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Planned and newly applicable changes in labor law and remuneration in 2024

In 2022 and 2023 the Government brought us revolutions in the area of remuneration and labor law, introducing, among others, the Polish Order, regulations on remote work, sobriety checks and, finally, the implementation of EU directives: work-life balance and the directive on transparent and predictable working conditions . The implementation of EU directives resulted primarily in the extension of parental leave by an additional 9 weeks and the introduction of new leaves for employees (leave due to force majeure and new carer’s leave). Changes in the Labor Code also included making the duration of a trial period contract dependent on the length of further planned employment and changes in the termination of employment contracts.

The year 2024, at least at the beginning, promises to be a bit calmer in terms of legislation than previous years. At the moment, all we know is that work is underway on several government projects that may come into force this year. However, it seems more likely that any changes will be introduced with an effective date of January 1, 2025. Here are the most important ones:

1. Liquidation of sick pay

According to the announcements of the currently in power parliamentary majority, the Social Insurance Institution would be responsible for the payment of sickness benefit from the first day of an employee’s stay on sick leave. Currently, the employer is responsible for paying sick pay for the first 33 days of an employee’s inability to work due to illness. At the moment, it is not known how extensive this change would be. Will it cover only micro-entrepreneurs or all employers with employees?

The above modification has a number of consequences that are difficult to specify precisely at the moment. However, there is no doubt that the state budget will be burdened as a result. Firstly, by increasing the benefits paid, the cost of which was previously financed from employers’ funds. Secondly, the Social Insurance Institution would have to deal with the inflow of much larger amounts of documentation regarding the payment of sickness benefit from the 1st day of sick leave.

Experts indicate that the change in regulations may also increase the number of abuses of sick leave by employees. However, employers will not be interested in checking the correct use of sick leave among employees, because they will not participate in any way in the costs of payment for the period of sick leave of their employees. The entire cost will be borne by the Social Insurance Institution.

2. Extension of maternity leave for parents of “premature babies”

Another announcement by the current government is the introduction of new solutions for parents of premature babies. This is a response to numerous appeals made by parents over recent years.

The change would consist in extending parental leave by the number of days the newborn stays in the hospital or in the possibility of taking sick leave from the 1st day after the child’s birth. For the period of sick leave, you would be entitled to a 100% benefit. Currently, despite the fact that the child often stays in the hospital for many weeks, the child’s mother has been on maternity leave from day one. However, the possibility of taking sick leave and interrupting maternity leave becomes available only after the first 8 weeks of maternity leave have been used.

3. Change in the tax-free amount

One of the proposed tax changes is to increase the tax-free amount from the current PLN 30,000 to PLN 60,000. The draft changes in this respect were submitted to the Sejm for first reading. The draft takes into account that the new tax-free amount would be effective from January 1, 2024. Most taxpayers would most likely receive a possible tax refund in their annual settlement for 2024. As indicated in the justification to the draft act, the purpose of introducing a new tax-free amount is primarily to reduce the amount of the tax wedge. , increasing the net wages of most citizens and establishing a more fair tax burden by equalizing the tax free allowance for all and basing the tax system on an elementary principle of tax law, i.e. the principle of ability to pay.

It is also worth mentioning the changes that will already apply to employers in the new year, including:

1. Co-financing for contact lenses

The employer is obliged to provide reimbursement of the costs of purchasing glasses for an employee who, due to a vision defect, should use them while performing work and at the same time this need has been confirmed by an appropriate medical certificate. Until November last year, the refund obligation applied only to corrective glasses, but currently the refund also covers the purchase of contact lenses by an employee.The amount of the refund and its frequency are determined by the employer in internal regulations.

2. Adaptation of workplaces to new occupational health and safety regulations

From November 17, entrepreneurs employing employees have new obligations to ensure safe and hygienic working conditions. Due to the amendment to the regulation regarding workstations equipped with screen monitors, these workstations should be additionally equipped with a monitor, a stand and an additional keyboard and mouse. This applies to the workstations of employees who use a laptop for at least half of their daily working time.

In the near future, Poland will also be faced with the implementation of several EU directives into the Polish legal system. This will be quite a challenge because topics that arouse great emotions among both employees and employers will be discussed. However, there is no doubt that these changes are necessary and long-awaited by the labor market, in particular with regard to the Whistleblowers Act, which, despite the expiry of the deadline, has still not been implemented in Poland. The directives that Poland is obliged to implement in the near future are:

• Directive on adequate minimum wages,

• Directive on equal and transparent pay,

• Whistleblowers Directive.

In subsequent publications on the Nexia Advicero blog, we will present the scope of changes under the above EU directives.