Poland: Upcoming amendments to Polish Labour Code
Important amendments to the Polish Labour Code are being made on 7th September 2019 that will affect both employers and employees.
Discrimination in employment
The definition of discrimination in employment within the Polish Labour Code is being changed, opening the catalogue of prerequisites for discrimination. It will be easier for employees to seek compensation for discriminatory actions taken by the employer. Employers should take extra precautions with regards to equal treatment of employees and candidates for job positions.
Employees who are the closest family members to parents of a child may wish to enjoy maternity or parental leave on their behalf (such as the grandparents, or aunts and uncles of the child) and under these amendments, they are able to do so. Their legal position shall be viewed similarly to the position of a father who exercises his right to parental leave (i.e. special protection against termination of employment). Prior to this, only the child’s parents could take parental leave.
Compensation for workplace bullying (mobbing)
The changes made in regards to compensation for mobbing (bullying in the workplace) introduce the right for an employee to seek compensation even if their employment contract has not been terminated. This can severely affect the position of employers in case of potential court disputes. Previously, the employment contract had to be terminated and the employee had to indicate that the reason for such termination was mobbing. Otherwise they could not seek compensation,
Applying for corrections on employment certificate stipulate
Employees and employers alike will be affected by the amendments made to the period for applying for corrections on an employment certificate stipulate – a document confirming prior employment for a new employer. Rather than seven days, the period shall be 14 days.
What action is required? And by when?
In order to be compliant with the new legal provisions in force, the employer is obliged to:
- Review its internal policies and adopting appropriate measures in line with the new amendments
- Make sure the HR team is properly informed about the amendments to labour law provisions (for example, HR should be aware that an employee can now make a claim for mobbying at any time during his/her employment)
As the legal obligations come into force on 7th of September 2019, it is advisable for employers in Poland to plan the relevant actions and proper adjustment of documents in advance of that date.
No further sanctions are stipulated with regards to those particular legal provisions.
If an employer does not allow an employee’s grandparent to take parental leave, there could be a potential fine of up to 30,000 PLN.
The range of damages for mobbing of an employee cannot be predicted for an employer, as it all depends on the scale of the violation.