The currently drafted Labour Code amendment aims to implement two directives of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU). One of these directives, the work-life balance directive, is designed to ensure a balance between work and private life.
The amendment changes, among other things, the provisions on parental leave and paternity leave, and introduces carer’s leave and time off due to force majeure, and extends the rights of employees taking care of children of up to eight years of age.
The parental leave will be extended by nine weeks. Parents will be entitled to use parental leave to take care of a child for a total of 41 weeks in the case of a single birth and 43 weeks in the case of a multiple birth.
Extended will be the time during which it is prohibited to require employees, without their consent, to work overtime, at night time, in the interrupted working time system, or to post employees who bring up a child to a place other than their permanent place of work. At present, such prohibition applies until a child is four years old and, after the amendment comes into force, this period will extend until a child is eight years old.
Employees will be entitled to take a new type of leave – carer’s leave to provide personal care or support to a family member (daughter, son, mother, father or spouse) or to anyone living in the same household. The length of such leave is five working days in a calendar year. In addition, an employee may be given time off work (with the right to receive half the salary) due to force majeure in family emergencies caused by illness or accident, if the employee’s immediate presence is necessary. This leave may be two days or a total of 16 hours during a calendar year.
An employee with a child under the age of eight will be able to request flexible work organization, including telework, interrupted working time, shortened working week or flexible working time. An employee who takes advantage of this option will be able – if circumstances change – to request return to the previous work organization.
Both the work-life balance directive and the directive on transparent and predictable working conditions should have been implemented on 1 August 2022. This deadline was not met. At present, it seems that the new regulations may enter into force at the beginning of 2023, but of note is the relatively short period of vacatio legis – 21 days from publication in the Journal of Laws. This period may be too short for some employers to implement all changes properly so it is advisable to prepare for them now, without waiting for the final shape of the new regulations.