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Labour Law Alert – Presidental draft act to amend labour law provisions is already before the Polish Sejmejm

On 1 June 2017, the President of Poland submitted to the Sejm a draft Act amending the Labour Code and certain other acts. The amendment concerns several important issues having a common theme, namely facilitating the exercise of certain workers’ rights.

Please note the following, most important amendments contained in the draft Act:

  1. Creating an open-list catalogue of discriminatory treatment criteria – the President’s intention is that any unequal treatment of employees which is not justified by objective reasons shall constitute discrimination.
  2. Introducing the possibility to seek compensation for mobbing even if an employee did not terminate his employment contract, provided that the employee suffered loss as a result of mobbing.
  3. Applying special protection against the dissolution of the employment relationship of employees – other closest family members during maternity leave and parental leave and granting them rights analogous to those to which female employees and male employees who are fathers taking care of children are entitled.  
  4. Extending the period from 7 to 14 days within which an employee can request that an employer corrects a certificate of employment; and equally extending the period within which an employee can apply to the labour court for such a correction.
  5. A clear indication that, if an employer fails to issue a certificate of employment, an employee is entitled to request that the labour court issues an order obliging the employer to issue a certificate of employment.

From an employer’s point of view, the creation of an open-list catalogue of discriminatory treatment criteria is particularly important. Increased exposure to allegations of discrimination should encourage employers to be increasingly vigilant and to adequately prepare and justify any actions or decisions taken in respect of their employees.

Particular attention should also be given to the newly-created possibility to claim compensation for mobbing. Currently, only employees whose employment relationship was terminated due to mobbing are entitled to claim compensation. After the amendment, termination of the employment contract shall no longer be a pre-condition for seeking redress. In the context of the above amendment, it must be underlined that every employer is obliged to prevent mobbing (Article 943 § 1 of the Labour Code). Failure to take genuine action in this respect exposes employers to the risk of liability. Every employer should consider appropriate measures to prevent mobbing (anti-mobbing policies, employee training etc.).

The amendment Act may be modified during further stages of the legislative procedure.

SSW’s labour law team constantly monitors proposed amendments to labour law and the current interpretation trends and jurisprudence of the labour courts.

Should you be interested in receiving more detailed information on these amendments, or legal advice on introducing or reviewing anti-mobbing measures within your establishment, please contact our experts.

Authors:

Marcin Cetnarowicz, Senior Associate, Attorny at law
marcin.cetnarowicz@ssw.pl

Anna Zalewska, Associate, Advocate
anna.zalewska@ssw.pl