Summary of the most important recent changes in Polish employment law

As we mentioned in previous blog posts, on 1 January 2019 new employment rules came into effect.

The most important are the following:

Entry into force of the Act on Employee Pension Plans

As part of the reform of the pension system, the Polish government has introduced a new form of saving into the Polish legal system that will allow the accumulation of additional funds for retirement – employee pension plans. Although the introduction of the pension plans will take place in several phases (the commencement date depends on the headcount in a given company), all employers should start preparing now. The solutions introduced by the act should be analysed, the potential impact of the new provisions on the employer’s budget and payroll should be assessed, and financial institutions that can run the pension plans should be identified.

Increase of the minimum wage and change in the method of paying remuneration

As of 1 January 2019, employers are required to pay full-time employees at least PLN 2,250 as the minimum basic monthly remuneration. This increase also affects the amounts of other benefits received by employees in connection with their employment, in particular severance pay as part of collective redundancies and the rate of additional remuneration for night work. The minimum remuneration for contractors has also been increased and is now PLN 14.70 for each hour of provided services.

In addition, employers are no longer required to obtain an employee’s consent to pay remuneration by bank transfer to the account indicated by the employee. From 1 January 2019, remuneration should be paid directly into the bank account indicated by the employee, unless he/she submits a request to receive the remuneration in person.

New rules for storing employee documentation

On 1 January 2019, regulations introducing numerous changes with regard to the storing of employee documentation came into force. The most important changes include:

(i) the possibility of keeping employees’ personnel files only in electronic form,

(ii) the possibility of shortening the period of obligatory storage of employee documentation from 50 years to 10 years, and

(iii) a change in the format of employees’ personnel files; from 1 January 2019, personnel files should consist of four parts – not three, as previously (the new, fourth part should contain documents related to the employee’s liability, including copies of notifications about disciplinary penalties imposed on the employee.).

Individuals working under civil law contracts can create/join a trade union

In 2015, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that it is unconstitutional to limit the possibility of creating and joining a trade union to employees only. Therefore, trade union entitlements have now been extended to all persons, irrespective of the form of their engagement. This change may be of great importance to entities that cooperate with individuals engaged under civil law contracts, including self-employed individuals who, in order to defend their rights and interests, will now be able to create and join trade unions, which will result in them being granted numerous rights and privileges related to their trade union membership.

If you would like more specific information on any of the above mentioned changes, please let us know.