The date of the employee’s vacation leave is usually determined much earlier, so that the employee knows when they can expect time off and the employer knows when they need to arrange for a replacement.

The starting day has come, the employee is absent from work, but I need him or her to help in an important business.

Can I as an employer require the employee to break their leave and return to work? Can I order them to do so?

Polish Labour Code protects the employee’s right to vacation leave.

Once the leave has been started, it may be recalled only in exceptional circumstances, which could not be foreseen on the starting day of the vacation leave. Importantly, these exceptional circumstances must be supported by the employer’s particular needs which could not be accommodated without the employee’s presence.

For example, the employer may not require the employee to return to work only for the purpose of terminating the employment contract. During vacation leave the employee is protected from termination.

Legally, the employer’s request in an employment law order, which the employee should obey under pain of applicable sanctions, including immediate termination of the employment contract – provided that the employer had the right to require the employee to return to work.

When the employee breaks their vacation leave at the employer’s request, the employer should reimburse the employee for the related costs, e.g. costs of earlier return. However, it is for the employee to demonstrate the amount of such costs in order to be able to claim them from the employer.

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