Changes in labour law from February 2016

The Labour Code has recently undergone some changes. They mostly concern employees on fixed term contracts.

The new provisions introduced to the labour law regulate the three types of agreements that articulate the legal relations between an employer and an employee: fixed term contracts, contracts for indefinite period and contracts for trial period.

Ministry of Labour got rid of a fourth type of employment contract that until recently was available to the public: contract for the period of performing specific work. This type of agreement never gained popularity and it may easily be substituted with fixed term contracts.

Major changes affected fixed term contracts and contracts for trial period. The former now bear more resemblance to contracts for indefinite period, namely in the area of contract termination.

In the past, the notice period for fixed term employees was two weeks, while for staff with contracts for indefinite period it could be much longer. Currently, the same rules apply to both groups of employees, regardless of the type of contract they signed.

The notice period from now on will be determined on seniority, and will range from two weeks to three months.

Ministry of Labour wants to limit the time employers put their staff on fixed term contracts. A company cannot employ a person based on a fixed term contact (or several contracts) for a period longer than 33 months.

What if they want to keep the employee? The next contract will automatically become a contract for indefinite period.

Moreover, the number of fixed term contracts entered into with one staff member is limited to three. The fourth contract needs to be signed for indefinite period.

It is worth highlighting the fact that the new regulation do not apply to seasonal or occasional workers or to people serving terms of office.

The amendments specify the principles concerning employment for trail period. Employing a worker for a trial period by the same company is allowed provided they apply for a different position with different work responsibilities.

This is not the end of changes to the Labour Code. Ministry of Labour not long ago announced plans to introduced minimal hourly wage. Currently, there is no such thing in Poland.

Minimum monthly salary in Poland is currently 1,850 PLN. The proposed minimum hourly wage is to be set at 12 PLN per hour.