Every employee employed under a contract of employment in Poland is entitled to 4 days of holiday leave on demand during the year. The general opinion is that the employer must always grant such leave at the request of the employee.
Leave on demand is a privilege resulting from the provisions of the polish labor law. Article 167 of the Labor Code, states that the employer is obliged to grant such leave at the request of the employee, for the dates indicated by the employee, for a maximum period of 4 days during the calendar year. This provision also states that the employee should submit the request for such leave no later than on the day of its commencement.
These 4 days of leave on demand that an employee is entitled to request are deducted from their pool of vacation days - they are therefore not additional days off. So if an employee uses up all his/her vacation days and wants to take advantage of the leave on demand, the employer has the right to refuse such request because the overall limit of vacatiion days has been used up. In what other situations does the employer have the right to refuse to grant leave on demand?
An employee can not start his/her leave on demand until the employer has agreed to grant the leave. As is clear from the Supreme Court case law, the use of such leave without the employer's consent may be considered as a breach of employee duties, and this in turn may result in disciplinary dismissal. An employer may refuse to grant leave on demand in special circumstances if he considers that the presence of the employee is necessary to protect the employer's interests. In the judgment of the Supreme Court of November 7, 2013 (SNO 29/13) we read that:
an employer may refuse to grant leave on the basis of art. 1672 of the labour code. due to special circumstances that would require the presence of a given employee at work on the dates specified in the request for leave, in order to protect the exceptional interests of the employer.
Such a situation may occur, for example, in the case of staff shortages during the time of seasonal illnesses or when there is a large backlog of orders to process. Rejecting an employee's application for a leave on demand may also be justified in the case of a violation of the rules and regulations governing such type of leave - for example, if the request is submitted after the statutory deadline.
An employee wishing to exercise their right to take leave on demand must submit the request for such leave at the latest on the day of the commencement of the leave, by the time that they would normally be expected to start work. The regulations do not provide for a specific form of such notification. This means, therefore, that the employee can notify the employer in any way, either verbally or in writing, provided that such information is delivered in a way that leaves no doubt as to its receipt by the employer. The employer should read the content of the request before the employee starts their leave on demeand.