Polish Employment Contracts
Foreign companies hiring employees in Poland must operate within a framework of legislation, collective agreements, and European Union (EU) directives that provide safeguards and entitlements for the workforce.
Most aspects of employment legislation in Poland are covered by the Polish Constitution and the Labor Code, which was implemented in 1974 and is periodically updated and amended. The Employment Rights Act deals with contracts. The State Labor Inspectorate (SLI) supervises compliance with regulations and instigates prosecutions where rules are ignored.
A minority of employees in Poland are covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs), which operate mainly at company and workplace level. Where in place, CBAs can improve statutory minimums but not undercut them.
Employment Contracts in Poland
Apart from the specific terms, employees must be given their formal written contract no later than the first day of employment. In the absence of a formal contract, a written agreement must be given to the employee before the first day.
Although there are no legal requirements for the language used in a contract, the terms must be fully understood by all the parties, whatever their nationality or native tongue. Mandatory information required for all contracts includes identities and addresses of all parties, employment start date, place, and type of work, working hours, annual leave, notice periods, type of contract and any trial period contract.
Generally, the standard contract is open-ended and indefinite. The Labor Code allows fixed-term contracts only in certain cases and they cannot exceed a total of three over 33 months. A trial period contract is separate and precedes the formal employment contract.
The main types of employment contract are:
- Open-ended, Permanent, Indefinite Employment Contracts: This typical type of contract can be terminated by mutual agreement; by either employer or employee giving notice; by either of the parties without giving notice. The employer can terminate the contract only by complying with the Labor Code and by giving specific reasons, in writing, for terminating.
- Fixed-term Employment Contracts: These are signed for a specific period, but automatically becomes open-ended if it is renewed a third time in a period of 33 months. Otherwise, the contract ends at the specified time without the employer required to give notice. These terms also apply to a fixed contract tied to a specific project but will also become open-ended if it is renewed a third time.
- Probation Period Employment Contracts: This contract type pre-dates a full employment contract and cannot exceed three months. The contract can be terminated by mutual consent, but not unilaterally. Notice periods are three days, seven days or 14 days depending on the length of the trial period.
- Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs): Collective bargaining and trade union agreements cover a minority of workers in Poland, in such areas as wages, working hours, notice periods, overtime, general working conditions and vacations. Such agreements overwrite other statutory minimums and provide a higher level of benefits and operate mainly at company and workplace level. They are governed by the Labor Code.