With its robust pool of tech talents and thriving IT sector, Poland is rapidly becoming a prime destination for building remote or distributed teams. Known as a major hub for global tech organizations and a famed destination for outsourcing, Poland has everything required for global organization growth and tech advancement. However, expanding into Poland or hiring tech talent requires an in-depth understanding of the country's governing employment laws, tax processes, and intricate employment relationships. It is essential for organizations planning to hire or build a team in Poland to stay above compliance and navigate the employment relationship with understanding.
This article outlines everything you need to know about Polish employment law, the legal framework in the country and new developments regarding employment policies and labor practices, including an employee's employment period and termination of employment relationships.
Main Sources of Employment Law in Poland
Internationally, Poland's main sources of employment law are European and National law. However, domestically, the Polish Labor Code and other statutory acts govern employment practices in Poland.
While the 1974 Labor Code primarily regulates the labor law in Poland, the labor code governs regulations such as the remuneration of employee salary and wages, the work performed by employees, the employment agreements offered to employees, the minimum employment terms and conditions such as the standard working time, provision of employee benefits, health & safety at the workplace, as well as the laws that govern the statutory obligations of the employer and employee in the country. Here, the employer is obliged to provide certain benefits, and the employee is entitled to them.
Other statutory acts and regulations work hand-in-hand to ensure equal treatment and a balanced employment relationship regarding employees and employers of labor in Poland. Such regulations include those on civil law contracts and workplace regulations.
The Labor Code
The Labor Code establishes the rights and obligations of both employees and employers in Poland. It defines an employee as anyone employed via an employment contract, an election, an appointment or a cooperative employment contract. It also states that an employee is entitled to fair remuneration for the work performed.
Also, according to Polish employment regulations, an employer is defined as an organizational unit or a person that employs workers (employees) to carry out work activities. Aside from determining the rights and duties of employers and employees, it also makes provisions for collective labor agreements and other collective agreements, regulations and statutes per Polish law to determine the rights and duties of an employer and employee in an employment relationship.
All these highlight how much an employee is entitled to within the employment period. This comprehensive legislation forms the cornerstone of labor law in Poland. It provides a robust framework for employer-employee relationships and offers clear guidelines on the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
The Trade Unions Act
In addition to the Labor Code, the Trade Unions Act plays an important role in Polish employment law. This law defines the formation, operation, and rights of trade unions in Poland. In addition to the Labor Code, the Trade Unions Act plays an important role in Polish employment law. This law defines the formation, operation, and rights of trade unions in Poland. It emphasizes the right to collective bargaining and establishes guidelines for labor disputes and strikes, granting each employee the right to trade union membership and a role in collective labor agreements. It's an important facet of the Labor Code that aims to ensure that employees are entitled to fair representation.
The Employment Promotion & Labor Market Institutions Act
Another significant piece of legislation under Polish law is the Employment Promotion & Labor Market Institutions Act. This law focuses on employment promotion, vocational activation of the unemployed based on their professional qualifications, and the operation of labor market institutions, taking into consideration the individual's working time.
The act provides guidelines on public employment services, vocational counseling, training, and programs for unemployed or job-seeking individuals. It emphasizes that work performed should match the individual's professional qualifications while maintaining reasonable working time.
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Employment Contracts in Poland
When an employer seeks to establish an employment relationship with an employee, both parties must agree on certain terms and conditions. According to the Labor Code in Poland, three types of employment contracts exist in the country. These contract types include an employment contract for a trial period, a fixed term and an employment contract for an unlimited duration.
However, no matter the employer's employment contract, the terms and information contained must comply with the statutes of the Labor Code in Poland. Regardless of its type, the employment contract should clearly state the terms, the relevant dates, the employment terms and conditions, compensation, and work.
Also, the employment contract must be in writing, reflecting the workplace regulations. The employer is obliged to let the employee know the terms of the employment stated in the contract within seven days of coming to terms of the employment agreement, which should be communicated via a written request.
