The end of the year brought many changes to the labor law in Poland. What's new for employers? We present part one of a three-part newsletter dedicated to amendments to the labor law. Next week you will receive part two of the newsletter summarizing the remaining amendments and in two weeks' time we will provide you with part three specifying the amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure and their effects on employers.

The amendment to the Labor Code which had been initiated by the President has taken effect as of 7 September 2019. The regulation introduces a number of changes that are beneficial to employees and which are to strengthen the employees' position vis-à-vis the employers. The amendments include:

Open list of discrimination indicators

The discrimination criteria set forth in Article 18(3a) § 1 of the Labor Code are divided into two separate categories. The first category relates to personal features of employees whereas the second category relates to employment itself. The previous wording of the legal provision provided that other discriminatory criteria not specified in the first category could have been in fact included in that first category, however, the criteria listed in the second category were considered as exhaustive. Following the amendment, also these other criteria, not specified in the Labor Code, could be considered by the court as unlawfully differentiating the terms and conditions of employment. Employees will have the right to request the court to determine that the discrimination also happened for reasons other than the ones expressly specified by the legal provision.

Pursuit of mobbing claims

The new provisions give more persons the right to seek compensation for mobbing. Under the previously binding provisions, only employees who terminated their employment contracts due to mobbing could seek compensation. Following the amendment, an employee may also seek compensation if he/she experienced mobbing, but remains employed or it is the employer who terminated the employment contract.

Employment certificates

Significant changes also affect employment certificates. Employers will be required to issue employment certificates on the same day on which the employment relationship is terminated - not "with no delay" as was the case under the previously binding law. There is, however, an exception to this rule. If an employment certificate cannot be issued for objective reasons (e.g. a given employee is absent from work on the day when the employment was terminated or the employment was terminated on a non-working day e.g. on Saturday etc.), the employer may deliver the certificate to the employee or a person authorized by the employee within 7 days of the lapse of the said date.

Please note that the amendment provides that a fine ranging from PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000 may be imposed on an employer who fails to issue the employment certificate within the period specified in the Labor Code.

In addition, the employee is given more time to request the employer to correct the employment certificate and, if the employer refuses to do so, the employee is given more time to bring action to a labor court. The deadline has been expanded from 7 to 14 days.

New provisions specify also actions that an employee may take, if no employment certificate is issued. In this case the employee may file for the court to impose an obligation on the employer to issue the certificate. If it is not possible (e.g. the employer no longer exists), the court will hand down a ruling which will serve as an employment certificate.

If any of these changes are of particular interest to you, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss them with you in more detail.

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