Employment contracts & holidays
The Polish labour system allows for several types of work contracts to be concluded between an employer and a future employee:
1. a regular employment contract - regulated by the Labour Code may be concluded: for a probation period (up to 3 months, in order to check qualifications of an employee), for a definite or indefinite period of time. It can be full-time or part-time position. The duration of the contract concluded for a definite period of time cannot exceed 33 months, and the total number of the contracts cannot exceed 3. The forth contract will automatically be considered as the contract for indefinite period.
2. civil law contracts - regulated by the Civil Code; the difference is that they specify a piece of work to be carried out within a defined period of time, quite often without setting working hours; the most popular ones, among many other, are the following two:
- free-for-task agreement (umowa zlecenie) concluded for performance of a specified activity,
- specific-task contract (umowa o dzieło) concluded for achievement of a specific result.
All types of contracts should be concluded in a written form. Among other things, they determine parties of the contract or agreement, its type, starting and ending dates, type of work or results to be achieved and remuneration for the work. In the case of regular employment contracts, the revenue earned is charged with all labour costs (e.g. social security, health insurance), while income gained from free-for-task agreements does not obligatorily cover sickness contribution.
Please also remember that Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are an important issue which apply to signing a contract. Various rules concern different types of contracts and rights.
There are several ways to end a work relationship. The most agreeable way is to do it with an agreement of both parties – the employer and the employee. Another way is to give a notice within a notice period specified in the work contract. Notice periods applying to employment contracts range from 3 days to 3 months – depending on the contract type. If you have a fixed-term contract, your notice period varies between 2 weeks and 3 months in accordance with the length of the period of your employment.
- Free-for-task agreements can be terminated at any time (without notice). However, both parties can provide a notice period in the agreement, if they wish.
- Specific-task contracts may be terminated by mutual agreement or, in exceptional cases, in several different ways taken into account by Polish law.
In Poland working time is regulated in the Labour Code and in general cannot exceed 8 hours per day, which gives an average of 40 hours in a five-day working week.
Usually work starts between 8.00-9.00 in the morning and finishes at 4.00-5.00 in the afternoon but it depends heavily on the employer, job, institution. In some companies, there are lunch breaks. However, you are entitled to at least 15-minute break during the 8-hour work day.
Vacation entitlement (paid days-off) amounts to:
20 days – in case of employees having worked less than 10 years,
26 days – in case of employees working more than 10 years,
Note: having completed higher education (be it a 3-year bachelor or 5-year master degree) is counted as 8 years in your employment period. In practice, university graduates gain 26 years of holidays after only 2 years of working.
36 days – in case of scientific employees (researchers); researchers employed at universities are obliged to take their days off during the period free from academic lectures (summer and winter holidays).
There are some days in the calendar year that have been established to be days off at work, due to their significance.
1st January - New Year
6th January - Three Wise Men religious holiday (Epiphany)
March/April - Easter Sunday and Monday
1st May - Labour Day
3rd May - Constitution Day
May/June - Corpus Christi (first Thursday of the ninth week after Easter)
15th August - Feast of the Assumption
1st November - All Saints' Day
11th November - Independence Day
25-26th December - Christmas and Boxing Day
Warsaw, AMCieszewscy, POT Polish Touristic Organization, FOTO Polska
Independence Day, Warsaw, Pilsudski square