The amendment to the Labour Code that came into force on 7 September 2019 introduced significant changes in employee rights. They are summarised below with information how they will affect the rights of employees and obligations of employers.
This Labour Code amendment covers:
- Discrimination and equal treatment – the amendment opened a list of the so called discrimination factors. This means that any kind of unequal treatment of employees that cannot be justified by objective reasons may be treated as discrimination;
- Workplace bullying – with new rules employees may claim damages also during the employment period, and not after its termination, as was the case before;
- Special rights of employee’s immediate family – this group were given some of the special parental entitlements, including:
- protection from dismissal during maternal/paternal leave;
- option to use annual leave immediately following maternal leave (employer will have to approve such annual leave),
- should the contract be unlawfully terminated during the protection period, the right to claim remuneration from the employer for the time without work (after return to work);
- Work certificates:
- period to request correction of a work certificate was extended from 7 to 14 days;
- the time when work certificate must be issued to the employee was specified and generally it must be the date of termination or expiration of employment,
- late provision of work certificate is now an offence subject to a fine from PLN 1,000 to 30,000;
- the list of claims of employees against employers was expanded (demand to issue a work certificate or determine the entitlement to such certificate);
- Expiration of claims arising from employment – courts will not consider expiration of employee’s or employer’s claims automatically. As a result, expiration of claims will have to be specifically raised in court.
The above changes are generally positive – in most part they are specifying rules that in the past gave rise to doubts in their interpretation. At the same time, they do not actually impose any new obligations on employers related to the above entitlements. Obviously, as an employer you will have to adapt your internal regulations (like employee handbooks) and some other documents (work certificate – the instruction regarding the option to have it corrected).