Poland: Will it contribute to equality between women and men in the workplace in Poland?
Research shows that the Polish worker is in the lead in terms of the number of hours worked yearly. In 2021, he or she spent an average of 1,830 hours at work – 481 hours more than a German worker.
In view of the prevailing trends regarding finding harmony in life and work, the European Union has obliged Member States to introduce into their national legal order a directive, commonly referred to as the work-life balance directive (i.e. Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU), which aims to introduce work-life balance for workers with children in the Member States – but also to achieve gender equality by promoting women’s participation in the labour market, equal sharing of caring responsibilities between men and women and reducing the gender pay gap. The deadline for the directive was 2 August 2022.
The most important changes that the above directive establishes:
1. grant of the right to paternity leave of a minimum of 10 working days, to be taken on the occasion of the birth of an employee’s child;
2. the grant of an entitlement to care leave of 5 working days yearly;
3. the grant of the right to request flexible working arrangements (remote or hybrid) to provide care for employees with children up to the age of 8;
4. grant of the right to return to their previous or equivalent positions at the end of the leave provided for by the regulations – under conditions no less favourable than those enjoyed to date;
5. additionally establishing sanctions in the event of breaches of the national provisions adopted under the Directive.
So, what positive changes will the new directive bring to the Polish Labour Code? First of all, it will increase the number of days off for fathers and contribute to greater equality between men and women in the workplace. However, critical voices are already claiming that the current act does not provide a satisfactory alternative for fathers and still – despite everything – most of them will not take advantage of the newly granted rights.
Source: Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU