Poland: From Temporary Employment To Retirement Age: News From The Polish Labour Law

1. Temporary employment

As of 1 June 2017 new rules govern the employment of temporary employees. These changes were introduced to raise the standards for temporary employees (conditions of employment, and legal safety of employers using services of temporary employment agencies).
The most important changes from the employer's point of view include the following aspects of temporary employment:

1.1. Period of employment

A temporary employee may be employed by the same employer-user (ie employer using the work of a temporary employee, assigning tasks to such employee and controlling its performance):

  1. for a maximum period of 18 months in the period of 36 consecutive calendar months,
  2. both on the basis of a contract of employment and a civil law contract,
  3. even if the employment takes place through various temporary employment agencies. 

1.2. Type of work

The employer-user cannot employ a temporary employee to perform work which for the three preceding months was performed by a direct employee of the employer-user who was dismissed for reasons not attributed to the employee.
The above restriction is territorial, which means, that such employment could not occur in any of the employer-user's units located in the same municipality as the unit in which the previously dismissed employee was employed.
1.3. Remuneration policy

The employer-user has the additional obligation to submit internal regulations on remuneration of employees at the request of the temporary work agency, ie remuneration rules or company collective agreements and to notify the agency about any changes to the applicable remuneration policy.

The purpose of introducing this obligation is to provide similar working conditions and salaries for those who are directly employed by the employer and those who are employed by the temporary work agency.
1.4. Records of temporary employees

The employer-user is obliged to keep records of temporary employees who perform their work on the basis of a contract of employment and a civil law contract containing information about the starting date of employment and the date of termination of such work for a period of 36 consecutive months. The obligation to keep such records extends for a period of 3 years following the termination of employment by the temporary employee. The records must be kept in paper or electronic form.
Legal basis: The Act of Law of 7 April 2017 amending the Act on the Employment of Temporary Employees and some other acts (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland of 2017, item 962). 

2. New list of arduous, dangerous or harmful types of work for pregnant and breastfeeding women

As of 1 May 2017 there is a new list of jobs that cannot be performed by pregnant or breastfeeding women. This regulation applies to arduous, dangerous or harmful types of work. It must be stressed that this list includes work, which is forbidden to be performed by pregnant and breastfeeding women, and not by women in general.
A significant change related to pregnant women working in positions using computer monitors. Pregnant women may work for no more than 8 hours a day, but the time spent in operating the computer monitors should not last more than 50 minutes at a time, followed by at least a 10-minute break, which is included in working time. It does not have to be a break from work, but only from working with computer monitors.
In accordance with the provisions of the Polish Labour Code, internal labour regulations should specify the list of work prohibited for women. The current list of work should be included in the internal labour regulations and this requires changes introduced in accordance with the procedure for internal labour regulations' adoption.
Legal basis:  Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 3 April 2017 on the list of arduous, dangerous or harmful work for pregnant and breastfeeding women (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland of 2017, item 796). 

3. Principles of issuing certificates of employment

Issuing a certificate of employment is one of the responsibilities of the employer. On 1 June 2017 rules for issuing certificates of employment changed.

The deadlines for issuing or correcting a certificate of employment in certain situations have been extended. Under these new regulations the employer is obliged to carry out the following activities within 7 days:

  • issue a new certificate of employment after the court's ruling on the correction of the certificate of employment;
  • supplement the text of the issued certificate of employment with the information about the court's decision to
    reinstate a dismissed employee or to award him compensation for unlawful termination of an employment contract or termination without notice; and
  • issue a new certificate of employment, if the employer and employee have concluded a settlement resulting in the issuance of a new certificate of employment. 

On the other hand, the employee has 7 days to submit his/her certificate of employment to the employer in order to supplement its content with information about the court's ruling regarding the legal action taken by the employer for compensation for unjustified termination of the employment contract without notice by the employee.
Temporary work agencies were obligated to include information on each certificate of employment of temporary employees about each employer-user, to whom the temporary employee has worked on the basis of an employment contract and the periods during which such work was performed.
Legal basis:  Regulation of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 24 May 2017 amending the Regulation concerning Certification of Employment (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland of 2017, item 1044). 

4. Reduction of the statutory retirement age

On 1 October 2017 the legislation that restored the retirement age of 60 years for women and 65 years for men entered into force.
As a rule, an employee who has no more than 4 years to reach the retirement age is covered by a special protection against termination of employment. However, the reduction of retirement age affected the extension of the protection period prior to termination of employment contracts for certain groups of employees.
Employees, who as of 1 October 2017 are already covered by protection of employment relationships, benefit from such protection until they reach the retirement age provided in the provisions that were currently in force (i.e. reaching an increased retirement age). This means that the protection period for such employees will not be shortened due to reaching the retirement age of 60 years for women and 65 years for men.
On the other hand, employees who are not covered by protection yet and who reach the retirement age within 4 years from the date of entry into force of this act of law, are protected for a period of 4 years calculated from 1 October 2017, even when the period expires after reaching retirement age. Thus they will be entitled to such protection until the end of September 2021.
It is therefore recommended that employers conduct a thorough analysis of the situation of such employee prior to giving notice of termination of the employment contract. If the termination of an employment contract during a pre-retirement protection is found to be unlawful, it can be very expensive for the employer. In case of reinstatement, such employee will be entitled to remuneration for the entire period of unemployment, this means from termination of employment until his / her reinstatement. Due to the relatively long court proceedings, the effects for the employer can be painful.
Legal basis:  Act of Law of 16 November 2016 on the amendment of the Law on Pensions from the Social Insurance Fund and some other acts (Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland of 2017, item 38)

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