Hiring and Terminating Employees in Poland

Poland is a country located in central Europe with just over 38 million citizens. As of 2017, just over 18 million of these citizens were considered part of the Polish labor force – accounting for nearly half of the overall population. With approximately 2.6 million businesses registered in the country, it is important to understand the hiring and termination policies as described in the Polish Labor Code.

At the beginning of the employment relationship, the employer must provide the employee with an employment contract that binds the two parties together. This contract protects certain rights for both the employee and the employer by providing certain guarantees and obligations. For example, once hired, employees in Poland must be guaranteed remuneration on a monthly basis at the absolute minimum.

Employment contracts may be categorized as an apprenticeship contract, fixed term contract or indefinite term contract. Apprenticeship contracts should only be used if there is the need to trial the employment relationship to see if it is suitable for both the employee and the employer. These types of contracts can be used for a maximum of three months. Fixed term contracts are most commonly used when there are some specific conditions that must be accounted for in the workplace. For example, fixed term contracts could be used to cover for an employee who is on an extended unpaid leave. Finally, indefinite term employment contracts are the ideal standard for most individuals, as these contracts provide both the employee and the employer with some stability in terms of the employment relationship.

When it comes to terminating employees in Poland, there are 3 different methods that can be used in certain scenarios: termination by mutual agreement, termination with notice, or termination without notice. Termination by mutual agreement is commonly referred to as a resignation and can take place at any time. In this situation it is up to the employee to comply with the employer’s standards for providing a notice period.

The notice period required for terminations without notice are calculated based on the years of continual employment with an organization in Poland. If an employee was working for less than six months, the notice period is two weeks. If an employee was working for more than six months, but less than three years, then the notice period is one month. Additionally, if the employee was working for more than three years, the notice period required to be provided is three months.

It is also important to note that if an employee was hired with an indefinite term employment contract, then the reason or justification for termination should also be presented as a part of the termination notice. Based on the Polish Labor Code, reasons used as a part of termination notice must be real, concrete and understandable for the employee. In other words, they should not be subjective or based on anything less than facts.

Both the employer and employee have the opportunity to terminate an employment agreement without cause based on a specific set of reasons. Employers can terminate employees without notice if:

  • They have severely violated basic rules and regulations within the company
  • They have committed an offense
  • If they lose any required licenses
  • If they are unable to work due to an illness that lasts for longer than three months
  • If the employee has a justifiable absence, lasting longer than one month, from work for any reason (not previously listed above)

In addition, employees can terminate their relationship with the employer without notice if they obtain a medical certificate that states that the workplace or work being performed is harmful to the employee or if the employer has not completed their basic duties (for example, paying employees on time and the correct wages). Overall, Poland’s system appears to be operating quite smoothly, with legislation and regulations that make sense to both the employers and the employees involved.

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