19 March 2024

Terms of employment and leave dimensions – as of 2024

Although 2024 is marked by upcoming changes to the invoicing system (KSeF), it’s always a good time to remind ourselves of basic principles from the Labor Code.

The legislature made several updates in the previous year that pertained to terms of employment and requirements for employers. Following the introduction of new regulations that govern remote work (dated April 7, 2023), the next step was to make changes to issues related to vacations, days off for caregiving, and contractual agreements.

The latest provisions of the Code were introduced by the Law on Amendments to the Labor Code and Certain Other Laws (hereinafter the Amendment Law). It implements two EU directives 2019/1152 and 2019/1158.

According to the 2023 legislation, the employer must inform the employee electronically or on paper of a range of information detailed in the body of the law. Among the most important we can find such terms of employment as hourly working hours, breaks, and overtime.

Not later than 7 days from the date of the employee’s admission to work, at least about:

  • the employee’s applicable daily and weekly working hours,
  • the daily and weekly working hours applicable to the employee,
  • if the employee is entitled to work breaks,
  • the daily and weekly rest to which the employee is entitled,
  • the rules on overtime work and compensation for it,
  • in the case of shift work – the rules for moving from shift to shift,
  • in the case of several places of work – the rules on movement between places of work,
  • other components of remuneration and benefits in cash or in kind to which the employee is entitled, other than those agreed in the employment contract,
  • the amount of paid leave to which the employee is entitled, in particular, vacation leave or, if it is not possible to determine it at the date of providing the employee with this information, the rules for determining and granting it,
  • the applicable rules for the termination of the employment relationship, including the formal requirements, the length of notice periods, and the time limit for appeal to the labor court or, if it is not possible to determine the length of notice periods on the date of providing the employee with this information, how to determine such notice periods,
  • the employee’s right to training, if the employer provides it, in particular about the general principles of the employer’s training policy,
  • the collective bargaining agreement or other collective agreement to which the employee is covered, and if a collective agreement is concluded outside the workplace by joint bodies or institutions – the name of such bodies or institutions,
  • if the employer has not established work regulations – the date, place, time, and frequency of payment of remuneration for work, night time, and the method adopted by the employer for employees to confirm their arrival and presence at work and justify their absence from work;

Within 30 days of the employee’s start date, the employer must provide information about the social security institution to which social security contributions will be paid and the related protection provided by the employer. This requirement does not apply if the employee has already chosen a social security institution.

Terms of employment – care leave

Current legislation allows care leave to provide personal care or support to a person who is a family member or resides in the same household when serious medical reasons are involved. The statutory dimension of such a form of leave is 5 days.

  • The application for care leave may be submitted on paper or electronically;
  • the application can be submitted no less than 1 day before the start of said leave;
  • the leave will be able to be taken either at one time or in parts;
  • the leave may cover only the employee’s working days as agreed in the contract;
  • the application must not disclose information about the health of the person for whom the employee provides personal care, but only the reason for the need to provide care;
  • the employee is not paid for the days spent on care leave, although the period of leave is included in the period of employment.

Additional days off for care and “force majeure”

According to the statutory understanding, “force majeure” in the context of terms of employment means an external event occurring outside the structure of the enterprise, impossible to foresee and prevent, extraordinary and sudden.

After the entry into force of the amendment, an employee is entitled to a leave of absence from work of 2 days or 16 hours during a calendar year due to force majeure for urgent family matters caused by illness or accident, if the employee’s immediate presence is necessary. 

During the period of this leave of absence, the employee retains the right to be paid half salary. The application must be submitted no later than the day the exemption is used.

In non-standard situations, such as when the employee is employed part-time hourly, the size of the exemption will be determined proportionally. An incomplete hour of sick leave shall be rounded up to the nearest full hour.

Terms of employment – trial period contracts

New exceptions have been added to the rules governing probationary contracts. While contracts are still limited to 3 months, they can be used to assess an employee’s qualifications in certain circumstances:

  • the parties may agree in a probationary contract that the contract is extended by vacation time, as well as by the time of the employee’s other excused absence from work if such absences occur;
  • the parties may conclude a contract for a shorter period:
    • 1 month – if they plan to conclude another employment contract for a fixed term of less than 6 months
    • 2 months – if they plan to conclude another employment contract of 6 to 12 months.

In addition, the parties to the contract may from now on extend the duration of a probationary employment contract once, but by no more than 1 month in case of a legitimate need. 

The amendment also limits the possibility of entering into probationary contracts with the same employee more than once. Currently, this is only possible if the employee is to be hired to perform a different type of work.

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ARPI Accounting is a part of ARPI Group, a Norwegian holding which started to operate in Poland in 2001.