Recent employment law changes in Poland

By Karolina Stawicka


Limitations in hiring temporary workers

On 1 June 2017, the amendment to the Act on the Employment of Temporary Workers of 9 July 2003 entered into force, providing a number of new regulations for temporary employment agencies and employer-users.

The key change is the limits employer-users will face when recruiting temporary workers, i.e., temporary works will only be able to work for a maximum of 18 months within a period of 36 consecutive months. However, this limit may be extended to 36 months if the work which is performed continuously by the temporary worker involves tasks which were performed by an absent worker who is employed by the employer-user

Further, temporary employment agencies will also be obliged to determine the whole period of work performed to date for the employer-user based on an employment contract or civil law contract. Temporary workers will be obliged to provide certificates of employment or other documents which evidence the periods of temporary work performed.

The amendment also strengthens and broadens the criminal liability of temporary employment agencies and employer-users, with possible fines of PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000 for breaches of the regulations.

Changes to the Social Security System (ZUS)

Equally important is the revision of the Social Security System Act. In May 2017, without prior consultation with the employers' associations, the Polish Parliament passed a bill allowing the Social Security Institution (ZUS) to independently determine the company obliged to pay any outstanding social security contributions for employees. This new rule has raised some major and justified concerns among employers who fear that ZUS will arbitrarily demand payment from key contractors of companies (subcontractors) which fail to deduct employers' share in contributions. This controversial amendment binds since 13 June 2017.

New Occupational Health and Safety rules for pregnant and breastfeeding women

The Regulation on arduous, hazardous or detrimental-to-health works that may have an adverse impact on pregnant and breastfeeding women's health has been replaced, and the new Regulation entered into force on 1 May 2017.

The new Regulation only applies to pregnant and breastfeeding women, whereas the old one applied to all women. In particular, many working standards have changed, i.a., weight classes, thermal comfort (PMV indicators), and admissible decibel volume in the workplace etc.

One of the changes may in particular affect pregnant office employees. Under the old rules, pregnant women were not allowed to work in front of computer screens for more than four hours a day, which was problematic in terms of organising work. Now such employees are allowed to work throughout the whole eight-hour day, with compulsory work breaks 10-minutes each hour, in which they can perform other non-computer related tasks.

Under the new Regulation, employers are obliged to adapt their internal regulations (work rules) to the currently binding provisions. If not they could face fines of between PLN 1,000 and PLN 30,000. Further, employees will not be bound by any unchanged internal rules and will be able to apply the old more privileged ones.