Working conditions

Employee education

It is worth investing in employee learning. The employee gains higher qualifications and is thus able to perform his or her job better. At the same time, the additional benefits granted to an employee improving his/her professional qualifications are exempt from tax and social security contributions (this does not apply to remuneration for training leave or exemption from all or part of the working day).

The employer is obliged to facilitate the improvement of employees’ professional qualifications. However, the breach of this obligation is not backed up by any sanction, so that it is an expression of the employer’s will. The employer’s obligation towards the employee undergoing training is to grant training leave. The employee’s entitlement to this leave, as well as to time off from work for the duration of the course, is already guaranteed by the employer’s decision to agree to the upskilling.

Upgrading professional qualifications is understood as the acquisition or supplementation of knowledge and skills by an employee, either at the employer’s initiative or with the employer’s consent. It should be emphasised that this does not have to be the knowledge (skills) required for the position in question. An employee improving his/her professional qualifications is entitled to:

  1. paid training leave,
  2. a paid exemption from all or part of the working day, for the time necessary to arrive punctually for compulsory classes and for the duration of the classes.

The employer may grant additional benefits to the employee improving his/her professional qualifications, in particular to cover training fees, travel, textbooks and accommodation.

The above regulations only apply to employees. There is, however, no regulation requiring employers to finance the education of their employees’ children. Many employers, however, choose, for example, to finance tuition costs as one of the benefits to make employment with them more attractive.

Being an employer gives you a lot of power, but it also means a lot of responsibilities. Changing realities – particularly changes in legislation – mean that an employer should constantly (or at least periodically) improve his or her qualifications. It is therefore worth reading and training a lot.

In one case, the legislator explicitly compels employers to receive training: the employer is obliged to receive training in occupational health and safety to the extent necessary to perform his duties. This training should be repeated periodically. Obligatory training may also be provided for by sectoral regulations.

In other cases, upgrading the employer’s skills is not necessary, but certainly useful. Increased knowledge makes it possible to optimise employment, including, for example, active use of tax and insurance exemptions. It also avoids many mistakes, which can be very costly for the employer.

In 2022, the Council of Ministers is to amend the Labour Code and certain other acts in order to implement the provisions of Directive 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) of 20.6.2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union (Official Journal of the EU L of 2019 No. 186, p. 105, hereinafter: Directive 2019/1152/EU) into the Polish legal order. The aim of this directive is to improve working conditions by promoting more transparent and predictable employment while ensuring the adaptability of the labour market. One of the solutions envisaged by this piece of legislation is to ensure that workers are provided with training for the purpose of carrying out the job for which they were hired. Such training is provided to the employee free of charge, counts as working time and, where possible, takes place during working hours. Which means that training:

  • should be free for employees,
  • should be counted as part of the employee’s working time,
  • should take place during working hours.

These rules are also to apply to training received by an employee on the employer’s official instructions.