There are four ways of ending employment:
The declaration from either the employer or the employee needs to be in writing.
If a statement is coming from the employer, regardless if it's with or without notice, it must include information on the employee's right to appeal to the Labour Court. In addition, a statement without notice or one with a notice on an indefinite period contract must include written justification.
Once employment ends, the employer must issue a Certificate of Employment to the employee and deregister them from the Social Security Authority (ZUS). The final payment is due in the next pay cycle, as usual.
Employees who believe that they have been dismissed unfairly or unlawfully can appeal to the Labour Court within 21 days. They can request to be reinstated at work (while being compensated for the time not spent working, up to 3 months' pay) or awarded compensation of up to 3 months' pay. These claims are available to employees when their employment is ended with or without notice by their employer.
If the employer and employee both agree to end the employment, there are no limitations in terms of who can initiate it, the timing and the type of contract that's being ended.
If an employer is initiating the end of employment, they may have to pay the employee severance pay, especially if they bear no responsibility.
The employer has to pay severance if:
Employment ends with a notice when either the employer or employee notifies the other party that they intend to end the working relationship ahead of time.
If an employee wants to resign from employment, they may do so at any time as long as they give notice. They do not need any justification.
An employer can end a contract only if they meet the conditions set out in the Labour Code. Those include providing specific, genuine reasons for the indefinite period employment contract ending. Compensating the employee in lieu of notice is not permitted.
The employer can end an employment contract without notice, regardless of whether the employee is at fault or not.
The employer can immediately terminate an employee at fault for the following reasons:
Employers have one month to end an employment contract without notice where the reason was the employee’s fault, and they found about it.
When deciding to end employment, the employer should consult with a company trade union representing the employee.
The employer can immediately end an employee's contract if they are unable to work due to:
The employee can terminate the employment without notice for the following reasons:
Termination of an indefinite period contract with notice must state the valid reasons for ending it and is subject to trade union control (if the employee is covered by trade union protection). The reasons for termination must be real and not of a general nature, so the employee can easily understand the grounds for their dismissal.
The Labour Code does not have a catalogue of events that lists justifiable reasons for employee dismissal. However, a Supreme Court ruling outlines some possibilities:
That said, there are basic requirements that every employer must follow to dismiss someone legally and limit the risk of questioning from the Labour Court, such as:
The employee can challenge the investigation's outcome within seven days of receiving the verdict by writing a letter. If the employer still does not amend their decision, the employee has a right to turn to the Labour Court, which they should do within 14 days of receiving the company's final decision.
Under Polish law, selected employee categories are protected against employment termination with notice, such as:
Employees who would like to resign must present the employer with a written, dated statement confirming their intention to leave. Employees must respect the appropriate notice period in the employment contract. The notice becomes effective on the last day of the month, regardless of the day, the employee expresses their wish to resign.
Redundancy rules and regulations apply to companies that employ over twenty employees. Redundancy is viewed as the end of employment by the employer for reasons not attributable to employees, such as reorganisation, restructuring, and closing a particular position. In those cases, employees are entitled to severance pay regardless of whether the redundancy is collective or individual. Employees in companies with less than 20 people are not entitled to severance.
Redundancies are collective if during 30 days they impact:
These limits include employees whose employment contracts are terminated by mutual agreement at the employer's initiative if that applies to at least five employees.
An employer making collective redundancies should prove that they applied objective, fair criteria in selecting the employees for dismissal and considered all employees affected by the reasons for redundancy.
The employer must consult with the company trade unions operating in the employer's company about the intention of collective redundancies, and when there is no trade union - with employee representatives.
Employees dismissed due to group dismissal are entitled to a severance payment of:
Employers should also pay severance to employees dismissed individually if the reasons are solely attributable to the employer, and they are employing at least 20 people. Examples include the employer's unfavourable financial situation, liquidation of specific jobs, declaration of bankruptcy or liquidation of the employer. The severance pay cannot be more than 15 times the minimum wage (39,000zł in 2020).
The notice period's length depends on the type of contract and employment period with a given employer. During the notice period, the employee receives a regular salary.
The employer may ask the employee not to work during their notice, however, they must continue to pay them.
When the employer is ending the employment, within a notice period of at least two weeks, the employee is entitled to time off to seek other employment. The employer should still pay their salary.
During the notice period, the employer may also require the employee to take their statutory leave. If the employee does not use it, the employer should pay out the equivalent.
Termination is effective at the end of a calendar month if the notice period is specified in months or on a Saturday if specified in weeks.
Employees are entitled to severance pay according to their length of service:
Companies have to pay severance if employing more than 20 people, and they initiate the termination.
Employees who have worked at least 365 days in the last 18 months are entitled to an unemployment allowance for 6 or 12 months if terminated.
The unemployment allowance will be paid for 12 months if the individual fulfils one of the following conditions:
If the individual does not fulfil one of the conditions mentioned above, they will receive the benefit for six months.
The gross amount rates are as follows:
|FIRST 3 MONTHS OF BENEFIT (PER MONTH)
|AFTER 3 MONTHS OF BENEFIT (PER MONTH)
|Up to 5 years
|From 5 to 20 years
|Over 20 years
The health insurance contribution and advance payment for income tax are subtracted from these amounts.
To apply for the allowance, the employee needs to register in the Labour Office near them. The employee cannot receive any employment, internship or training offer for the first seven days after registering to be granted the allowance.
Employees with a long work history near retirement age may qualify for a pre-retirement benefit if dismissed from work. They can only apply for this benefit six months after receiving an unemployment allowance. Starting from March 1, 2021, the gross monthly allowance is 1,260.99zł, which will be in place until February 28, 2022.
An employee can get access to a pre-retirement benefit until they reach the legal retirement age. It cannot be granted alongside other benefits, such as a survivor's pension.