Global menu

Our global pages


Global Employment briefing: Poland, October 2018

  • Poland
  • Employment law


Changes to the employment of young workers

From 1 September 2018, the lower age limit for young workers has been changed from 16 to 15 years of age. The amendment was introduced in connection with lowering the school leaver age.

However, the introduction of this change has resulted in legislative discrepancies. Some provisions of law – such as parts of the Labour Code - still limit the employment of people under the age of 16. As a result, employing young workers below the age of 16 is still limited and interpretation of the conflicting provisions by the National Labour Inspectorate is likely in the near future to provide clarification.

In general, young workers may be employed for the purposes of vocational training and performance of so-called “light work”. Employers are also bound by statutory restrictions applicable to young employees, such as restrictions regarding working time, granting holidays and prohibited work.

Potential weakening of the protection of business secrets after termination of employment

On 4 September 2018, changes to existing unfair competition legislation came into force. The change is aimed at strengthening the protection of business secrets. In practice, however, the amendment may lead to its significant weakening as it has removed the previous provision that protected confidential information for a period of three years from termination of employment. Currently, the legislation does not include any such period of protection which results in some confusion as to the confidentiality obligations of former employees.

The Ministry of Justice maintains the position that former employees are obliged to keep business secrets for an indefinite period. However, it is recommended that employers include clauses addressing the obligation to maintain confidentiality after the termination within agreements with employees and civil law contractors.

Ongoing work on employee capital plans

A new Act introducing employee capital plans, a new system of saving for retirement, is in the final stages of passing through Parliament. The Act is envisaged to enter into force on 1 January 2019 and will apply to the biggest employers (employing at least 250 persons) from 1 July 2019.

Employers will be required to maintain an employee capital plan and pay contributions for employees and some other workers. It is expected that the contributions to employee capital plans would be paid by the employer and the employee, in an amount equal to 1.5% of the employee’s salary paid by the employer and 2.0% by the employee. Additional contributions would be possible but no higher than 2.5% and 2.0% of the employee’s salary, respectively.

It is likely that the Act will be published in its final form before the end of 2018.