Poland’s labour code was enacted in 1974 and amended many times since. The country still operates with quite rigid labour laws but it has an educated work force and is steadily changing into a liberalised economy. Under the Code all employment contracts must be in writing and include specified provisions. Following the financial crisis in 2008 a liberalising measure permitted the parties to an employment contract to agree terms that differ from the Code provided that the agreed terms do not put the employee in a worse position than he or she would have been entitled to under the Code.
New reforms, due to take effect in 2016, attempt to reduce the differences in employee rights between fixed and indefinite term contracts. For instance, fixed term contracts would be available for a shorter time before they must be replaced by an indefinite term. These changes could have a significant impact on Poland’s labour market which has traditionally made much use of fixed term contracts for reasons of flexibility.
Collective agreements are not a major feature of Polish employment life. Trade Unions however remain influential despite a steadily declining membership.
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POLAND: Annual Update – Expected labour law changes in 2016