All signs suggest that the regulations on fixed-term contracts will be changed before the end of this term. It would be one of the more significant amendments to the Labour Code in the last few years as it significantly modifies the rules currently in force. The most recent meeting of the HR Platform of Employers of Poland was devoted to this problem.
The government proposition includes first and foremost serious changes in the limits of fixed-term contracts – in principle, the fourth such contract will automatically be non-fixed term, and the total duration of fixed-term contracts will not exceed 33 months.
– This mechanism does not target fixed-term contracts as such, but their unjustified use – explains Radosław Mleczko, Viceminister of Labour and Social Policy.
According to Monika Gładoch PhD, Adviser to the President of Employers of Poland, many points in the draft are objectionable for employers and includes some potentially problematic exceptions.
– One of the regulations that could result in interpretive difficulties is the notion of “objective causes” on the part of the employer which would justify a longer contract, as the exact meaning is not clarified explicitly – points out Monika Gładoch.
Representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy present at the meeting explained that it applies to grants for projects with a fixed duration or construction works when it is known at the very start that they will last longer than 33 months. In such situation, employers will be allowed to sign fixed-term contracts for longer than the usual limit. The only formal requirement will be notify the Labour Inspectorate – otherwise the employer will be fined 1 000 – 30 000 PLN.
Employers may also, at least early on, get confused by the maximum duration and number of fixed-term contracts allowed. The Ministry explains that all limits will be calculated from the moment when the changes come into force.
The issue of suggested changes in the regulations on archivizing employee documentation currently worked on by the Ministry of Economy were also discussed. Current regulations require employers to store such documents for 50 years, which is a significant financial burden for many – which is why the Ministry wants to restrict the list of documents which have to be kept.
Representatives of the Ministry of Economy announced that the draft was being finalized, but that it was still possible to send in comments and suggestion, encouraging entrepreneurs to so. The draft should be discussed by the Council of ministers within a couple of weeks and be passed before the end of this term.