Labour law updates and recommendations

Changes in labour law – implementation of two EU directives

2023 will see numerous changes in labour law. It will certainly be a challenging year for employers, who will need to prepare for innovations related to remote working, the protection of whistleblowers, and the implementation of two EU directives: (i) on transparent and predictable working conditions and (ii) on work-life balance for parents and carers.

The Work-life Balance Directive should have been implemented into the Polish legal order in August 2022; however, the government’s bill amending the Labour Code was only sent to the parliament at the beginning of 2023.

Below is a summary of the most significant of the proposed changes in connection with the implementation of the two directives.

  • Fixed-term contract: By far the most significant change for employers will be the need to justify the termination of fixed-term contracts. Until now, the obligation to justify termination only applied to open-ended contracts.
  • Probationary period contract: The permissible length of a probationary period contract will depend on the planned duration of further cooperation with the employee:
    • one-month probationary period contract when a fixed-term contract of less than six months is planned;
    • two-month probationary period contract when a fixed-term contract of more than six months but less than 12 months is planned;
    • a three-month probationary period contract in other cases.
  • Information obligation: The employer will be obliged to provide the employee, either on paper or electronically, with information on the terms and conditions of employment within seven days of the employee’s being admitted to work (at the moment it is within seven days of the conclusion of the employment contract). The information provided to the employee will be extended to include information on:
    • breaks during work – it is worth noting here that the number of breaks will also be increased depending on the number of daily working hours:
      • by one break of at least 15 minutes during nine hours of work;
      • by two breaks of at least 15 minutes during 16 hours of work;
    • rules on overtime;
    • rules on the termination of employment;
    • the right to training provided by the employer.
  • Change of type of work: An employee who has been employed for at least six months will have the right to request a change in the type of work, a change in the type of employment contract to an open-ended contract, or a change to full-time employment. The request will only be possible once per calendar year and the employer will be required to provide a written justification if it decides to refuse the request.
  • Prohibition on limiting additional employment: An employer will not be able to prohibit an employee from being in an employment relationship with another employer or in a legal relationship that is the basis for the provision of work other than an employment relationship, unless the parties decide to sign a non-compete agreement during the employment relationship.
  • Parental leave: Parents will be able to take parental leave at the same time. In addition, it will be extended from 32 weeks to 41 weeks for the birth of one child or 43 weeks for the birth of more than one child. If parents wish to take all of their parental leave, each parent will have to take at least nine weeks of this leave, which will not be transferable to the other parent.
  • Paternity leave: The time by which an employee-father can take two weeks of paternity leave will be reduced. Under the planned changes, this will only be possible until the child is 12 months old (instead of the current 24 months).
  • Care leave: Employees will be able to take five days of additional leave to care for a family member (son, daughter, mother, father or spouse) or a person in a shared household who requires care or support for serious medical reasons.
  • Force majeure: In the case of a force majeure event related to urgent family matters caused by illness or accident which require immediate attendance, the employee will be able to take two days or 16 hours off, retaining the right to 50% of his/her salary.

It should be noted that the process of implementing the above changes is only at the initial legislative stage, i.e. on 12 January 2023, the bill was sent for its first reading to the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish Parliament). Therefore, more changes are possible before it is finally passed into law.


Justyna Helbing, Paralegal