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#Alert: Work-life balance: proposed changes to the labour code


This August marks the deadline for the implementation of the EU directives concerning work-life balance and transparent and predictable working conditions in the EU. The aims of the directives are, respectively, to achieve equality between women and men in the labour market by supporting work-life balance for parents and ensuring more predictable employment.

The obligation to implement the directives calls for changes to the Labour Code. That’s why it would be advantageous for the employers to already begin to adopt new measures in their organizations. We present the most important of them below.

1.Employment contract for a trial period

The draft provides significant changes in the rules for concluding employment contracts for a trial period. The permissible duration of the contract for a trial period will depend on how long the parties intend to work together.

After the changes are introduced, it will be possible to conclude the employment contract for a trial period for no longer than:

  • 1 month – if you intend to conclude a fixed-term contract for less than 6 months,
  • 2 months – if you intend to conclude a fixed-term contract for at least 6 months and less than 12 months.

The parties will be able to extend the above periods by up to one month if it is justified by the type of work performed.

The above solution is controversial. Employers will not always be able to predict the duration of the intended employment, or they can simply change their minds while the trial period still lasts.

The parties will also be able to decide to extend the employment contract for a trial period by the duration of potential employee holiday leave and other justified absences from work, if applicable.

2. Information for newly hired employees

The draft also involves changes regarding the information on employment conditions that employers are required to provide to newly hired employees. The date to provide such information will be modified (employers will be obliged to provide it within 7 days from the date of allowing the employee to work), as well as its scope. Furthermore, employers will have to inform an employee about, for example:

  • possible breaks at work,
  • rules for overtime work,
  • employment termination procedure,
  • employee’s right to training provided by the employer,
  • rules of moving between different workplaces (if there is more than one).

Providing the required information will be simpler for employers as it could be given to employees in electronic form.

3. Additional employment

According to the draft, an employer will not be able to prohibit an employee from having an employment relationship with another employer or working for another employer on a different basis than the employment contract. However, it will not be applicable if the employer enters into a non-competition agreement with the employee.

4. Equal treatment in employment

Exercising employee rights under the Labour Code cannot constitute a reason for unequal treatment. An employee whose rights have been violated by the employer will be entitled to compensation in the amount not lower than the minimum remuneration for work, set out by separate provisions.

5. Carer’s leave

Employees will be entitled to a new type of leave – carer’s leave. They will be entitled to use up to 5 days in a calendar year to provide personal care or support to a family member or household member who requires a significant amount of care or support for serious medical reasons.

The application for this leave may be submitted by the employee in paper or electronic form, within 3 days before the planned beginning of the leave. The period of the carer’s leave will be counted towards the period of employment on which the employee’s rights and entitlements depend.

6. Exemption from work

Employees will be entitled to time off work for 2 days or 16 hours in a calendar year. They will be able to use it in extraordinary situations (caused by force majeure or urgent family matters). For the time of absence, employees will retain the right to remuneration equal to half of their normal remuneration for work.

7. Parenthood-related leave

The changes concern also maternity, parental and childcare leave and include, for example, extending protection for employees on maternity leave and leave on the terms of maternity leave and parental leave. Employers will not only be prohibited from terminating employment contracts with employees on parenthood-related leave but even from making arrangements for such termination(with some exceptions).

8. Application for change of employment conditions

An employee employed for at least 6 months will be allowed to submit an application to the employer in paper or electronic form once a calendar year for changing the type of work, type of employment contract to a permanent contract or for full-time employment. The employer will be required to reply and give reasons for the decision made no later than 1 month after receiving the application.

9. Prohibition of retaliatory measures

According to the draft, employers will also have new obligations related to the termination of employment contracts. If an employer terminates an employment contract with an employee who submitted the application referred to in clause 8 above, has an employment relationship with another employer or works for another employer on a different basis than the employment contract, or requested the employer to provide information about the employment conditions, the employer will have to prove that there were objective reasons for terminating the employment contract with such an employee or taking steps having an effect equivalent to the termination of the employment contract.

An employee who believes that for such reasons their employment contract for a trial period has been terminated or steps having an equivalent effect to the termination of the employment were taken, within 7 days will be entitled to request the employer to provide sound reasons for this termination or similar steps. The employer will be required to reply within 7 days.

If these provisions are breached, the employee will be entitled to compensation in the amount not lower than the minimum remuneration for work.


We will be happy to support you in the process of implementing changes at your organization. Please do not hesitate to contact us.


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