Today we will continue the thread regarding the changes in the Polish Labour Code from 2023. The previous article from this series (click) dealt with changes in the labor code regarding remote working and the possibility of performing sobriety tests by the employer. This time, we will focus on changes with annual leave/holidays and a very interesting issue regarding the possibility of requesting information about employment conditions in the company – so called “Disclosure of salary”.
- Current leave for new parents
- Parental leave (Urlop rodzicielski)
- Carers’ leave (Urlop opiekuńczy)
- Days off due to force majeure (Wolne z tytułu siły wyższej)
- Days off in case of unexpected situations – comparison
- Disclosure of salary
Leave for parents
From the beginning, a word of explanation regarding the definition of leave in Poland related to the birth or adoption of children. There are 3 main types of leave/holidays:
- Maternity leave (Macierzyński) – mainly affects the mother and equates to 20 weeks off. It is paid 100% or 80%. The mother can conditionally pass 6 weeks of her maternity leave to the father of the baby. The father receives in this way so called paternity “Tacierzyński”.
- Parental leave – applies to both parents and it equals 32 weeks off. It is paid 80% or 60%.
- Childrearing leave – applies to both parents, it equals 36 months, but it is unpaid!
I must admit that the original model of regulations and exceptions for these holidays is quite extensive. Therefore, I will try to give below a highly concentrated knowledge pill. For those who want to read more, I will leave a link (click) to the official state website dealing with these changes. In practice, you only need to know that as a mother in the case of maternity leave, you are guaranteed for 20 weeks with full payment of your entire salary (100% from the full-time contract), unless:
- You will apply for maternity and parental leave (together) up to 21 days after birth. Then you will be paid 80% of your salary throughout the year.
- If you are late with the application, you will receive 100% for the first 20 weeks, and on parental leave only 60% of the salary.
None of these exceptions have anything to do with regular annual workers’ leave. These are separate and independent days off. Nevertheless, they can be combined with each other. Employee annual leave is 26 days off if you have worked for more than 10 years in total, or 20 days if you have worked for less than 10 years in total. So, now we are fully up to date with this knowledge, we can move on to the next paragraph.
The amendment to the provisions in this area concerns the introduction of the EU Parental Directive, which will ultimately aim to extend parental leave from 32 weeks to a maximum of 41 weeks in the case of the birth of one child and from 34 weeks to 43 weeks in the case of the birth of more than one child. That’s 9 weeks more to use and have with your child.
Currently, if you work full-time, you have the option of using a maximum of 16 weeks of this leave at a later date. Which means, not directly after your childbirth. According to the changes, you will be able to apply for parental leave, which will be granted once or in a maximum of 5 separate parts. And this, in turn, means that the changes in the regulations will allow you to take parental leave at any time, but no longer than until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 6 and no more than in 5 separate parts. Personally, I think that this is a good change. Parents should have more time for their children.
During the calendar year, you are also entitled to carer’s leave to provide personal care or support to a person who requires such care or support for serious medical reasons and:
- A family member, or
- live in the same household.
You can use this type of leave once or in parts. The length of the holiday is 5 days, and it is unpaid. Important! As a member of the family, we consider a son, daughter, mother, father or spouse. Leave will be granted at the employee’s request, submitted via paper or electronic form within a period not shorter than 1 day before the start of using this leave.
In what cases can you take such leave? Let’s use a specific example. You’ve used up or planned all the days of regular annual leave, but it turns out that your spouse, son or dad will have surgery and needs support for the next few days right after the procedure. This is an example of a rather random situation when you can take this type of leave.
Days off due to force majeure
The next type of time off that has reached the pool of possible days to be used is leave from work due to force majeure in urgent family matters caused by illness or accident. The length of the exemption is 2 days or 16 hours during a calendar year. An employee benefiting from this exemption will retain the right to half of his salary. As in the case of leave on demand, the employee will submit a request in every available form.
Days off in case of unexpected situations – comparison
As well as leave on demand, carers’ leave, days off due to force majeure and ordinary sick leave are types of time off in rather unexpected situations. The definitions themselves are quite confusing, so I will try to organize it a bit with this table:
|Leave type||Paid||Number of days||Condition of use|
|Sick leave||80%||Not applicable||L4 issued by a doctor|
|Leave on demand||100%||4 days a year (subtracted from regular available annual leave days)||Informing the employer and receiving his/her approval|
|Carers’ leave||Unpaid||5 days a year||Application in paper or electronic form within a period not shorter than 1 day before the start of taking this leave|
|Force majeure leave||50%||2 days or |
16 hours a year
|Informing the employer and receiving his/her approval|
Disclosure of Salary – Polish Labour Code
It’s time for the “Creme de la crème” in this article. Rumors about the transparency of the salary in companies among employees have been appearing on the Internet for several days already. One of the most frequently asked questions is:
“Can I ask my boss how much my colleague earns from the company in the same position?”
Well, no. Salary transparency stems from new EU rules that aim to prevent gender pay inequalities in the first place. You have the right to obtain information from your employer about the rates among employees doing the same work. The employer, at the employee’s request, will have to provide such information, also when it comes to the number of wages broken down by gender. What’s more, the employer will not be able to oblige the employee to maintain secrecy about the amount of his remuneration. However, you will not be able to ask how much exactly your colleague earns. This, in turn, is private information.
Thanks to the transparency of information about rates, you will be able to check whether the salary you receive is adequate for the position. If not, this knowledge may be the basis for making claims against the employer. After the new regulations come in to force, the employee will be able to assert his/her rights and apply for compensation, primarily compensating for the difference in remuneration. Wait a minute… “After entering”?
Well, yes. The new rules were adopted by the European Parliament on 30 March 2023. The directive still has to be voted on by the Council of the European Union. However, state members still have 3 years to prepare national regulations that will correspond to the EU directive. Therefore, you will have to wait a little longer for the disclosure of salaries in Poland.
Summary of Polish Labour Code
The issues of holidays and their conditions as well as profitability have become slightly complicated. Which does not mean that they have changed for the worse. It is rather a good change, which, if properly used, should bring a lot of good to the whole society. After all, a rested employee with whom has found the right balance is a more productive employee. And at the end of the day, each of us should want to work smarter and more efficiently, not longer.
As for the transparency of remuneration, we can still wait for the effects of the change that the European Union is introducing. Nevertheless, if you think that your salary is underestimated, but you do not know how to check in which range it should fit, I encourage you to use a portal such as wynagrodzenia.pl (click), which will allow you to refer to the current conditions on the labor market.
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Special thanks to Eamon Gosney, who has helped with proofreading of this article.