Poland: Labour Code amendments to fixed-term contracts
On 31 March, the government accepted a complex draft amendment to the Labour Code. The new draft regulations set the maximum number of consecutive fixed-term employment contracts to three and limit their combined length to no more than 33 months. Trial-period employment contracts are recognised as a separate type of employment contract. Hence, with a 3-month trial period included, no employee can work on the basis of a contract of limited duration for more than three years.
Employment contracts to complete a specific assignment will be deleted from the Labour Code as they have been rarely used. Another significant change is the alignment of notice periods for both fixed-term and non-fixed-term employment contracts, which now depend on the total time spent with the employer: for employees who have worked less than six months, a notice period of two weeks applies; for those who have worked at least six months but fewer than three years, the notice period is one month; and anybody who has worked for at least three years is entitled to three months' notice. This legislative move was prompted by the European Court of Justice ruling of 13 March 2014 (Case C-38/13).
Trade unions have welcomed the draft legislation prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which aims to broaden the powers of the National Labour Inspectorate. In particular, the draft regulation will give the inspectorate more power in accessing the internal documentation regarding staff 'employed in special conditions', which, by definition of the Labour Code, includes a wide range of positions and duties considered hazardous or very demanding.