Pre-retirement protection - changes from 2017

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People with only a few years until their retirement age are protected against dismissal. As of October 1, 2017, new rules on pre-retirement protection apply. The age of the workers protected against dismissal has decreased. Since when, according to the new regulations, is an employee entitled to pre-retirement protection? How to determine the date of protection? Find out in the article.

Pre-retirement protection from October 1, 2017

On October 1, 2017, an amendment to the Act on Pensions entered into force - the Act of November 16, 2016 amending the Act on Pensions and Pensions from the Social Insurance Fund and some other acts (Journal of Laws of 2017, item 38). According to this amendment, the date of reaching the pension entitlement still depends on the date of birth, but the retirement age has been lowered. Now it's 60 for women and 65 for men. In connection with this change, the age at which pre-retirement protection begins has also decreased. It will cover women who are 56 years old and men who are 61 years old, that is people who are 4 years short of retirement.

Only people employed under an employment contract are covered by pre-retirement protection.

Pre-retirement protection does not apply to people who are employed on a basis other than an employment contract. Importantly, if an employee is employed in several workplaces, he is protected in all of them, regardless of the working time.

When they reach retirement age, workers are no longer protected against dismissal.

Importantly, workers who were protected under the previous rules, if they reach retirement age while still in the protection period, are still protected against dismissal until the end of the protection period.

Determining the date of pre-retirement protection

It is very important to correctly define the date from which an employee is covered by pre-retirement protection, as a covered employee cannot, as a rule, be dismissed (Art. 39 of the Labor Code).

Pre-retirement protection covers:

  • employees who started the protective age under the existing rules (4 years back from the extended retirement age) - until 4 years from the start of protection;

  • employees who will reach retirement age in the next 4 years - by October 1, 2021;

  • employees who reach the retirement age after October 1, 2021 - will be covered by protection 4 years before reaching the retirement age (56 for women and 61 for men) until it is reached.

Example 1.

Mrs. Iwona was born on May 1, 1957, so she started the pre-retirement protection on November 1, 2014. The protection period will end after 4 years - on November 1, 2018, despite the fact that in 2017 Ms Iwona will turn 60, i.e. she will reach retirement age.

Example 2.

Mr. Grzegorz was born on December 12, 1957. In line with the lowering of the retirement age, he reached it on December 12, 2018. On October 1, 2017, he was not entitled to pre-retirement protection yet, but due to the transitional provisions, he will reach the retirement age before October 1, 2021, so he was covered by the protection period from October 1, 2017 to October 1, 2021.

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Example 3.

Mrs. Monika will be 60 years old on November 3, 2026. Pre-retirement protection will be covered from November 3, 2022 (4 years back from reaching the retirement age).

When can an employee be dismissed despite pre-retirement protection?

There are times when, despite the fact that an employee is covered by protection, he may be dismissed. Pre-retirement protection will not apply to:

  • employees whose employer wants to discharge them from their fault (disciplinary action);

  • employees who obtained the right to a disability pension (Article 40 of the Labor Code);

  • employees of the workplace for which bankruptcy or liquidation has been announced (Article 411 of the Labor Code);

  • employees who are less than 4 years old before retirement age, but will not have retirement employment periods upon reaching that age.

Upon reaching retirement age, the employee is no longer protected against dismissal. However, this cannot be a ground for dismissal, as it may be considered by the court as discriminatory.