Holiday entitlement in Poland

holiday entitlement in Poland

The summer and vacation time are already here. This is a good time to write about statutory holiday entitlement in Poland. The weather in my home town is beautiful today. I live near the sea so I can see people flooding in to take the finest place on the beach.  Holiday is one of the most pleasant areas of labour law, so why not give it some attention?

Holiday for all employees

Polish Labour Code provides for annual continuous and paid holiday for all employees. The employee may not waive the right to paid holiday. In particular, you cannot exchange holiday for money. There is only one exception to that. When the employment contract terminates and the employee has unused holiday, the employer must pay for it.

How much holiday am I entitled to?

Holiday entitlement in Poland depends on the employee’s overall length of employment so far and years of education. As for education, the greatest credit is given for university education, which counts as 8 years of employment. And so:

  • employees with a total length of employment of up to 10 years are entitled to 20 days of holiday per year,
  • employees with a total length of employment of at least 10 years are entitled to 26 days of holiday per year.
The employee and the employer may extend the holiday entitlement in Poland above the statutory requirement, but they must not shorten it. In other words, Polish Labour Code provides for a statutory minimum. Other labour related provisions equip certain categories of employees with longer statutory holiday entitlement, e.g. working minors, teachers, judges, prosecutors, firefighters.

Part-time employees

Part-time employees are entitled to holiday on a proportionate basis. It means that an employee generally entitled to 26 days of holiday per year, when employeed half-time, has the right to 13 days of holiday per year.

Maternity leave – for how long?

maternity leave

European labour law legislations provide for different schemes of maternity leave for mothers mothers and fathers. Some are longer, some are shorter, there are also discrepancies as far as social benefits during that are concerned.

Maternity leave: duration

In Poland the duration of maternity leave depends on the number of children born at one time and equals:

  • 20 weeks when one child is born,
  • 31 weeks when twins are born,
  • 33 weeks when triplets are born,
  • 35 weeks when quadruplets are born,
  • 37 weeks when five or more children are born at one time.

Up to 6 weeks of maternity leave may be used before the date of birth. When this is the case, the rest of maternity leave will be used after birth.

Maternity leave passes to the father

When at least 14 weeks of maternity have been used up, the mother is entitled to give it up and return to work. The remaining part of maternity leave then passes to the father. The mother must let the employer know that she wants to return to work at least 7 days in advance. The father to whom the maternity leave has passed must apply to the employer for the remainder of the leave at least 14 days in advance.

The remainder of maternity leave also passes to the father if the mother dies in the course of her matenity leave. The same applies to the situation when the mother abandons the child.


Criminal employment background check

criminal employment background checkMany employers want to know if the applicant for a job had any criminal history. For many this is important to make the hiring decision. Can they do the employment criminal background check?

Access to information on previous convictions

In Poland convictions are recorded in the National Crime Register. Access to it is restricted. The employer may obtain information on previous convictions without the applicant’s consent and use it in the hiring process only:

  • when the law requires that the job appplicant not be subject to criminal punishment or deprived of public rights or
  • to check whether the applicant has the right to occupy a particular position, do a particular profession or run a particular business.

Otherwise the employer may not require the applicant to provide information of his of her previous convictions. Even if the applicant provides it on a voluntary basis, the employer can’t use it for criminal employment background check. This is the result of the GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 in force across the EU). In Article 10 it says that personal data related to criminal convictions and offences may be processed only under the control of official authorities.

An example is an accountant. If you want to hire an accountant, you can check whether they have been convicted for crimes related to documents, money or property. You can do that on your own by applying for information to the National Crime Register. This is because the law requires the accountants to be free of such convictions. If they are not, you may refuse to hire them. If they concealed it, you can fire them. Other examples are teachers or court clerks.


Something unexpected happened? A day off on demand is the solution for you

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.