Legal Alert – Changes in the labour law. Employers, are you ready?

On 6 June 2019, the Act of 26 April 2019 on Amendment of the Labour Code and Some Other Acts was published. Most of the amended provisions will come into effect on 7 September 2019.

The Labour Code amendment is aimed at facilitating the employees’ implementation of their rights related to equal treatment, protection of persons using parental rights, mobbing, issuing employment certificates and the period of limitation of claims stemming from the employment relationship

The amendment covers:

  • Anti-discrimination regulations
  • Equating the rights of an employee that is other immediate family member on maternity or parental leave with those of an employee that is a father upbringing a child
  • Anti-mobbing regulations
  • Issuance of certificates of employment

Changes in anti-discrimination regulations

The introduced regulations aim at creating an open catalogue of grounds of discrimination. In accordance with the new provisions, any unequal treatment of employees not justified by objective reasons will be regarded as discrimination.

Equating the rights of an employee that is other immediate family member on maternity or parental leave with the rights of an employee that is a father upbringing a child

On 2 January 2016 entered into force the Act of 24 July 2015 on Amendment of the Labour Code and Some Other Acts (Dz. U. 2015, item 1268, as amended). It was aimed at facilitating the reconciliation of work and family life. The act extended the circle of persons entitled to maternity leave and parental leave to include an immediate family member other than a father upbringing a child.

In view of granting the right to use maternity leave and parental leave also to employees other than members of the immediate family, such employees were provided with special protection against termination of employment. Moreover, they were given the same entitlements as those enjoyed by female employees and employees-fathers upbringing a child who are using these leaves.

Thus, the amended regulations confer upon the above-mentioned persons the following rights:

  • protection under provisions on remuneration payable to them after reinstatement,
  • compensation for violation of provisions on termination of fixed-term contracts,
  • the right to apply for a leave immediately after maternity leave,
  • special protection that eliminates the possibility of terminating or giving a notice of termination with reference to an employment contract of a person on maternity leave.

Changes in anti-mobbing law

Currently binding provisions that regulate the possibility of applying for compensation as a result of termination of an employment contract due to mobbing, limit the circle of persons entitled to claim compensation only to those employees who terminated the employment relationship.

In the opinion of the legislator, it is unjustified to make the ability to seek compensation for mobbing dependent on a prior termination of the employment relationship by an employee. In such a situation, an employee who is a mobbing victim is unable to effectively seek compensation if it is the employer that terminated the employment relationship.

As viewed by the legislator, the current regulation on mobbing does not provide all employees with equal protection. Therefore, the amendment supplements the existing provisions of the Labour Code with the possibility of claiming compensation from the employer also in a situation where the employee did not terminate the employment relationship, but incurred damage as a result of mobbing.

Changes concerning certificates of employment

The new regulations change the deadline for issuing a work certificate by the employer in a situation where the employer does not intend to establish a subsequent employment relationship with the employee within 7 days from the date of termination or expiry of the previous employment relationship. In accordance with the provisions currently in force, an employee who does not accept contents of a work certificate issued by the employer may demand its rectification. The procedure for rectifying a work certificate consists of the following two steps:

  1. requesting that the employer rectifies the certificate within 7 days,
  2. where the request is not accepted – applying to the labour court for the certificate rectification within 7 days from the notification of refusal to rectify the certificate of employment by the employer.

Another amendment provided for by the act is an extension – from 7 to 14 days – of the period for applying for a work certificate rectification and for demanding such rectification by the labour court.

Moreover, added were also new criminal provisions regulating liability for offences against employee rights. In accordance with them, a person who fails to fulfil the obligation to provide an employee with an employment certificate within the prescribed time limit is liable to a fine of PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000.

Please, let us know if our Law Firm could be of assistance with regard to the above-mentioned matters or adjusting your internal policies to the new provisions.

Kancelaria D.Dobkowski sp.k. offers legal advice on all aspects of labour law.