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Legislators restrict the extension of fixed-term contracts

Date21 Dec 2015

Due to an adjustment to the Labour Code, the Polish Parliament has restricted the period of the conclusion of fixed-term contracts to 33 months.

By restricting the common practice, particularly among Polish employers, to employ the same workers over the years without justifying the reason for repeating fixed-term contracts (chain contracts), will, according to the Polish government, reinforce the position of workers, this employment practice has created a sense of lasting uncertainty, making long-term planning of life and work very difficult.

The amendment of the Act now specifies that the period of employment with constant temporary contracts between the identical employer and employee, should not exceed 33 months. Irrespective of the period, it is no longer allowed to have more than three fixed-term contracts. If a fourth employment contract is started, this will then automatically constitute a permanent employment by law. The period recognised in the Labour Code is a concession scheme. The unions initially commanded 18 to 24 months, with employers requesting a period of 48 months.

This new legislation will continue to allow exceptions to the restricted period, for example, regarding seasonal work, or if the employer can clarify to the National Labour Commission some clear reasons why. The notice periods refer to indefinite employment contracts and are dependent on the employment period:

  • 2 weeks-notice for a period of employment of less than 6 months;
  • 1 month notice for a period of employment between 6 months to 3 years;
  • 3 months’ notice for a period of employment which is more than 3 years.

This new directive comes into effect 6 months after its publication in The Journal of Legislative Acts. The Labour & Social Affairs Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz considers the new rule changes, together with a previously accepted law package, as the end of an era of so-called “garbage contracts” in Poland. This also contains the introduction of the responsibility of social security contributions on contracts for work labour – determined on the basis of civil contracts from the 1st January, 2016.

Source: Wirtschafts-Markt Polen (August 2015)