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Work-life balance directive


by Izabela Prokop

28 June 2022


Poland should implement two EU directives by 1 and 2 August 2022: the work-life balance directive and directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union, respectively.


Work on the draft act implementing the directives is still underway. The effective date of the new provisions is not yet known.


Until the amendments to the Labour Code are enacted, employers from the private sector are not obliged to apply the regulations included in the directives directly. However, now is a good time to know what is coming.


Work-life balance directive – key changes


1. Time off work

In extraordinary situations, such as force majeure or urgent family reasons, which require urgent presence of the worker, the worker will have a right to 2 additional days (or 16 hours) off work in a calendar year. During that time the employee retains the right to half of his remuneration.


2. Carers' leave

Workers will be entitled to 5 days of carers' leave in a calendar year in order to provide personal care or support to a relative (son, daughter, mother, father or spouse), or to a person who lives in the same household as the worker, and who is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason.


The leave will be granted at the worker's request to be submitted within 3 days prior to starting the leave. Carers' leave is unpaid leave.


3. Special protection of the employment relationship of some workers


Workers on maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave, pregnant workers and workers with flexible working arrangements will receive special protection of their employment relationship. This means that when the workers use the above-mentioned leave, the employer cannot:


-  take any preparatory steps for a dismissal of that worker;
-  serve a notice of termination or terminate the employment relationship with that worker (unless there are circumstances justifying termination of the contract without notice for reasons attributable to the employee and the company's trade union organisation consents to the contract termination).


4. Extension of parental leave

Parental leave will be extended to 41 weeks in the case of giving birth to one child. Each parent will be eligible for 9 weeks of that leave that will be non-transferrable to the other parent. If a worker does not use their entitlement, it expires.


5. Shorter deadline for using paternity leave

A working father will be entitled to up to 2 weeks of paternity leave within the child's first 12 months of life.


6. Flexible working arrangement

A worker taking care of a child of up to 8 years of age will be able to apply for a flexible working arrangement (i.e. teleworking, interrupted working time system, individual work schedule, reduced working hours). The application will not be binding upon the employer but if he denies the flexible working arrangement, he will have to justify that.

If you have any questions about the work-life balance directive, you are welcome to contact Rödl & Partner experts.


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