When hiring a worker on the basis of a contract of employment, it is important to remember about several obligations that an employer has to fulfil. See the information below to learn what to pay attention to and how to adhere to all the formalities, so that an employee can start work safely and legally.
Concluding an employment relationship
The characteristic features of an employment relationship are as follows:
- performance of work in person,
- subordination of an employee to the employer’s instructions,
- performance of work at a time and place specified by the employer,
- performance of work for remuneration,
- performance of work for the benefit of the employer and with the employer’s risk involved.
An employment relationship comes into being at the date specified in the contract as the commencement of work, and if such a date has not been determined – on the day when the contract is concluded.
If the contract has not been concluded in writing, before granting permission to commence work, the employer gives to the employee a written confirmation of the arrangements concerning the parties to the contract, the type of the contract and its terms and conditions.
A contract of employment should specify the parties to the contract, the address of the employer’s seat, and if the employer is a natural person and does not have a seat – the residence address, as well as the type of the contract, date of its conclusion, and working and remuneration conditions, in particular:
- type of work,
- place(s) of work,
- remuneration corresponding to the type of work, including its components,
- working time,
- day when the work starts,
- in the case of a contract for a trial period:
- its duration or termination date, and if so agreed by the parties, an arrangement to extend the contract to include the period of leave or other justified absence from work, if such absences occur,
- in the case of a contract for a one- or two-month trial period, the duration of the fixed-term contract that the parties intend to conclude, and an arrangement to extend the contract by no more than one month, if it is justified by the type of work,
- in the case of a fixed-term contract – its duration and termination date.
Types of employment contracts
Contracts of employment can be concluded for:
- a trial period,
- a definite period (fixed-term contract),
- an indefinite period.
A contract for a trial period, which on principle does not exceed 3 months, is concluded in order to verify the qualifications of an employee and the possibility of hiring them to perform a specific type of work. The parties may agree in such a contract that it will be extended for the period of leave and other justified absence from work if such circumstances occur.
The duration of a contract for a trial period may not exceed:
- 1 month – in the case of an intention to conclude a fixed-term contract for a period of less than 6 months,
- 2 months – in the case of an intention to conclude a fixed-term contract for a period of at least 6 moths and less than 12 months.
It is allowed to conclude another contract of employment for a trial period with the same employee only if the employee is to be hired to perform a different type of work.
The period of employment under a fixed-term contract, as well as the total period of employment under fixed-term contracts concluded between the same parties of the employment relationship, may not exceed 33 months, and the total number of the contracts may not exceed three.
If the term of employment under a fixed-term contract of employment is longer than 33 months, or if the number of concluded contracts is higher than three, it is understood that the employee, accordingly as of the day following the lapse of the period referred to above or as of the date of conclusion of the fourth fixed-term contract, is hired under a contract of employment for an indefinite term.
Fixed-term contract – exceptions
These restrictions do not apply to fixed-term contracts of employment concluded:
- for replacement for an employee during their justified absence from work,
- for the performance of occasional or seasonal work,
- for the performance of work for a term of office,
- if the employer indicates objective reasons attributable to the employer – provided that conclusion of such a contract aims to fulfil a real, temporary need and is necessary in this respect in the light of all circumstances of the conclusion of the contract. The contract should determine this aim or the circumstances of that individual case and include the information on the objective reasons justifying the conclusion of such a contract.
Pre-employment medical examinations
Pre-employment medical examinations apply to:
- new employees;
- employees transferred to workstations where there are agents harmful to health or arduous working conditions;
- juvenile employees (under 18 years of age) transferred to other workstations.
Medical examinations are conducted on the basis of a referral issued by the employer (work position and working conditions need to be indicated) and at the employer’s expense.
An employer must not allow an employee to perform work without the qualifications and skills required to perform that work, and without the sufficient knowledge of the occupational safety and health rules and regulations. There are two types of OSH training – induction training and periodic training. Induction training involves:
- general training – before an employee is allowed to perform any work,
- on-the-job training – before an employee is allowed to perform work on a given job position.
- an employee hired to perform a blue-collar job or another job where there is exposure to agents which are harmful to health, onerous or hazardous,
- an employee transferred to perform a job as referred to above,
- a student undergoing practical vocational training or student internship.
Employer’s obligations after hiring an employee
Work regulations define the rights and obligations of the employer and employees related to the order and organisation of the process of work.
Save for some exceptions, the obligation to establish work regulations lies with every employer who employs at least 50 employees (Art. 104 § 2 of the Labour Code).
Information on employment conditions
The employer informs the employee in paper or electronic form:
1) not later than within 7 days from the day when the employee was allowed to start work, at least of:
- daily and weekly working time standard applicable to the employee,
- daily and weekly working time applicable to the employee,
- employee’s entitlement to breaks from work,
- daily and weekly rest periods to which the employee is entitled,
- rules on overtime work and related compensation,
- in the case of shift work – the rules for switching from shift to shift,
- in the case of several places of work – the rules for moving between places of work,
- components of remuneration and financial or in-kind benefits other than those specified in the employment contract, to which the employee is entitled,
- paid leave entitlement, in particular annual leave or, if it is not possible to determine its length on the date of providing the employee with this information, the rules for determining and granting annual leave,
- applicable rules for termination of employment, including formal requirements, the length of notice periods and deadline for appealing to the labour court or, if it is not possible to determine the length of notice periods on the date of providing the employee with this information, the method of determining such notice periods,
- employee’s right to training, if the employer provides it, in particular the general principles of the employer’s training policy,
- the collective agreement or other collective arrangement by which the employee is covered, and where a collective agreement is concluded outside the employer’s establishment by joint bodies or institutions, the name of such bodies or institutions,
- if the employer has not established work regulations – date, place, time and frequency of payment of remuneration for work, night time and the method adopted by a given employer of confirming the arrival and presence at work by employees and justifying absences from work;
2) not later than within 30 days from the day when the employee was allowed to start work – the name of the social insurance institution, where social insurance contributions related to the employment relationship are paid, and information on social insurance protection ensured by the employer; this does apply in a situation where the social insurance institution is selected by the employee.
Equal treatment in employment
The regulations may be made available in writing or otherwise, in accordance with the procedure adopted by the employer. The duty to respect the dignity of an employee in a workplace means that the employer is obliged to apply:
- equal treatment in employment,
- prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination (also during recruitment of candidates for work).
Immediately after hiring an employee, the employer is obliged to start and keep in paper or electronic format employee documentation containing personal files and other documents related to the employment relationship.
There should also be separate working time records for every employee, which include information on:
- the number of hours worked and the time of starting and finishing work,
- the number of night time working hours,
- the number of overtime working hours,
- the days off work, with information on the grounds for granting those days off,
- the number of hours of the on-call duty and the time when the on-call duty starts and ends, with information on the place of its performance,
- the type and duration of leaves,
- the type and duration of other justified absences from work,
- duration of unjustified absences from work.
Payment of remuneration
Regulations guarantee to employees the right to minimum remuneration, the amount of which is set annually based on the Act on Minimum Remuneration.
Remuneration for work should be set in such a way as to correspond in particular to the nature of work and professional qualifications necessary to perform that work, as well as to the workload and quality of work.
Right to a leave of absence
When taking up employment for the first time, an employee gains the right to leave after the end of each month of work in the calendar year when they start work, equal to one-twelfth of the leave that they will be entitled to after one year of work. If an employee does not use the leave, its monthly duration adds up. In every next calendar year, an employee becomes entitled to another leave as of 1 January, as long as they are employed on that day.
Occupational risk assessment
An employer has a duty to inform employees of the occupational risk assessment related to their workstations.
An employer is obliged to assess and document the occupational risk existing while certain works are performed, and apply necessary preventive measures to decrease the occupational risk.
Personal protective equipment, protective clothes and footwear
An employer must not allow an employee to work without the personal protective equipment or the working clothing and footwear that must be used at a given workstation. An employer keeps records, separately for every employee, of allocation of working clothing and footwear, as well as personal protective equipment, and of payment of financial equivalent for the use of employee’s own clothing and footwear, and for their cleaning and maintenance.
An employer is obliged to register an employee for social insurance within 7 days of the employment date. An employer must register an employee for the following types of insurance: old-age pension insurance, disability pension insurance, ill-health insurance, accident insurance and health insurance.
- Act of 26 June 1974 Labour Code (Journal of Laws of 2022, item 1510, consolidated text).
- Ordinance of the Minister of the Family, Labour and Social Policy of 10 December 2018 on employee documentation (Journal of Laws, item 2369)
- Act of 10 October 2002 on the minimum remuneration for work (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 2207)
- Act of 13 October 1998 on the social insurance system (Journal of Laws of 2022, item 1009, as amended).