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What you need to know before you can hire an employee

The employment of workers and co-workers

The employment contract is formally legal activity expressing  intention of two parties - an employer and employee - to establish the employment relationship.

Through the establishment of an employment relationship an employee undertakes to carry out a certain kind of work for an employer  and under the supervision of an employer, at a place and time designated by  employer, and the employer undertakes to employ the employee in return for remuneration.  The employment relationship shall be established within the period fixed in the contract, as the day of commencement of employment, however, if this date is not specified then it is the day of conclusion of the contract.

When concluding contracts of employment you must bear in mind that workers enjoy equal rights for identical performance of identical duties (employed persons performing the same kind of work should in principle be equally remunerated).

There shall be no direct or indirect discrimination in work relations, especially on the grounds of gender, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political affiliation, union membership, ethnic origins, belief, sexual orientation, as well as employment on a permanent or temporary basis, either full-time or part-time.

List of contracts of employment ( fixed-term contracts or open-ended) is defined in Article 25 of the Labour Code. Contracts differ in purpose and content.

In accordance with the Code an employment contract is concluded for a trial period, for an indefinite period of time and for a fixed term.  If it is necessary to substitute an employee during his/her justified absence from work, the employer may employ another employee for that purpose by virtue of a contract of employment for a definite period covering the duration of such absence (so-called replacement employment contract).  According to Article 25 § 2 of the Labour Code, an employment contract for a probationary period, not exceeding 3 months, shall be concluded in order to verify workers' qualifications and opportunities to employ him/her in order to perform a particular type of work.

Temporary contracts are characterised by the existence of an employment relationship for a given period of time, the concluded contract specifies the date of termination of the contract.

A contract concluded for an indefinite period does not indicate the deadline for its termination.

Regarding the place of work for those who perform so-called mobile work resulting from the type of activity performed by the employer, i.e. moving at specified area (e.g. sales representatives, drivers) place of work in the employment contract may not be defined too broadly, e.g. as a whole country (The Chief Inspector of Labour in letter of 29 May 2007, ref. GNP-152/302-4560-247/07/PE).

The place of performance of the work under the contract must be specified in such a way as to actually specify the site in which activities connected with the exercise of duties resulting from employment contracts were actually implemented (e.g. city where a company's seat is located and other towns mentioned by name).

Contract for a probationary period

The contract is concluded for a period not longer than 3 months.  The notice period for an employment contract concluded for a probationary period is:

  • 3 working days where the probationary period does not exceed 2 weeks,
  • 1 week if the probationary period is longer than 2 weeks,
  • 2 weeks if the probationary period is 3 months.

An employer may conclude an employment contract for a probationary period with the same worker:  

  • if a staff member is to be employed in order to carry out other type of work;  
  • after a period of at least 3 years from the date of termination or expiry of the previous employment contract if the employee is to be hired to perform the same work;  in this case it is permitted to conclude a contract for a probationary period once again.

Contracts for a fixed period of time

A fixed-term contract  specifies the existence of legal ties for a specified period of time.  The duration of the contract is established between the worker and the employer at the time of the conclusion of the contract, the contract shall terminate with the expiry date.

Temporary contracts may be concluded with workers for a period of up to 3 years (3 months of the contract for a probationary period and 33 months for fixed-term contracts).  Thereafter, the contract may be concluded only for an indefinite period.

Number of temporary contracts with one employer may not exceed three — fourth contract must be concluded for an indefinite period.  Importantly,  the period between the conclusion of successive fixed-term contracts does not play a role (this means that there will not be as until now the possibility to conclude another e.g. fourth contract for fixed-term  after "waiting" one month).

If the period of employment on the basis of employments contract (contracts) for fixed-term would exceed 33 months or the number of such contracts would exceed three, then the day following the expiry of a 33-month period of employment or from the day of the conclusion of the fourth fixed-term contracts a worker shall be treated as a worker employed under a contract for indefinite duration.

Exceptions to these principles will be employment on a replacement for the mandate, seasonal or casual work, and also in case where the employer states objective grounds, if the conclusion of a fixed-term contract  responds to a genuine need for employment and is essential in the light of all the circumstances of the conclusion of the contract.  In the latter case, the employer within 5 days after conclusion of the contract must notify the competent district labour inspector (in written or electronic form).

Each fixed-term employment contract, irrespective of its length may be terminated by notice. A novelty is also that notice periods for fixed-term employment are the same as for employment contracts for an indefinite period. If the employee seniority is less than six months, the notice period is two weeks;  between six months and less than three years - one month;  at least three years -  three months.

Replacement employment contract

Replacement employment contract is a specific form of employment.  The employer has a vacancy and seeks a replacement for a permanent worker.  The contract lists  the data of replaced worker or the name of the position of an absent worker.  The scope of the tasks set out in the contract, in principle, should be similar to the tasks of the replaced worker.  In turn, the amount of a worker's pay does not have to be similar to the remunaration of the replaced employee.  Pay conditions are  determined by the parties of the employment contract.

In conclusion, the type of work remains unchanged (the same as a permanent employee), however, remuneration, working time and perks may be defined differently.

Contracts for an indefinite period of time

Employment contract for indefinite duration is a contract which does not contain the end date of the employment relationship.  Termination of a contract for an indefinite period may be done in a form provided for by labour law.

A contract for indefinite  duration may be terminated by an employee and employer, while keeping the statutory time limits.  The period of notice depends on the time of employment of an employee by employer concerned.  Notice periods are as follows:

  • if the worker has been employed for less than 6 months, the notice period is 2 weeks,
  • if the worker has been employed for at least 6 months - 1 month
  • If the worker has been employed for at least 3 years - 3 months.

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