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day off on demand

Day off on demand in Poland: up to 4 days per year

Employees have the right useful right to 4 day off on demand per year if they need to deal with their personal or family issues.

It’s up to the employee to decide on when to take the day off on demand. These 4 days are not included in the official holiday and can be used separately or at once.

However, days off on demand reduce the employee’s length of annual holiday by a corresponding number of days. Moreover, the legal character of holiday on demand is basically the same as the “normal” employee holiday, so the general provisions apply – such as the rule that one day of leave corresponds to 8 hours of work.

Day off on demand: refusal

In most cases the employer is obliged to grant a day off to the employee, but certain exceptions apply. The Polish Supreme Court ruled that the employer can refuse a day off on demand if the refusal is justified by special circumstances which require the employee to be present at work.

Employees should not abuse the right to a day off on demand. It should not lead to exerting pressure on an employer by a group of employees to achieve particular benefits.

The employee is under a duty to respect the employer’s interests. So the employee should request a day off on demand before the working day starts.

The request doesn’t need to be made in writing. Any effective method (e.g. phone call) is sufficient.

The employee has the right to maximum 4 days off on demand per year, regardless of the number of employers where the employee works.

Can I require my employee to shorten holiday?

shorten holiday

Shorten holiday?

The date of the employee’s holiday is usually determined much earlier. 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 shorten their holiday and return to work? Can I order them?

Polish Labour Code protects the employee’s right to holiday

You cannot order to shorten holiday once it has started, unless there are exceptional circumstances, which could not be foreseen on the starting day of the holiday. These exceptional circumstances must be supported by the employer’s particular needs which could not be satisfied 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 holiday the employee is protected from termination.

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

The employer should reimburse the employee for costs of breaking holiday

When the employee shortens hir or her holiday 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 prove the amount of such costs in order to be able to claim them from the employer.

Work on Sundays and national holidays in Poland

In a series of entries about working time we have already covered:

One important issue left is work on Sundays and national holidays.

Sundays are obvious. But what are national holidays?

National holidays in Poland are determined in a statute. There are 13 days counted as national holidays in a year, which is actually much more than in many European countries.  Just as many Polish employees work overtime, they also love time off during holidays.

Sundays and national holidays are days off work and basically work during those days is prohibited. However, there is an extensive list of exceptions, such as shopping malls (but they should closed on national holidays), search and rescue actions, restaurants, hotels, transportation, hospitals.

An employee who works under a particular working time schedule, referred to as the weekend working time schedule, may also work on Sundays and national holidays. Such an employee may work as long as 12 hours a day (i.e. 4 hours longer than the standard working time scheme).

Work on Sundays and national holidays is rewarded primarily by a day off in lieu. When this is not possible, an employee is entitled to an additional pay premium in the same amount as for overtime work.

An employee working on Sundays on a regular basis should have a Sunday off once in every 4 weeks.

Work at night – are there any special rules?

There are a number of businesses where night work is necessary: hospitals, transport, factories, shift work.

Do night workers have any special rights to reward them for the shortcomings of night work?

Theoretically, yes, if they fall into the legal category of a night worker.

The Labour Code defines the night worker (or, to be exact, an employee working at night) as one who works at least 3 hours during night time or 1/4 of whose working time is covered by night time.

Night time is also defined in the Labour Code. Night time is a time span between 9 PM and 7 AM the following day. Within that time-span, the employer should set out in their internal regulations the particular starting and ending hours of night time , no longer than 8 hours, e.g. from 9 PM to 5 AM.

Employees working at night are entitled to an additional pay premium for each hour of night work in the amount of 20 percent of the hourly rate calculated from statutory minimum wages (in 2012: 1500 PLN). Not very encouraging financially, don’t you think? The employer’s internal regulations may provide for a higher night work premium, and they often do. Financial incentive is a important motivation factor here.

As night work is considered burdensome (no doubt about that!), there are certain groups of employees who are prevented from working at night. These are pregnant women and minors. Employees taking care of children up to 4 years of age have the option to agree or refuse to work at night.

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Compensation for overtime work

Polish labor legislation provides for two options of compensating overtime work.

First, overtime work may be compensated by way of a statutory pay premium, which adds to the employee’s regular wages. The premium is 100% of the employee’s wages (based on the individual hourly or monthly rate) for overtime work performed at night and on Sundays and holidays which are not working days for the particular employee. For overtime work performed at other times the premium is 50% of the employee’s wages.

Second, overtime work may be compensated by providing time off in exchange. Here there are two further options. When the employee requests time off in lieu, the employer may provide it (but does not have to) in the same amount of hours as have been worked overtime. In the absence of the employee’s request, the employer may grant the employee time off of their own accord, but in this case the amount of time off in lieu must be 50% greater than the number of hours worked overtime. Employees provided time off in exchange for overtime work are not entitled to statutory pay premium.

In relation to employees holding particular positions there may apply different principles of compensating overtime work. For example, managers and heads of departments are expected to perform work also outside regular working hours without the right to compensation for overtime work (with a small exception related to work on Sundays and holidays, which was not rewarded by a day off). In relation to employees who work outside the office on a regular basis wages and the statutory pay premium for overtime work may be replaced by a lump-sum payment, which needs to be calculated in such a way as to reflect the number of overtime hours worked.

Calculating compensation for overtime hours is not an easy task, especially because you need to take into consideration work performed in excess of 8 hours a day as well as in excess of weekly working time, which is cleared in periods of several months. You must be careful not to calculate compensation for the same overtime work twice, which may happen if daily overtime work translates into exceeding weekly working hours over in a clearing period.