Changes To The Contract
Any changes to the employment contract must be agreed by the employer and the employee.
The employer may change the terms of employment by giving the employee written notice of termination regarding the terms and conditions of employment and simultaneously proposing new conditions of employment. If an employee does not accept the new conditions, then his/her contract terminates at the end of the notice period. If the employee does not inform the employer until half of the employee’s notice period has passed that the new conditions are rejected, then the new conditions are deemed to be accepted. If the change does not affect the basic elements of terms and conditions of employment, does not result in a reduction in the employee’s salary and does not last for longer than 3 calendar months then it is not necessary to make a formal change to the written conditions of the employee’s contract.
Changes to the employment contract may also result from a mutual agreement between the parties of the employment relationship.
Change In Ownership Of The Business
The change in the ownership of the business does not result in an interruption of the employment relationship. If the change of the ownership occurs as a result of the transfer of the work establishment, then the seller and the buyer shall inform the employees or the trade unions (where they operate) in writing about the change of ownership no later than 30 days before the transfer. If the transferor or the transferee intends to undertake actions affecting employment conditions of their employees and there are trade unions operating in their working establishments, they should commence negotiations with these trade unions in order to conclude an agreement in this scope within 30 days from the date when information on such actions is provided. If the agreement is not concluded within the above deadline due to the parties' inability to agree on the contents thereof, the employer shall take actions in matters regarding employment conditions considering the arrangements made with the trade union organizations in the course of negotiations on the agreement.
After transfer of the company, the new employer becomes a party to the employment relationship by law. The new employer becomes liable for employees’ claims resulting form employment relationship. Where only part of the business is transferred, both the old and the new employer are jointly and severally liable for the obligations arising from the employment relationship, which came into existence before the transfer.
Social Security Contributions
There are obligatory social security contributions towards pension insurance, disability pension insurance, accident insurance, sickness insurance and health insurance. Only employees are obliged to contribute to sickness and health insurance and only employers are obliged to contribute to accident insurance, Labour and Solidarity Fund and Guaranteed Employment Benefit Fund. The other contributions are financed by both, the employer and the employee in parts.
All the social security contributions are calculated, deducted and paid by the employer. Failure to make social insurance contributions can be penalised with a fine.
Accidents At Work
The employer is obliged to pay for the employees the accident insurance contributions to the national Social Security Institution. The employer is also responsible for safety in the workplace. Where an accident occurs in the workplace, the employer must identify the reasons for the accident, provide first aid, and undertake necessary measures to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future. If the employee loses the ability to work as a consequence of the accident at work, he/she is entitled to a pension financed by the Social Security Fund.
Discipline And Grievance
If an employee fails to comply with established organization and work order, health and safety regulations, fire safety regulations as well as the accepted method of confirming the presence and arrival at work and justification of absence from work, the employer may apply a warning or reprimand. In certain cases, the employee may be punished by the imposition of a minor financial penalty. The employee shall be informed about such punishment in writing. The punishment must be enforced within 2 weeks from the day in which the employer becomes aware of the misconduct, but no later than 3 months of the employee’s misconduct. The employee has the right to object to the punishment to the employer and to the court.
Employees have equal rights in respect of the performance of the same duties. Any discrimination in the context of employment, whether direct or indirect, including in particular in respect of sex, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political views, trade union membership, ethnic origin, creed, sexual orientation or employment for a definite or an indefinite period of time or on a full or part time basis, is prohibited. The above catalogue of grounds for discrimination is not exhaustive. Equal treatment applies to the hiring of employees, the conditions of employment, promotion and the access to training. Direct and indirect discrimination is prohibited. Employer is also obliged to counteract harassment.
Compulsory Training Obligations
The employer is obliged to organise training for the employees as it comes to the occupational health and safety rules in the workplace. The training shall take place within working hours, at the cost of the employer, before an employee starts performing his/her duties. The training shall be repeated periodically (with some exceptions).
Employer’s can offset an employee’s earnings but only when provided for by law or based on written consent of the employee. Deductions which do not require the employee’s consent concern amounts executed on the basis of enforceable titles, disciplinary fines and advance payments from the employer. The employer can deduct wages for unjustified absence from work. Other debts (including those credited by the employer) can only be deducted with the employee’s written consent. Depending on the kind of debt there are limits to the amounts which can be deducted, and part of the salary is protected from the deduction regardless of any legal title of a creditor.
Payments For Maternity And Disability Leave
During sick leave the employee receives a sick pay, which amounts to 80% of his/her usual salary. In certain cases (e.g. accident at work) a sick pay may amount to 100% of employee’s salary.
In total, the employee may be granted at least 52 weeks of paid leave (maternity leave plus parental leave) in order to take care of their child. They can receive maternity pay in the amount of:
- 100% of their salary during maternity leave if they have not applied for parental leave,
- 80% of the salary for the duration of both maternity leave and parental leave if the application is submitted no later than 21 days after the child's birth.
- 100% of the salary during maternity leave and 60% during parental leave if the application has not been submitted within the 21-day limit.
The employer is not obliged to provide insurance other than social security. However, an obligation to insure may be imposed on the employer in certain kinds of business. The employees may conclude a contract with an insurance company without the assistance of their employer.
Absence For Military Or Public Service Duties
Since there is a professional army in Poland, the need for the employer to allow employees’ leave for military service is diminished significantly. Employees are entitled to take leave for public service duties.
Works Councils or Trade Unions
A works council may operate at an employer with at least 50 employees (taken as an average over a period of six months). After reaching this threshold, information about the right to establish a works council has to be immediately provided to the employees, who may request the employer to organise elections for the works council. Such a request is binding on an employer if it is made by at least 10% of the employees. When a works council has been elected and is operating, the employer is obliged to inform and/or consult with the works council about the following issues: (i) the activities and financial situation of the employer and any expected changes in that respect; (ii) the state, structure and expected changes in the level of employment, as well as activities which are intended to maintain the level of employment; and (iii) actions which may cause significant changes in the organization of work or the basis for employment.
Members of a works council are protected against termination of employment during their term of office in the works council.
A trade union is appointed to represent and defend the rights, and professional and social interests of employees. A trade union represents the individual interests of its members. However, in respect of collective interests, it represents all employees, regardless of trade union membership (including, for example, in respect of negotiations regarding the content of collective bargaining agreements or during collective disputes). The trade union may also agree to represent an employee who is not affiliated with it if he/she asks for protection in respect of a particular matter and, for such purpose, the person will be treated as a full member of the union.
Each trade union with at least 10 members is obliged to provide the employer with information on the total number of its members. Such information should be provided every six months, by the 10th day of the month following 30 June and 31 December. If such information is not provided, certain rights afforded to trade unions with at least 10 members do not apply until such information is provided.
Some actions undertaken by an employer require prior information and / or consultation with trade unions including, among other things the introduction of remuneration rules or amendments to them or the issue of special rules in respect of group dismissals.
Employees’ Right To Strike
Where there is a collective dispute, employees can declare a strike if the employer ignores their demands. A strike can only take place 14 days after the declaration of a collective dispute.
Employees On Strike
Where an employee goes on strike, in accordance with the statutory provisions, the employee’s actions do not constitute a breach of his/her employee’s duties. The employee keeps the right to receive social security benefits and other rights resulting from the employment relation, apart from the right to remuneration for the time of strike.
Employers’ Responsibility For Actions Of Their Employees
The employer is responsible for the employees’ actions which are performed in relation with the business activity of the enterprise. However, an employee is responsible for the damage caused to the employer. The employer shall be required to prove the employee’s responsibility.