Poland: HR Alert | December 2021

In brief

This HR alert features the following:

  • Polish Deal and employment law
  • Whistleblowers
  • Significant changes to immigration laws
  • Opinion of the labour inspection on vaccination of employees
  • New regulations concerning the work-life balance

Contents

Polish Deal and employment law

On 1 January 2022 the Polish Deal will enter into force (Act dated 29 October 2021 on the amendment of the Act on income tax for natural persons, Act on income tax for legal persons and certain other acts). It provides for, in particular:

  • an increase of the tax-free amount of income tax (PIT) for natural persons up to PLN 30,000
  • an increase of the first tax threshold of income tax for natural persons from PLN 85,000 to PLN 120,000 
  • abolition of the deduction of the health contribution from income tax
  • calculation of the health contribution for entrepreneurs in relation to income
  • introduction of an obligatory health contribution on the remuneration for performing a function e.g. of the company’s board member  
  • the introduction of a so-called "relief for the middle-class" (employees and B2B contractors whose monthly remuneration amount to PLN 5,700 - PLN 11,140 gross). It is an additional deduction from the tax base. It does not cover dependent contractors.
  • changes to flat-rates of income tax on recorded revenues, e.g. for IT specialists from 15% to 12%
  • the introduction of additional sanctions for employers who illegally hire employees

Entry into force
1 January 2022 

Recommended actions
Analysis of internal processes related to remunerating employees, dependent contractors and B2B contractors.

 

Whistleblowers

By 17 December 2021 Poland should implement the so-called "Whistleblowers Directive" (Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law).

According to the draft version of the Act dated 14 October 2021:

  • Employers will be obliged to create new systems of reporting breaches of law or to adjust the existing ones, including the introduction of internal reporting by-laws setting up reporting channels and procedures and keeping a register of internal notifications - in line with the new law
  • The deadline for fulfilling the above obligations will depend on the number of employees and the type of business activity conducted by the employer
    • Employers hiring at least 250 employees – within 14 days of the new law being announced (likely in early 2022)
    • All employers carrying out activities in the field of financial services, products and markets and the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, transport safety and environmental protection covered by specific legal acts of the European Union which are listed in the Directive – within 14 days of the new law being announced (likely in early 2022)
    • Employers hiring 50-249 employees – by 17 December 2023
    • However, all employers will be prohibited from any retaliation against whistleblowers who report externally, that is, those who notify the public
    • authorities or make a public disclosure  – within 14 days of the new law being announced (likely in early 2022)
  • Any retaliatory actions against whistleblowers will be prohibited
  • Penalties for violation of these laws will include fines, restriction of liberty and imprisonment of up to 3 years for persons acting on behalf of the employer

Entry into force
Beginning of 2022 (likely)

Recommended actions
Verification and analysis of:

  • the current systems of reporting breaches
  • voluntary, implementation of a system of reporting breaches of the law by small employers
  • available communication channels
  • voluntary extension of the scope of reportable breaches​

 

Significant changes to immigration laws 

 On 17 November 2021, the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) adopted new immigration laws (amendment to the Act on Foreigners and certain other acts). The purpose of these changes is to simplify the procedures related to the legalization of work and residence of foreigners.

In particular:

  • extension from 6 to 24 months of the period of performing work on the basis of a declaration of entrusting work to a foreigner
  • lowering of the requirements concerning income earned by a foreigner
  • continuity of the residence and work permit in case of a change of employer
  • shortening the deadline for issuing a national visa from 60 to 30 days
  • prioritizing applications submitted by foreigners planning to work in businesses of strategic importance

Entry into force
4th quarter 2021 / 1st quarter 2022

Recommended actions
Implementation or verification of procedures concerning the employment of foreigners

 

Opinion of the labour inspection on vaccination of employees

According to the statement for the press of the General Labour Inspector's (GIP) dated 25 November 2021, employers should not be penalized by the labour inspection for urging their employees to get vaccinated.

According to GIP, there are no legal grounds for penalizing employers that urge their employees to get vaccinated. In case of complaints in this regard, labour inspectors will apply informational measures only.

Entry into force
Not applicable

Recommended actions
Verification of anti-Covid procedures

 

New regulations concerning the work-life balance

By 2 August 2022 Poland should implement the so-called "Parental Directive" (Directive 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU).

The Directive provides for, in particular:

  • paternity leave of 10 working days, irrespective of the length of service and marital or family status of the employee
  • parental leave of 4 months for each parent until the child reaches a certain age (maximum 8 years). At least 2 months of parental leave will not be transferable to the other parent.
  • paid carer's leave of 5 working days a year
  • "time-off due to force majeure" for urgent family reasons in case of an illness or an accident
  • flexible working arrangements for parents of children of up to at least 8 years
  • protection from termination of employment with notice for employees on parental, paternal and carer's leave.

Entry into force
2 August 2022

Recommended actions
Verification of the procedures and employee policies concerning the protection of employees and flexible working arrangements

 

Link to: Polish Version

 

 

Contact Information
Michal Lisawa
Counsel, Co-Head of Employment Practice in Poland
Warsaw
Read my Bio
michal.lisawa@bakermckenzie.com

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