The obligation to implement directive 2019/1158 of the European Parliament on work-life balance for parents and carers by August 2, 2022 has spurred amendments to the Polish Labour Code; the new bill was proposed on February 4, 2022.
The “work-life balance directive” is aimed at providing equal opportunities for men and women on the labour market by making it easier for employees who are parents (or carers) to reconcile work and family life.
An attempt to equalize the childcare obligations between men and women is made in the draft act of February 4, 2022 which would amend the Labour Code with respect to the following issues:
- A father will be able to take paternity leave of up to 2 weeks until the child is 12 months old, while now this entitlement may be exercised until the child is 24 months old;
- Parental leave will be extended to 41 weeks if one child is born and to 43 weeks if two or more children are born; the additional 9 weeks is a portion of parental leave for each of the parents that may not be transferred to the other parent;
- The use of flexible working arrangements by employees with children aged up to 8 years is to be made easier; the employer will have to provide in writing grounds for refusal to agree to such working arrangements;
- The amount of maternity benefit for the entire period of parental leave is to be 70% of the benefit calculation base.
New provisions of the Labour Code will also cover:
- Unpaid carer’s leave of five working days per calendar year, granted on an employee’s request, to take care of a family member or a person who lives in the same household as the employee and is in need of care for a serious medical reason;
- Time off from work on grounds of force majeure of two days or 16 hours per calendar year, on an employee’s request, for urgent family reasons in the case of an illness or accident making the immediate attendance of an employee indispensable.
The draft law provides that requests relating to the above benefits and leave may be filed in hardcopy or on-line.
Consultations of the draft law are currently under way. In line with the directive, the new provisions should come into force at the beginning of August this year, but our experience with previous implementations of EU provisions in Poland shows that this deadline may be missed.