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A few words on parental leave

Parental leave is unpaid leave that applies only to employees hired under an employment contract with at least 6 months of work seniority. Its purpose is the personal care for a child.
Marta Michalik
Payroll Project Manager

Previous periods of employment are included in the six-month seniority period, which means that if an employee worked 4 months at another company before applying for parental leave, but did so under a contract of employment, they are entitled to such a leave.

Dimension of leave

According to Article 186 § 2 and § 3 of the Labor Code, the dimension of parental leave is:

  • 36 months and is granted for a period not exceeding the end of the calendar yearin which the child turns 6 years old.
  • if, due to a health condition confirmed by a certificate of disability or degree of disability, the child requires the personal care of the employee, the leave may be granted for up to 36 months, but for a period no longer than until the child reaches the age of 18.

Taking parental leave

Each parent or legal guardian is entitled to an exclusive right to one month of parental leave within a 36-month leave entitlement period. This right cannot be transferred to the other parent or legal guardian. If one parent or guardian has exercised this right, the leave can last for a maximum of 35 months.

Both parents or guardians of the child can simultaneously go on parental leave, but it should be noted that the total duration of parental leave cannot exceed the maximum limit specified in §2 and §3 of Article 186 of the Labor Code.

The right to parental leave

A parent of a child is entitled to up to 36 months of parental leave if:

  • the child's other parent is deceased
  • the child's other parent does not have parental authority
  • the child's other parent has been deprived of parental authority or such authority has been limited or suspended.

What is changing in 2023?

  1. Due to EU directives, parental leave can be taken by both parents at the same time and will consist of a maximum of 5 parts. The number of parts of the leave is determined based on the number of submitted applications for leave (Art. 186 § 31 and § 8 of the Labor Code).
  2. As of April 26th, 2023, the employer shall allow the employee to work at the end of the parental leave in their current position, and if this is not possible, in a position equivalent to the one occupied before the start of the leave on terms and conditions no less favorable than those that would have applied if the employee had not taken the leave (Art. 1864 of the Labor Code).
  3. Pursuant to Article 1867 § 1 and § 1 of the Labor Code, an employee entitled to parental leave may submit a request (in paper or electronic form) to the employer to reduce their working hours to no less than half of their full-time work during the period in which they may take such leave. The employer is obliged to grant the employee's request. The application shall be submitted 21 days before the commencement of the reduced working hours. If the application is submitted without observance of the deadline, the employer shall reduce working hours no later than 21 days from the date of submission of the application.


  • In the case of an employee using a portion of parental leave, the employee may work for reduced hours for a period corresponding to the remaining unused portion of the parental leave, but not exceeding the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 6 years old. (Article 1867 § 3 of the Labor Code).
  • Utilizing reduced working hours, as mentioned in Article 1867 § 1 of the Labor Code, does not decrease the duration of parental leave. (Article 1867 §4 of the Labor Code).

Deadline for applying for parental leave, resignation from parental leave

The application in paper or electronic form must be submitted no less than 21 days before the start of the leave. The employer is obliged to grant the employee's request.

If the application is submitted after the deadline, the employer shall grant parental leave no later than 21 days from the date of the application’s submission.

The application can also be withdrawn no later than 7 days before the scheduled start of the leave by submitting a statement to the employer in paper or electronic form.


A parent who wishes to cease their ongoing parental leave may do so at any time, meaning they can return to work from one day to the next, but with the employer's consent or by providing prior notice to the employer, no later than 30 days before the intended date of resuming work. (Article 1863 of the Labor Code).

Combining parental leave with work

During parental leave, an employee has the right to take up paid employment with their current or another employer, or engage in other activities, if it does not prevent them from personally caring for the child.

However, if it is determined that the employee has permanently ceased to provide personal care for the child, the employer shall summon the employee to report to work on the date specified by the employer, no later than 30 days from the date of receipt of such knowledge and no earlier than 3 days from the date of the summons. In such a case, we are dealing with the termination of parental leave before the predetermined date.

Protection of employees taking parental leave

According to Article 1868 § 1 of the Labor Code, an employer may not terminate or dissolve an employment contract during the period from the date on which an employee eligible for parental leave applies for:

  • granting of parental leave - until the date of terminating such leave
  • reduction of working hours - until the date of return to unreduced working hours, but no longer than for a total period of 12 months.

Employer termination of the contract is permissible only in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the employer, as well as when there are justifiable reasons for terminating the employment contract without prior notice due to the employee's fault.

In cases where an employee submits a request for parental leave more than 21 days before the start of using parental leave or reduced working hours, the prohibition of contract termination and notice of termination of employment begins to apply 21 days before the start of the leave or of the reduced working hours.

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