10 min czytania 21 April 2023

The employment contract – everything you need to know in 2023

The employment contract is the most common type of contract. It is the primary form of employment for employees. It is the document that regulates the relationship between the employer and the employee. It sets out the rights and obligations of both parties and the terms and conditions of employment. What should an employment contract contain? What does an employment contract guarantee? What are the types of employment contracts?

employment contract


Employment contract – Labour Code

An employment contract is a document that legally regulates the employment of an employee by an employer. It sets out the rights and obligations of both parties and establishes the terms and conditions of employment, such as remuneration, working hours, holidays, social and health insurance, and the mode of termination. The employment contract is important for both the employer and the employee, as it is the basis for settling any disputes and misunderstandings between them.

In Poland, the employment contract is regulated by the Labour Code, which sets out the basic rules for concluding and terminating an employment contract and the rights and obligations of employees and employers. The conclusion of an employment contract requires the fulfilment of certain formalities, such as the signing of the document by both parties and the provision of relevant information and documents to the employee, such as work regulations and job instructions. It is worth remembering that the compliance of the employment contract with the law is extremely important and is a guarantee of security for both parties.

The employment contract should be concluded in writing, at the latest on the day the employee starts work.

What are the types of employment contracts?

The Labour Code provisions distinguish several types of employment contract. These depend on the duration of the contract. A distinction is made between:

  • A contract of employment concluded for a trial period

This is a contract that is useful so that the employer can check his employee how he will perform his duties. It is also a good opportunity for the employee himself, who will be able to familiarise himself with the company’s structure and determine whether the job will suit him. A probationary employment contract can be concluded by the employer for a period of: 1 or 2 months.

  • Employment contract for a fixed period

When this type of contract is concluded, the duration is fixed in advance. Fixed-term employment most often refers to temporary work. The period of work under this contract cannot be concluded for more than 33 months from the date of conclusion of the contract. The limit is max. 3 contracts in a row.

  • Employment contract of indefinite duration

Is the most frequently requested form of employment. It is a contract whose duration is not predetermined and has no fixed end date. Such a contract gives greater stability and job security to the employee. The employee receives a salary of a certain amount, but this may fluctuate depending on the amount of work performed or other agreements between the employer and the employee. An open-ended contract can be terminated by both parties, subject to certain conditions (e.g. notice, disciplinary dismissal). In the case of this type of contract, the employer must indicate the reason for termination.

What are the advantages of an employment contract?

The employment contract is governed by the Labour Code, which guarantees the employee certain privileges and rules. It has many advantages, but also disadvantages. It is up to the employee to choose the type of contract – everyone has different needs and just as something may be an advantage for one person, it may be a disadvantage for another. Before signing a contract, it is useful to know your employment rights so that you know which type of contract is most advantageous for you. If you do a certain job on a contract of employment, you have a greater sense of stability. A full-time contract offers numerous privileges. What else can be counted among the advantages of an employment contract?

  • the right to paid leave (annual leave, special leave, leave on request, maternity leave, parental leave, paternity leave)
  • permanent source of income
  • guarantee of minimum wage
  • the right to sick leave
  • the right to overtime pay
  • social and health insurance
  • protection of certain groups of employees (pregnant women, persons in a protected period before retirement)
  • dismissal procedure (period of notice)
  • the right to regular working time of the employee

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Employment contract – how many days off are you entitled to?

Depending on the type of leave, an employee who works under an employment contract is entitled to a certain number of days off. In the case of annual leave, the length of leave depends on the length of service of the employee, which also includes the period of education.

The length of annual leave is:

  • 20 days – if the employee has been employed for less than 10 years
  • 26 days – if the employee has worked for at least 10 years

It should also be remembered that, in the case of contracted work, it is possible to take leave on demand, which is part of annual leave. The employee is then entitled to 4 calendar days per year.

Employment contract – working time

According to the Labour Code, it follows from Article 129. § 1. that one should work full-time 8 hours per day and an average of 40 hours per week (5 days) – for a reference period that does not exceed 4 months. And Art.131. § 1. states that the weekly working time including overtime cannot exceed 48 hours. These are contractual hours, some jobs have this time extended. The law states that the daily working time can be extended to 12 hours, but then more time off must be granted. There are some professions in which the daily working time can be extended to 16 or 24 hours in a reference period of up to one month.

