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Poland – What’s new in employment law in 2019

Written by
Raczkowski largest boutique firm focusing on HR law.
This article summarises the most important developments anticipated in Polish employment law in 2019.

1. New pension saving plan: PPK

On 1 January 2019, the new Act on Employee Savings Plans (PPK, Pracownicze Plany Kapitałowe) came into force. The launch of the plans will be spread over two years, depending on the size of the employer. All companies employing workers both under employment contracts and civil law agreements will be obliged to create and administer PPKs. Initially, companies employing at least 250 employees will be required to create PPKs from 1 July 2019.

PPK is a new form of an additional pension saving. The system is mandatory for employers and voluntary, but in practice quasi-mandatory, for the employees.

The amount of basic (compulsory) contributions is 1.5% of a PPK member’s salary financed by the employing entity and 2% of salary financed by the PPK member. The employer’s contribution may be voluntarily increased by up to 2.5% and the employee’s by up to 2%.

2. Method of salary payment

From 1 January 2019 the default method of salary payment has changed. An employee’s salary is now paid into his or her bank account if the employee does not submit a request for payment in cash. This means that an employee’s written consent for payment of his or her salary into a bank account will be no longer required.

3. Duration of storage of employees’ personal files shortened

Under current regulations, the period for which employees’ personal files are retained has now been shortened from 50 years to ten years for individuals employed after 31 December 2018. The retention period may also be shortened for those employed between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2018 if the employer fulfils certain reporting obligations to the Social Security Office. The beginning of the ten-year term will start at the end of the year in which the employment contact ended or was terminated. The new regulation allows storage in paper and electronic form. When the mandatory period of personal file storage expires, the employee is entitled to recover all his or her documents from the employer.

4. New method of employee file-keeping

As of 1 January 2019 employers can choose to hold employee personnel files and other employment documentation in either paper or digital form. The new digital form of records has the same status as the paper one. An employer has a right to change the method of file-keeping at any time under conditions provided for in the new law.

5. New element added to employees’ personnel files

Employers are obliged to add a new element to employees personnel files, known as ‘Part D’. Part D contains all documents relating to employees’ accountability, such as copies of any notification regarding a disciplinary penalty and other documents relating to the employee’s liability. This duty applies to all employees hired after 1 January 2019.

6. Right for non-employees to create and join trade unions

Individuals who perform paid work on a basis other than an employment relationship (e.g. under civil law agreements) now have the right to create and join trade unions and to a number of other trade unions privileges. For example, they have the right to be released from work with pay to perform trade union activities, or to special protection against termination of their contract. If a contractor who is a trade union official has his or her contract terminated without the union’s approval, the employer may have to pay a severance payment of six months’ salary.

7. Trade unions’ duty to inform employers

Trade unions are now obliged to inform employers about the number of members they have twice a year by 10 January and 10 July. Employers have a right to question this information. If a trade union receives a written objection from an employer, it must bring an action before the courts to determine its number of members within 30 days. Failure to fulfill any of the above obligations will result in a loss of the trade union’s rights until they are fulfilled.

Katarzyna Dobkowska
Partner - Poland