Traditionally, under the Labour Code the employment contract is formed by concluding a relevant agreement in writing by the employee and the employer. However, failure to stick to the written form does not nullify the employment contract and does not prevent it from being formed. Oral stipulations exchanged by the parties are valid, effective and binding and lead to formation of the employment contract. Also, the mere fact of entrusting the employee (without written backing documents) with a certain kind of work may give rise to the employment contract.
Because the absence of the written employment contract aggravates the employee’s position, in such an event the Labour Code requires the employer to confirm to the employee, at the latest on the day of commencing work, the mutual arrangements on:
- the parties to the employment contract;
- the kind of the employment contract and
- the conditions of the employment contract.
The employer’s failure to provide the written confirmation is an offence punishable by a fine of 1.000 PLN 30.000 PLN.
The employment contract should at least indicate the following details:
- the parties;
- the kind of the employment contract (i.e. whether it is a fixed term contract or a contract for an indefinite period of time);
- date of signing;
- the kind of work to be done (e.g. by indicating a position or a job description);
- salary plus additional pay components (e.g. bonuses, commission, etc.);
- working time;
- the day of commencing work (which need not be the same the date of signing of the employment contract – it may be later).
Apart from that, the employment contract may include other clauses which are material to the parties, e.g.:
- on covenants not to compete;
- on employee trainings to be financed by the employer;
- on the confidentiality obligation;
- on employment-related employee benefits (e.g. company car or mobile).
The employment contract with Polish nationals should essentially be drawn up in Polish although also a bilingual version is permitted, provided that the Polish language is the prevailing one. Employees other than Polish nationals may ask for a version in a language they have command of.