I. Amendments to the labour law

1. Increase in the minimum salary

The minimum monthly gross salary was increased to PLN 1,600 (around EUR 400) as of date January 2013.

This development will also lead to increases in: the maximum statutory severance payment for dismissal for reasons not attributable to the employees (15 times the current minimum monthly salary); the bonus for working at night (20% of the hourly rate from the minimum monthly salary); the minimum remuneration for downtime; the minimum compensation for discrimination or mobbing at work; and the amount against which offsets from an employee’s monthly remuneration is allowed.

Legal basis:

  • Act on the minimum salary as of 10 October 2002 (Journal of Laws 2000, No. 200, item 1679 as amended);
  • Regulation on the minimum remuneration rate in 2013 as of 14 September 2012 (Journal of Laws 2012, No.1026);
  • Art. 8 item 4 of the Act on the special rules of dismissal for reasons not attributable to the employees as of 13 March 2003 (Journal of Laws, No. 90 , item 844, as amended);
  • Art. 1518 § 1, art. 81 § 1, 183d, art. 943 § 4 of the Labour code (Journal of Laws 1998, No. 21, item 94, as amended).

2. Abolition of the obligation to notify regional labour inspector and competent state sanitary inspector

As of 17 January 2013, the notification obligation under the art. 209 of the Labour code imposed on the employer commencing business activity to inform the competent regional labour inspector and a competent state sanitary inspector of the location, type and scope of such business activity within the 30 days of its commencement has been abolished. The above obligation had also been imposed also on employers changing the location, type or scope of their business activity, especially in relation to changes to the technology or profiles of production if such change could increase health risks for employees. Following the abolition of art. 209 of the Labour Code, the art. 283 § 2 item 1 was consequently abolished too. This provision imposed a fine of PLN 1,000 to 30,000 on employers for not fulfilling the notification obligation.

Legal basis:

  • Art. 1 of the Act on the amendments in the Labour code and some other acts as of 9 November 2012 (Journal of Laws 2013, No. 0, item 2, as amended).

3. New equivalent factor

In 2013, the equivalent factor, which is used for determining and paying the employee the equivalent for the holiday unused in kind, amounts to 20.92 for full-time employees. For part-time employees, the equivalent factor is determined proportionally to the working time, e.g. for the employee working on a ¾ time basis, the equivalent factor amounts to 15.69. It should be underlined that the specific equivalent factor that is used is always for the year which created a right to it, both for the current and outstanding holidays. E.g., if the employee did not use 6 days of outstanding holiday in 2011, 10 days of outstanding holiday in 2012, and the right to the equivalent was created in 2013 due to the dismissal occurring in that year, then the equivalent factor valid in 2013 is to be used.

Legal basis:

  • Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy on the detailed rules of granting a holiday, determining and paying remuneration for the time of the holiday and the monetary equivalent for the holiday as of 8 January 1997 (Journal of Laws 1997.2.14 as amended).

II.  Proposed amendments to the labour law

1. Maternity leave and parental leave

The introduction of the rules on prolonging the maternity leave up to 12 months in total (so called parental leave) is planned for September 2013. The maternity leave would last for 20 weeks, whereas the additional maternity leave in case of the one new-born child – 6 weeks, so the same as it is regulated currently.

Once the maternity leave comes to an end, one of the parents, upon a motion submitted to the employer, would be entitled to an additional 26 weeks of parental leave. The project assumes that during the first 6 months of the leave, the maternity benefit would be paid in the full amount, whereas during the subsequent 6 months only 60% of the benefit would be paid, unless the motion for the parental leave would be submitted before the childbirth. In such case, the maternity leave would be paid at the level of 80%.

Legal basis:

  • The project of the act on the amendments in the Labour code and the act on the monetary benefits from the social insurance in case of illness and motherhood as of 8 November 2012.

2. Childcare leave

The proposed amendments refer to the manner of using upbringing leave and contain the following changes:

  • Upbringing leave would amount to 37 months and it could be used in any proportion by both parents,
  • Within the limit indicated above, both parents would be entitled to 1 month of leave non-transferable to the partner, which means that if one partner does not use the month to which they are individually entitled, it will be lost.
  • The possibility of dividing the upbringing leave into a maximum 5 parts, provided that each of these parts lasts for at least 1 month (currently, childcare leave can be split into at most 4 parts),
  • The possibility of using the upbringing leave for a period of 4 months by both parents at the same time (currently, the limit is 3 months),
  • The suspension of the limitation period for holiday leave claims during the time of the upbringing leaves. The aim of this change is to prevent the loss of the claim for a holiday leave by the employee who is on the upbringing leave on a long-lasting and continuous basis (such an occurrence is possible under the current rules).

Legal basis:

  • The project of the act on the amendments in the Labour code as of 6 November 2012.

3. Flexible working hours

The provisions of Labour code will govern the acceptability of use of flexible working hours, although these have already been functioning within some enterprises. The project assumes determining the working schedules based on different hours of beginning of the work on the working days of employees and determining the time interval, during which an employee should start working.

Legal basis:

  • The project of the act on the amendments in the Labour code and the Act on trade unions as of 14 December 2012.

4. Prolonged settlement period

The proposed changes assume the possibility of prolonging the maximum settlement period of working hours from 4 to 12 months in every working time system, provided that the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The existence of the objective or technological reasons or reasons referring to organization of the working time,
  • The procedure of introducing in the collective labour agreement with the company trade union organization or in the work regulations agreed with such organization. If there is no company trade union organization operating within the particular employer, then the prolongation must be in agreement with the employees’ representatives chosen pursuant to the procedure adopted within such employer.

This solution would make it possible to safeguard jobs and prevent employee dismissals during periods of general economic slowdown or as a result of the individual difficulties faced by entrepreneurs.

It is also being proposed that the rates of the allowance for overtime work be reduced from 100% to 80% and from 50% to 30%.

Legal basis:

  • The project of the act on the amendments in the Labour code and the Act on trade unions as of 14 December 2012.