The Polish Government introduced a bill that expands parental leave entitlements and introduces a right to flexible work arrangements for parents of young children and carers, as well as carers leave and emergency leave for all employees. The amendments aim to align Poland with the European Union Directive No. 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers. The Bill is in the initial legislative stages and still needs to be passed by both houses of the Polish parliament and signed by the President before it becomes law. The exact implementation date is not yet known.

Latest update: On 23 March 2023, the President of Poland signed legislation implementing the EU Directive No. 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers. The new leave and flexible work provisions will come into force on 26 April 2023.

Key details

The Bill includes the following main provisions:

Parental leave

Parental leave will be extended from 32 weeks to 41 weeks for a single birth and from 34 weeks to 43 weeks for a multiple birth. It will also be possible for both parents to take parental leave concurrently. Each parent will be exclusively entitled to a minimum of nine weeks of parental leave and will not be able to transfer it to the other parent. The entire parental leave will be paid by the government at 70% of the employee’s reference salary (currently paid at a 100% during the first six weeks – eight weeks in case of a multiple birth – and at 60% for the following weeks). The reference salary is based on the employee’s remuneration (reduced by the employee’s social insurance contributions) averaged over the 12 months preceding the leave.

Paternity leave

The period in which fathers are allowed to take their two weeks of government-paid paternity leave will be reduced from up to age 24 months to 12 months.

Carers leave

Employees will be entitled to take unpaid carers leave of up to five days to care for seriously ill family members and persons living in their households.

Emergency leave (also called “Force majeure”)

Employees will be entitled to take up to two days, or 16 hours, leave from work to provide immediate emergency care due to an urgent family matter caused by illness or accident. Employees will be entitled to 50% of their salary during the emergency leave.

Flexible working arrangements.

Employees with children under eight years will be entitled to request flexible working arrangements related to work hours, telework, and conversion to intermittent, shortened, or weekend work. Employees will also be able to request a return to the original working arrangements before the end of the agreed flexible working period.

Conditional prohibition

Currently, an employee with children under four years old can refuse to work overtime, work during the night, fly for work, or relocate to a different work location. The proposal extends this period until the child reaches eight years old.

Next steps

Employers will need to review their HR policies and procedures, employment contracts, leave policies, and flexible work arrangement policies, as applicable, to identify any changes that must be done to reach full compliance with the new rules.