Types of Employment Contracts
Fixed-term Contract: The period of employment under the fixed-term contract, however, cannot exceed three months. Also, when a fixed-term contract is offered to an employee, it cannot be renewed more than three times. After the third time, if the employer wants to renew, an indefinite employment contract must be offered for further employment.
Trial Period: A trial period contract is similar to a probationary period where the employer observes the employed worker to understand if the employee retains the ability and skills to perform work satisfactorily. However, it cannot last beyond three months. After the expiration of the trial period contract, the employer cannot offer this same type of contract as a means of renewal of the employment relationship unless the contract is for an entirely different job position. A written request for such renewal should be made.
Indefinite Period: An indefinite contract is similar to both fixed-term and trial-period contracts as it incorporates the elements of both contract types. Employees with an indefinite contract have the legal right to terminate the contract unilaterally by mutual agreement. It starts with a trial period which is the probationary period and has no fixed expiry duration. Unlike the fixed term with a contract end date, the indefinite contract requires no renewal, and termination occurs when there is a breach of terms and when any of the parties decides to end the working relationship.
For further protection of both parties, signing a letter of agreement is advised. This document outlines the expectations and responsibilities of both parties, offering an added layer of security and a reference point in the event of employment termination.
Key Elements of Employment Contracts
Irrespective of the type, each employment contract should clearly state the following:
- The parties to the contract
- The type of contract
- The date of its inception
- Details of the employment terms such as working hours, overtime hours, workplace regulations, collective labor agreements, and compensation packages. Reference to the labor code and Polish law can provide the needed guidance in these aspects.
The Polish Labor Code provides a notice period in an employment contract. In a bid to establish an employment relationship, the employer needs to state the notice period, especially for a trial period contract. For a trial period, the notice period depends on the time frame for which the contract was concluded. For a fixed-term or unlimited-term contract, the notice period is based on the employment duration. Usually, it varies from two weeks to three months for fixed-term and unlimited-term contracts. The trial period is typically from three days to two weeks.
Minimum Employment Terms and Conditions
Navigating the nuances of employment laws, including trade union activities and collective bargaining agreements, is crucial for tech professionals and businesses intending to operate in Poland. To create a work environment that is fair, compliant, and conducive to productivity, it's important to understand the minimum employment terms and conditions laid down by Polish legislation in alignment with the labor code. It is equally important to remember the rights and obligations of a previous employer in the context of an employment relationship.
Standard Working Hours
The Polish Labor Code stipulates that the standard working week should not exceed 40 hours, spread over five days. This guideline provides a healthy work-life balance, essential for maintaining productivity and preventing employee burnout. This is part of the balanced working time system.
Remuneration and Minimum Wage
The employment terms agreed upon by the employer and employee in the employment contract form the basis of an employee's remuneration in Poland. Under labor law, the kind of work and qualifications required determine the salary to be offered or accepted by the employee. However, the type of work and the qualifications required determines the compensation the employee offers or receives. However, pay rules per the Minimum Wage Act set a base or minimum wage that an employee is entitled to, and the employer cannot offer an amount below.
There are instances where persons employed might have to work beyond their standard working hours. In such cases, Polish law, also known as the labor code, requires that overtime is compensated at a higher rate. This stipulation is implemented to prevent employee exploitation, ensure equal treatment, and ensure that employees are fairly rewarded for their extra work.
Workplace Health and Safety
According to Poland's constitution, everyone is entitled to a healthy and safe work environment and conditions. In addition, the Polish Labor Code stipulates the employer and employee observe the highest form of workplace health and safety.
Employers should prioritize their employees' health and safety to ensure compliance with these regulations and avoid common legal troubles. In cases where an employee suffers from health issues, the employer is obliged to acknowledge a justified absence. Moreover, the employer is obliged to maintain the employee's personal data, including health records.
Understanding these minimum employment conditions can also aid in preventing misclassification of independent contractors, which can lead to serious penalties. By ensuring that employment contracts accurately reflect the nature of the employment relationship, businesses can avoid unnecessary legal and financial troubles.
