Work-life balance – Polish regulations awaiting approval

Compared to the professional activity of women in other countries of the European Union, the professional activity of Polish women is quite low. Just over 63 percent. women of working age are economically active in our country. In comparison, the EU average is no less than 68%. In addition, the gender gap in employment rates increases with the number of children in the family. The employment rate of women without children is 66%, compared to 74%. for men. In families with three or more children, the female employment rate drops to 57%. for women, compared to 85 percent. for men. According to specialists, positive changes in this area can be brought about by measures related to a more favorable labor market for parents.

The project is only assessed

The draft law amending the Labor Code in the spirit of “work-life balance”, which can contribute to changing the statistics of women’s professional activity, which is unfavorable for Poland, was published in February this year on the website of the government legislative center and in accordance with the draft the amendment should enter into force on 1 August 2022, it is uncertain whether this deadline will be met as the bill is in the assessment phase and it is not known when it will be referred to the Sejm.

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The draft amendment to the Labor Code provides for: incl. paid leave of 2 days or 16 hours in a calendar year due to force majeure in urgent family matters caused by illness or accident, if the immediate presence of the employee is necessary. The employee will receive 50 percent for the duration of the dismissal. wages calculated as holiday pay. An employee can submit a dismissal application at the latest on the day of commissioning.

It is a certain analogy with the leave on demand, but importantly, such leave should not reduce the pool of vacation days. It is worth noting that dismissal for force majeure will undoubtedly increase personnel costs, in addition, make it difficult for employers to organize the work, they will not be able to verify the existence of force majeure and the need to grant the dismissal. Under the Labor Act, the employee is therefore entitled to 4 days of fully paid leave on request and 2 days of leave due to force majeure, from which half of the wage is withheld.

Five days of care leave

Another novelty in the labor law is unpaid care leave a maximum of 5 days per calendar year for the provision of personal care or support to a family member or family member who needs substantial care or support for serious medical reasons

The circle of relatives is very narrowly defined in the project and includes only a son, daughter, mother, father or husband. According to the concept, it is not possible to take care of brothers and sisters, grandparents or other relatives as part of the care leave if they do not live with the employee. Leave is not granted on an ad hoc basis, but requires planning. The draft stipulates that the leave request must be submitted 3 days before the start of the leave, stating the person who needs a lot of care or support for serious medical reasons, the cause, the degree of relationship or, in the case of a person who no family member, the home address of that person.

More parental leave

The draft code also provides for an extension of the duration of parental leave. The new extended parental leave will be available up to 41 weeks and in the case of multiple births up to 43 weeks, with each parent having the exclusive right to 9 weeks of parental leave.† This right cannot be transferred to the other parent of the child.

The aim of this solution, according to the Directive, is to encourage fathers to exercise their right to parental leave and to promote and facilitate the return of mothers to the labor market after the period of maternity and parental leave.

The maternity benefit for the period of parental leave will also change. The draft provides that the maternity allowance for the period of parental leave will in principle be 70%. the surcharge calculation basis. However, within 21 days a woman would be entitled to apply for payment of 81.5% of the maternity allowance for the period of maternity leave and parental leave, and for the period of 9 weeks of non-transferable portion of this leave, the father of the child would be entitled to a maternity allowance of 70%. the surcharge calculation basis.

The project extends the period from 4 to 8 years when an assignment to work overtime or delegation outside the fixed workplace requires the consent of the employee. The period to use paid paternity leave of two weeks will be shortened from the current 24 months to 12 months after the birth of the child.

In line with the work-life balance directive, paternity leave should serve to create bonds between fathers and children at an early age. Therefore, the leave should be used on the birth of a child, which is clearly related to this event and should be used to care for a newborn child† In the same way, the duration of paternity leave in the case of adoption is shortened.

The right to flexible working

The draft also provides for the right of parents of a child up to the age of 8 to request more flexible work organization and protection against unfavorable treatment due to the worker exercising his rights under the provisions of the Labor Code.

Of course, the draft can still be changed during the legislative process, for example because inter-ministerial agreements have not yet been finalized. However, it pays to follow the work on changing the labor code and to prepare changes to the labor regulations and relevant procedures slowly, so that the relevant internal regulations are changed in a timely manner and the HR departments are properly trained.

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