This is part three of the article presenting amendments to Polish labor law. This part reviews amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and their effects on employers. Part one is avaliable here and part two is available here.
The Code of Civil Procedure was amended by the Act of 4 July 2019. Most of the amendments will take effect on 7 November 2019, however, some of them (including the ones relating to court fees in civil law cases) were enacted already on 21 August 2019.
What will change in labor law proceedings and social insurance proceedings?
Continued employment on the basis of rulings handed down by the court of first instance
An important change introduced by the amendment will include an option to impose on the employer an obligation to continue to employ an employee until the proceedings are finally concluded. The court will have the right to impose the obligation, at the request of the employee, in the final ruling handed down by the court of first instance. Previously the court could have imposed such an obligation on the employer only if the court found the termination of the employment contract as ineffective, i.e. in a situation in which the ruling was handed down during the notice period. In view of the fact that more often than not employment proceedings are very lengthy, the provision was rarely implemented. The amendment provides also for a possibility to impose this obligation also in a ruling reinstating an employee to work, namely in the ruling which is handed down if the employment relationship has already been terminated.
The institution of a preparatory meeting is a novelty introduced by the amendment. Its main objective is to encourage the parties to settle or start mediation. If, however, it is not possible, the objective of the preparatory meeting is to plan the hearing in order to make it more efficient and speed up the hearing of the case. The preparatory meeting will also enable to set a time schedule for the proceedings. To this end, the court (along with the parties) will set the hearing schedule. Another objective of a preparatory meeting is to cure any deficiencies of the statement of claim and clarify any material circumstances, e.g. specify in detail the content of the claim.
Changes to court fees in employment-related cases
Another thing that has changed are the rules of payment of court fees by employees. In labor law cases no court fee will be charged to employees in cases in which the value of the object of litigation does not exceed PLN 50,000. If the disputed amount is higher, a pro rata fee will be charged to both employees and employers on all briefs subject to the fee.
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