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Revolutionary changes in the Labour Code, part 2 – changes to parental leave and other entitlements of working parents

From April 26, the provisions amending the Labour Code will enter into force in connection with the implementation of the work-life balance directive and the directive on transparent and predictable working conditions. They introduce many changes in the scope of concluding and terminating employment contracts, new leave entitlements, but also changes in the scope of leaves related to parenthood. Extensive implementation of the directives into the Polish legal system are new rights expected by employees, and, on the other hand, a huge challenge for employers and HR departments.

Extending the period of parental leave

In the case of maternity leave, the introduced regulations do not provide for any changes in relation to the duration of the leave, the way it is used or the amount of the allowance due for this period.

However, the changes will cover the provisions on parental leave. Firstly, the duration of parental leave will be extended:

  • from 32 weeks to 41 weeks – in the case of the birth of one child,
  • from 34 weeks to 43 weeks – in the case of multiple births.

Thanks to the changes adopted by the Government, the parents of a child with a certificate of severe and irreversible disability or an incurable life-threatening disease that arose in the prenatal period of the child’s development or during childbirth (referred to in Article 4(3) of the Act of November 4, 2016 on support for pregnant women and families “For life”), and will gain the right to parental leave in the amount of:

  • up to 65 weeks for the birth of one child at one birth,
  • up to 67 weeks in the case of a multiple pregnancy.

Both parents of the child will be entitled to the increased parental leave, however, the additional 9 weeks will be “non-transferable” to the other parent. One parent will not be able to use the entire parental leave on their own, because each parent will be entitled to an individual right to 9 weeks of this leave, which will be forfeited if not used. As before, both parents will be able to take parental leave at the same time.

The number of parts into which the employee will be able to divide the parental leave will also change from the current 4 to 5 parts. The leave can be used as before until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 6.

So far, article Art. 1821c of the Labour Code contained a number of provisions that introduced certain restrictions regarding the situation where an employee wanted to use parental leave in parts. These regulations will be abolished. We are talking here about introducing, for example, restrictions as to the duration of individual parts of parental leave.

What will the payment for the period of parental leave look like?

If an application for parental leave is submitted no later than 21 days after childbirth (when giving birth to one child), the amount of benefits after the change will be as follows:

  • maternity leave (20 weeks) – paid 81.5% (currently: paid 80%),
  • parental leave (32 weeks) – paid 81.5% (currently: paid 80%),
  • parental leave for the other parent only (9 weeks) – paid 70% (currently: none).

If you apply for parental leave at least 21 days after giving birth (when giving birth to one child), the amount of benefits after the change will be as follows:

  • maternity leave (20 weeks) – 100% paid (as it is now),
  • parental leave (32 weeks) – 70% paid (currently: the first 6 weeks – 100% paid, the next 26 weeks – 60% paid),
  • parental leave for the other parent only (9 weeks) – paid 70% (currently: none).

Thanks to the amendment proposed by the Senate, which was also adopted by the Sejm, parents who were on parental leave or were entitled to it on August 1, 2022 will also benefit from the additional 9 weeks of parental leave.

Shorter time to take paternity leave

Currently, the child’s father, in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Code, has the right to take paternity leave of 2 weeks until the child turns 24 months old. As a result of the introduced changes, the period for using the paternity leave will be shortened to 12 months of the child’s life.

As before, paternity leave will be granted at the employee’s request, which must be submitted no later than 7 days before the start of this leave. The possibility of dividing paternity leave into 2 parts, none of which may be shorter than 7 calendar days, will also be maintained. Payment for the period of paternity leave will not change and will amount to 100% of the sickness basis.

Changes for parents caring for children up to 4 years of age

An employee taking care of a child under the age of 8 will not be able to work overtime, at night, in the intermittent working time system, as well as be delegated outside the permanent place of work, if he does not agree to it. So far, this provision has applied to parents caring for children under the age of 4.

However, the provision remains unchanged, according to which in equivalent systems, the system of a shortened working week and weekend work, the working time of employees caring for a child under the age of 4 may not exceed 8 hours. It is possible that this is a mistake of the legislator, but at the moment only this right will be limited to the child’s age of 4.

Flexible work organization

An employee who takes care of a child up to the age of 8 will be able to apply to their employer for flexible employment conditions. The request may therefore include a request from the employee to:

  • reduction of working hours,
  • remote work,
  • applying an individual working time schedule,
  • the use of shortened working hours,
  • application of weekend working time.

The employer considers the application, taking into account the needs of the employee, including the date and reason for the need to use flexible work organization, as well as the needs and possibilities of the employer, including the need to ensure the normal course of work, work organization or type of work performed by the employee.

The employer informs the employee in paper or electronic form about the application or the reason for refusing to accept the application, or about a different possible date for applying flexible work organization than indicated in the application, within 7 days from the date of receipt of the application.


On our blog you can read the series of publications on changes in the Labour Code in 2023. The following articles have been published so far: