Changes in labor law from 1 January 2023

The new changes to labor law, which came into effect on 1 January 2023, are based on EU Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union and EU Directive 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers. The changes to the Labor Code are presented below.

As of the beginning of the year, in employment claims based on a breach of the prohibition of the abuse of rights, the claimant is the one who must prove the underlying fact, circumstance and prejudice. While the right holder (the other party) proves that there is no causal link between the fact, circumstance and prejudice proposed by the claimant.

In addition, the amendment extends the deadline for filing statements, which can now be duly filed even if they are posted no later than the last day of the deadline.

With regard to employment contracts, according to the amendment, unless otherwise agreed upon, the employment relationship shall in all cases be deemed to be of indefinite duration and the place of work shall, as a general rule, be the place where the employee habitually works, unless stated otherwise.

A major change is in the employer’s obligation to inform the employee, whereby the employer has less time to inform the employee from the beginning of the employment relationship – 7 days instead of 15 days. In addition, the information to be given to the employee has been extended to include the following: the rules relating to the termination of employment; the employer’s training policy; and the name of the authority to which the employer pays public charges. In addition, if the employee is expected to work abroad for more than 15 days, the employer has further obligations to inform the employee.

The amendment extended the rules on the amendment of the employment contract, under which employees with children may request a change in the place of work, working hours, remote-work or part-time work up to the age of 8 of the child. The employee must provide reasons for the request in writing and indicate the date of the change that constitutes the legal basis. The employer must respond to this request in writing within 15 days, giving reasons if it refuses. If the employer’s refusal is unlawful or the statement is not made, the court may reproduce the employer’s statement.

The amendment requires employers to provide the reason, at the request of the employee, for terminating the employment relationship of an employee who is exempt from the obligation to work. This applies if the employee is absent for (i) personal care of a relative or a person living in a shared household for serious health reasons; or (ii) paternity leave; (iii) parental leave; or (iv) unpaid leave to care for a child; or (v) the employee’s request to terminate their employment contract due to a change in the employment contract.

The amendment has extended the prohibitions on termination of employment, under which an employer may not terminate an employment relationship during paternity leave, parental leave or when the employee is absent for serious health reasons to care for a relative or to provide personal care for a person living in the same household.

Under the amended law, in the event of termination of employment, the employer shall issue a certificate – in addition to the previously required certificates – on paternity and parental leave, indicating the leave previously granted.

The January amendment to the Labor Code extends the court’s powers to decide when the employment relationship can be restored, at the request of the employee. A new possibility is introduced if the termination was in breach of the prohibition of the abuse of rights.

Under the amendment, employers must specify in writing and publish the starting and finishing dates of the allocated working-hours period and the duration of the work-time required.

The amendment introduces changes for certain categories of employees (e.g. pregnant workers, workers with children up to 3 years old, workers raising children alone, young workers). Thanks to the amendment, there are certain prohibitions for employers for these groups of workers, for example, no extraordinary work or night work can be assigned. As an exception, if the child is over 3 years old and with the consent of the worker, the law allows for such assignments.

The amendment introduced new regulations to paternity leave. Instead of the previous 5 working days, fathers will be able to take 10 working days off until the end of the second month after the birth or finalization of the adoption process. For the first 5 days of paternity leave, the father will be entitled to 100% of the absentee-wage, while for the second 5 days only 40% of the absentee-wage will be paid. Importantly, the full cost of the first 5 days’ absentee-wage will be recoverable from the Treasury, while the cost of the second 5 days will be borne by the employer. In addition, all employees will be entitled to 44 working days of parental leave up to age 3 of the child, subject to a 1-year employment relationship. Parental leave is granted at the rate of 10% of the absentee-wage. These leaves are not affected if the employee’s employment started or ended during the year.

The amendment also affects the rules on the granting of leave, under which an employer may postpone the granting of leave for up to 60 days, except for paternity leave, in cases of exceptional economic interest or for a reason directly and seriously affecting the employer’s operations. In such cases, employers must state their reasons in writing.

The amendment also changes the rules on remuneration in the absence of work. Employees are entitled to 70% of the absentee-wage for the duration of their sick leave. If the employee with the employer’s consent is released from their obligation to be on call, they will be paid according to their mutual agreement. Alternatively, if the employee is entitled to supplementary wage on the basis of their working hours, they are also entitled to a supplementary wage in addition to the absentee-wage.

If a fixed-term contract is renewed or if a fixed-term contract is terminated and a new employment relationship is established for the same scope of employment within 6 months of the termination, a probationary period may not be established by the partties. Furthermore, in the case of an employment contract of a maximum of 12 months, the duration of the probationary period shall be fixed on a pro rata basis. In such a case, a fractional day of half a day shall be considered a full working day.

In case of labor disputes, the statement of claim, in accordance with the new employee’s claim integrated by the amendment, must be submitted within 30 days of receipt of the employer’s statement regarding request for a change to the employment contract or upon receipt of the employers’ statement for a request to state the reasons for a refusal or upon failure to comply with such request on the deadline for such statement.