POLAND: Annual Update – Expected labour law changes in 2016

Parental leave

Significant changes in types of parental leave: With effect from January 2, 2016 the current additional maternity leave and parental leave arrangements are replaced by parental leave. Parental leave has been increased to 32 weeks in case of a single birth and to 34 weeks in case of multiple births.
Action required: Polish employers should familiarise themselves with the new rules and adopt policies to apply them.

Termination notice periods

Standardisation of notice periods: With effect from February 22, 2016 the required notice period for all types of employment contract will be standardised. Notice periods will range from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on the length of service.
Action required: Termination notice periods after this date must be calculated under the new rules.

Fixed term contracts

Limitations on fixed-term employment contracts: With effect from February 22, an employer can have only 3 fixed term contracts with the same employee and the total of fixed term contract time cannot exceed 33 months, irrespective of any breaks between successive contracts. Contracts after these limits will automatically convert into indefinite-term contracts.
Action required: Employers should check the quantity and length of current fixed term contracts to ensure that none will shortly convert into indefinite-term contracts. For future fixed term contracts, check the transitional provisions to ensure the admissible quantity and length of fixed term contracts are appropriate under the new rules.

Specific task contracts

Elimination of specific task contracts: With effect from February 22, 2016 employers will no longer be able to hire staff on specific task contracts.
Specific task contracts are contracts of employment that last only as long as the specified task; for instance, preparing a financial statement.
Action required: Employers who use specific task contracts must in future use another contract form, such as fixed term. Specific task contracts entered into before February 22, 2016 can continue under the old rules.

Medical certificates

Digital medical certificates of temporary disability due to illness will replace printed certificates: With effect from January 1, 2016 employers can download digital certificates via an online profile, without having to use hard copy originals as has been the case until now. The law also provides for a transitional period until the end of 2017, during which it will be possible to continue using medical certificates in their current form.
Action required: Until the end of 2015, employers who pay social insurance contributions for more than 5 employees are obligated to set up an information profile in a software system provided free by the Social Insurance Office (ZUS).