Termination of the employment contract

The employment contract can be terminated by both the employer and the employee. The employer must notify the supervisor in writing (as well as the employee) of its intention to terminate the employee’s contract. How is the employment contract terminated? There are several types of termination:

  • termination of employment – this happens when the employee or the employer dies and when the employee does not show up for work for 3 months due to pre-trial detention.
  • agreement by mutual consent – this is beneficial for both parties. For it to exist, the agreement of two parties is needed.
  • contract with a notice period – this gives the employee time to find new employment and the employer time to look for a new employee.
  • contract without a notice period – this is known as disciplinary action, which is the least favourable form of termination. It occurs most often during a breach of the employee’s duties.
  • termination of contract – at the very beginning of the signing of the contract, the parties agree on a start date and a termination date. This is the case with a fixed-term contract. If it is not extended then the termination of work simply occurs. It is then not necessary to give notice.

The provisions on termination of the employment contract apply mutatis mutandis to the termination of the contractual terms and conditions of employment and pay. It is often the length of the contract that determines the length of the notice period.

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Employer’s rights and obligations

The employer’s duties towards the employee performing the work:

  • inform employees of their duties and entitlements
  • organise work so as to ensure that working time is fully utilised
  • organise work in such a way as to make it less onerous
  • counteract discrimination, mobbing,
  • provide safe and healthy working conditions
  • pay wages in a timely manner
  • keep employee records
  • make the content of workplace regulations available
  • make it easier for employees to improve their qualifications

The employer has the right to:

  • grant fringe benefits to an employee
  • manage the work process and be accountable for its results
  • expect conscientious work from an employee
  • observe working time and work regulations
  • give penalties for not following the rules at work
  • control the performance of work
  • postpone an employee’s leave due to the special needs of the employer
  • control the employee’s business mail

Working conditions

These are all the factors in the organisation that are related to the environment and the nature of its performance. The employee undertakes to perform a specific type of work. They include:

  • the place of work
  • working time
  • working hygiene conditions (cleaning measures)
  • working relationships
  • working environment (lighting, noise)
  • prevention of accidents at work (health and safety rules)

Contract of employment versus contract of mandate – what are the differences?

There are several differences between an employment contract and a contract of mandate:

Contract of employment

  • It is regulated by the Labour Code
  • The parties to the employment relationship are the employer and the employee
  • No possibility of substitution for a position
  • Guarantee of a minimum wage
  • The employer decides on the time and place of work
  • The superior has the right to give orders
  • Insurance contributions are levied
  • Claims are enforced through the labour court
  • Possibility of additional payment for overtime
  • Right to paid holidays
  • The right to sick leave
  • Obligation to extend the contract of a pregnant woman
  • Period of notice for termination of contract applies

Contract of mandate

  • It is regulated by the Civil Code.
  • The parties to the employment relationship are the principal and the contractor
  • Possibility to find a replacement for the job
  • Guarantee of a minimum hourly rate
  • No fixed time and place of work
  • The employer may not give additional instructions
  • Insurance contributions are voluntary
  • Claims are asserted in civil court
  • No right to overtime compensation
  • No right to holidays
  • No obligation to extend the contract of a pregnant woman
  • The contract can be terminated at any time

What does the employment contract contain?

The employment contract specifies:

  • the parties to the contract – the details of the employee and the employer
  • the employee’s job position
  • the terms and conditions of work – place of work, working hours, salary, working hours, deadline
  • additional work benefits – the issue of wages, bonuses, allowances, non-competition.

Model employment contract

Below is a sample model employment contract:




  • The employer must confirm the terms of the contract in writing to the employee.
  • As a general rule, working hours should not exceed: 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, 48 hours per week plus overtime.
  • The working time standard is contractual and can be extended for certain jobs.
  • An employment contract provides the employee with more rights and privileges than civil law contracts.
  • If the contract was to last for a fixed period and is not renewed, no notice of termination is necessary.
  • A salaried employee is entitled to paid holidays, minimum wage, insurance, sick leave, termination notice, etc.
  • Spontaneous termination of the contract applies to fixed-term contracts when the duration of the employment relationship provided for therein (fixed-term contract) expires.
  • On the death of the employee, the employment relationship expires.
  • A salaried employee undertakes to perform work of a specified type for and under the direction of the employer and at a place and time designated by the employer, and the employer is obliged to pay wages.
  • The employee, in the event of an incompatible termination of the contract by the employer, can claim his rights in the labour court.
  • While working – the employee must comply with the employer’s instructions
  • The period of employment for a fixed-term contract must not exceed 33 months.
  • Sufficiently hygienic working conditions should prevail at the employee’s place of work.
  • During the duration of the employment relationship, the employee does not have the possibility to renounce it or to exchange it for additional remuneration.

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