Littler Global Guide - Poland - Q1 2022

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Polish Special Legislation for Russo-Ukrainian War Refugees Is in Place

New Legislation Enacted

Authors: Robert Stępień, Partner; Miłosz Awedyk, Partner, and Jakub Grabowski, Associate – PCS | Littler

The Russian invasion in Ukraine provoked an unprecedented refugee crisis, as never seen before in the region since World War II. In just one month, 4.2 million people have fled Ukraine. Since the beginning of the offensive on February 24, 2022, almost 2.5 million refugees entered Poland to seek safety from Russian aggression. This forced Polish authorities to adopt emergency legislation that would regulate the legal status of such enormous group of people (Act of 12 March 2022 on Aid to Ukrainian Citizens with Regard to an Armed Conflict in the Territory of that State).

Accordingly, all Ukrainian citizens who arrived in Poland on or after February 24, 2022, are considered legal immigrants without the need to obtain any type of permit/refugee status. They can legally stay in the territory of Poland for 18 months from the beginning of war (i.e., until August 24, 2023). Until that day, if they wish to stay here longer, they need to file an application for a residence permit/refugee status. All Ukrainian citizens have a duty to register their entry to Poland within 60 days from entry.

Ukrainian citizens are eligible to obtain PESEL (National Electronic Identification Number). This allows them to receive financial aid from the Polish state. Ukrainian citizens who obtain PESEL can work in Poland without a work permit. Employers will have to notify that fact to employment authorities within 14 days from hiring.

Restrictions Loosened but Employer Takes Responsibility

New Order or Decree

Authors: Robert Stępień, Partner; Miłosz Awedyk, Partner, and Katarzyna Fedoruk, Associate – PCS | Littler

Since March 25, 2022, COVID-19 restrictions have been mitigated by a new Regulation of the Council of Ministers. Wearing face masks is not obligatory anymore unless in pharmacies or in buildings where medical activity is conducted. Thus, masks are not required in most employment establishments. However, since an employer is responsible for providing health and safety at working establishment, a decision on resigning from obligatory masks should be preceded by a comprehensive analysis of working conditions and possible risks.

According to the new Regulation, there is no mandatory self-isolation or quarantine. However, if a person has begun self-isolation or quarantine before March 25, previous regulations should be applied, and such self-isolation/quarantine must be undertaken.

"New Polish Deal” Soon to be Amended

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Robert Stępień, Partner; Miłosz Awedyk, Partner, and Jakub Grabowski, Associate – PCS | Littler

On January 1, 2022 one of Poland’s biggest tax reforms (known as the New Polish Deal) came into force. It deeply changed the way due personal income tax is calculated, in many cases making it more complicated. Payroll services in Poland have struggled with application of new tax rules, as often it would lower the salaries. The government issued an ordinance that obligated employers to calculate personal income tax advance in two different manners at the same time – according to 2021 and 2022 rules and choosing the more favorable one. The constitutionality of this ordinance has been heavily contested. The government announced that PIT Act would be amended to implement this double-calculation mechanism.

Further, in light of recent historically high inflation (for the first time from 1995 hitting two-digits margin) the government announced that they intend to lower tax rate from 17% to 12% and change the rules on healthcare contributions, effective as of July 1, 2022. No bill has been presented to the public, yet. Many of the solutions proposed by the original New Polish Deal are to be abandoned.

Parental Rights of Polish Employees to be Extended

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Robert Stępień, Partner; Miłosz Awedyk, Partner, and Katarzyna Fedoruk, Associate – PCS | Littler

A bill proposing amendments to the Labor Code arising from the Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 20, 2019, on work-life balance for parents and carers, and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU, commonly known as the work-life balance directive, was published on February 15 in the Government Legislation Center. The draft bill introduces (or extends) a set of parental rights, including: Paternity leave – fathers are allowed to take two weeks of paternity leave not later than until the child’s first birthday; parental leave – period of parental leave is extended to 41 weeks or 43 weeks (depending on the number of children) and each parent has exclusive right to nine weeks of parental leave which cannot be transferred to the other parent; flexible working arrangements – reduce working hours, flexible working hours, flexibility in place of work applicable under the employee’s request until the child’s eighth birthday; and carers’ leave – of five days during a calendar year for workers providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household.

According to the bill, employees exercising their parental rights are under special protection from the moment of submitting a relevant request until the end of the leave – within such period an employer cannot terminate their employment nor undertake any actions in preparation for such termination. However, the bill does not define “preparation for termination,” which makes it unclear what actions can or cannot be undertaken by the employer. Furthermore, it does not state whether the protection also applies to employees whose request was not accepted by the employer. Thus, there are still matters which are not (but should be) covered by the bill. Since works on the project are in progress, we expect the authors to clarify the issues.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.