Poland: New law to grant self-employed the right to join a union

In June 2015, major changes in Poland's labour law in Poland give self-employed the right to join a union and put a limit on the number of fixed-term employment contracts and their duration.

In June 2015, two important developments occurred in the area of labour law in Poland. First, the Constitutional Court ruled that all working people should have the right of association, and, second, the amendment to Labour Code pus a limit on the number of fixed-term employment contracts and their duration.

On 2 June, the Constitutional Court reviewed the motion filed by the All Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) regarding the right to coalition. The court ruled that the Trade Unions Act violated the Constitution by narrowing the right to start and join unions only to people with an employment contract. The case had been awaiting review for three years. The ruling may have serious consequences, as, following the required amendment to the law, people working on the basis of civil law contracts and the self-employed would enjoy the full right to coalition.

On 25 June, the lower chamber of parliament (Sejm) amended the Labour Code with regard to fixed-term employment contracts. The amendment limits the number of consecutive fixed-term contracts to three, with a total duration not to exceed 33 months. Trial-period employment contracts concluded for three months can precede the first fixed-term contract, so that after 36 months at most, each employee has a right to employment on the basis of non- fixed-term contract (even if the parties agree otherwise, a fixed-term contract will automatically transform into a permanent one).

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