As of 22 February 2016, new rules of concluding contracts of employment are in force, in particular regarding contracts concluded for a fixed period.
Contracts of employment can now be concluded for a trial period, for an indefinite period or for a fixed period. Contracts for the time of completion of a specified task and contracts to replace an employee whose absence from work is justified (replacement employment contracts) have been eliminated from the law.
The regulations regarding the conclusion of contracts for a trial period have been made more specific. These are contracts concluded in order to verify the employee’s qualifications and the possibility of employing him to perform a specific job, and it is indicated that a renewal of this type of contract is only possible were the employee to perform a different type of job or after the lapse of 3 years from the expiration of the first contract.
The amendments to the Labour Code are also aimed at limiting long-term employment on a fixed period basis. The amended Article 25 of the Labour Code stipulates that the period of employment on the basis of a contract of employment for a fixed period, as well as the total time of employment on the basis of multiple contracts for a fixed period between the same parties of an employment relationship cannot be longer than 33 months, and the total number of such contracts cannot be higher than three. Thus, a double restriction has been inmposed – regarding both the number of subsequent contracts and the total duration of contract of employment for a fixed period. If it is agreed still during the term of the contract that it shall be prolonged, then consequently it is assumed that a contract for an indefinite period has been concluded, starting on the day following the date on which the contract was originally to expire. The same effect is produced if the contract is concluded for a period longer than 33 months to begin with or if a fourth contract for a fixed period is concluded.
However, there are also exceptions to these regulations. The restrictions are not effective if the contract for a fixed period is concluded in order to replace an employee whose absence from work is justified, if the job is occasional or seasonal in character, if the job is performed on a term basis, as well as in the event that the employer is able to indicate objective reasons on his part why the restrictions should not apply. An additional condition is that the conclusion of a contract should in each case serve the purpose of satisfying a real seasonal demand and be indispensable as such in the light of all the circumstances under which the contract is concluded. The employer has an obligation to report such unrestricted contracts to the regional labour inspector.