Mandatory Leaves in Poland
Poland provides for a comprehensive framework of mandatory leaves to ensure work-life balance and the welfare of its employees. Understanding these is crucial to comply with the employment laws in Poland to build a nurturing environment for your tech talent and ensure equal treatment of all persons employed.
Employees in Poland are entitled to uninterrupted and paid annual leave, which depends on how long the employee works or works in the organization. This annual leave is often referred to as vacation leave.
If an employee has worked in the organization for less than ten years, 20 days of leave is given. If the employee's years of service in the organization is ten years or more, the employee is entitled to 26 days of paid vacation leave. The leave days can be split into different days in a year.
Pregnant employees have a right to maternity leave of 20 weeks after delivering a child. This leave can be extended if the employee delivers more than one child.
In addition to the 20 weeks maternity leave duration, the employee may also be granted an additional 32 weeks of parental leave to either of the parents of the newborn. This sums up to a total of 52 weeks of leave.
Fathers are entitled to a paternity leave of two weeks upon the delivery of their child.
When employees in Poland fall sick or cannot perform their tasks due to illness, or isolation due to a contagious disease, they are entitled to a sick leave of up to 33 days in a calendar year. For employees that are aged 50 and above, if their illness extends up to 14 days in a year, they are obliged to 80 per cent of their salary compensation.
A person with a disability has the right to extra ten working days of vacation time per year. After one year of employment and being categorized as having one of the aforementioned degrees of disability, the person acquires the right.
Termination of Employment
The Labor Code lists grounds on which an employment contract termination can be effected in Poland. Employment can be terminated in Poland under the following conditions,
- expiration of the employment contract
- mutual agreement between both parties,
- statement from either party with or without notice.
The Labor Code specifically sets the terms for employment termination without notice. However, employers must provide a termination notice before ending the work relationship.
When an employee is terminated within a collective dismissal or for reasons that is not the fault of the employee, they are entitled to severance payment and this applies if the employer has a workforce strength of at least 20 employees. However, the severance cannot exceed 15 times the minimum wage. This means that the maximum severance pay in Poland is about 8,600 EUR. Although, the employer and employee are free to negotiate a higher severance pay.
Employers must respect the employee and their rights. This also applies to the employees. Discriminatory practices are not permissible directly or indirectly, especially regarding the worker's sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, religion, race, or political beliefs.
Harassment Protection in Poland
Workplace harassment is any form of unwanted conduct or behavior that leads to the intimidation, humiliation, or offense of anyone at work. Sexual harassment is any unwanted action or conduct of a sexual nature. This unwanted conduct includes comments that degrade or violates a person's dignity.
Employees are entitled to claim damages in a court of law in the event of discrimination.
Addressing Different Types of Discrimination
Notably, these laws prohibit not only direct discrimination (where one person is treated poorly than another in a similar situation based on the protected characteristics) but also indirect discrimination (where (where a neutral provision, criterion, or practice puts persons of a specific character at a particular disadvantage compared with others).
Practical Implications for Remote Tech Teams
For tech professionals and companies hiring remotely, these laws mean that the Polish workplace – physical or virtual – must adhere to these anti-discrimination laws. This includes hiring practices and the general work environment, pay, promotions, and termination practices. Missteps can result in common legal troubles and should be avoided at all costs.
Ensure Compliance in Poland with Skuad
Maintaining compliance with Poland's employment laws helps your organization avoid needless fines and penalties and cultivates a conducive work atmosphere.
Skuad, as an exceptional Employer of Record solution, enables organizations to hire contractors and employees across over 160 countries, compliantly, Poland included. Legal liabilities and fines are no longer a concern with Skuad, as the platform guarantees your organization's full compliance with each country's respective laws and norms.
Schedule a demo with Skuad to learn more.
What are the working time regulations in Poland?
The standard working hours in Poland are usually from 8 am to 4 pm or 9 am to 5 pm, with one hour of unpaid break daily. Also, employees are obliged to work 40 hours per week. Extended work hours beyond 40 hours are classified as overtime work.
How much does Poland pay per hour?
The minimum wages are 22.80 PLN per hour.