Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet (National Women’s Strike) from the perspective of labour law

28.10.2020

Strike. Despite its name, Wednesday’s protest action is not a strike. A strike consists in employees collectively refraining from performing the work in order to resolve a dispute with an employer concerning working conditions, wages or social benefits and trade union rights and freedoms. Wednesday’s protest is civic in nature and concerns constitutional rights and freedoms. For these reasons, participants in the protest do not exercise their right to abstain from work.

Holiday leave.  The purpose of holiday leave is, ex definitione, to rest from work and regenerate. Participation in a protest does not meet these requirements. When deciding to take leave in order to avoid negative consequences, it is worth telling the employer about the purpose of taking leave – an employer who, knowing the context, agrees to grant leave, will lose the opportunity to question its use. This also applies to leave on demand. It is worth remembering that in the latter case, it is not enough to apply for it – it is necessary to make sure that the employer will grant it (he has an obligation, but knowing that the purpose is incompatible with its purpose, he may refuse).

Unpaid leave. This restriction does not apply to unpaid leave. If your employer agrees to grant it upon request, you do not have to consider whether or not to inform your employer about the purpose of the request.

Release from the duty to work in order to handle personal matters. You can apply release from the duty to work for the purpose of personal matters. The nature of the protests that have been commented on suggests the appropriateness of using this very mechanism. Such release can cover a whole day or several hours. It must be worked over.

Exemption from the obligation to work.  An employer can agree to dismiss an employee from performing their duties, both with and without the right to remuneration.

Sick leave. You may be tempted to take sick leave. This is all the more so because, due to the prevailing pandemic, sick leave is granted by telephone. We do not comment on resorting to them. We advise against it.

Conclusion.  The most appropriate to the situation are exemptions from the obligation to work, release for personal matters or granting of unpaid leave or holiday leave when the purpose of its use is known to the employer. It is always important to observe the regulations.