Employment law in Poland – legal framework

Polish employment law legislation is based on the 1997 Constitution, which provides for a number of labour rights and guarantees, inter alia:

  • equal treatment in employment relationships;
  • freedom of employment and free choice of profession;
  • right to safe working conditions;
  • right to time off work and paid leave;
  • right to social security benefits in specific situations;
  • freedom to establish trade unions and employer organizations.

These fundamental rights and guarantees are further elaborated on in the 1975 Labour Code, which constitutes the major piece of Polish employment law legislation. The Labour Code governs the most vital issues with respect to the employer-employee relationships, including:

  • formation and dissolution of the employment contract, as well as relevant claims;
  • salary and other employment-related payments;
  • mutual duties of the employer and the employee;
  • covenants not to compete;
  • employee liability for loss inflicted on the employer;
  • working time;
  • annual leave;
  • parents’ rights;
  • employment of minors;
  • health and safety at work;
  • collective labour agreements;
  • offences against employee rights.

However, the Labour Code does not provide for exhaustive coverage of all employment-related issues. Some more detailed problems come in separate pieces of legislation, like specific acts of law (e.g. collective dismissals, collective bargaining) or statutory instruments (e.g. health and safety at work, protection of women and minors).

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Polish employment law is also greatly influenced by the Supreme Court’s rulings (though officially they do not form a part of law), the EU legislation and judgments of the European Court of Justice as well as international treaties under the International Labour Organization.

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