, in cases when deducting amounts are cash advances for the employee.
- 90% of the remuneration specified in a separate Act, in cases when deducting amounts are financial penalties provided for in the Labour Code.
If the employee is employed part-time, the amounts of the minimum remuneration are reduced in proportion to the working time.