Special leave - when and who is entitled to it?


Special leave is a specific type of release from work for an important event in life. The rules for granting this type of leave are regulated by the Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy, however not every employed person can take advantage of this form of leave.

Special leave - when and who is entitled to it?

Rules for granting special leave

The rules for granting special leave, as opposed to annual leave, result from the provisions of the Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy of 15 May 1996 on the manner of excusing absences from work and granting leave to employees. 

Special leave is a paid leave which is only granted to persons employed under an employment contract (irrespective of the daily working time) for specific life circumstances in the amount of:

  • 2 days - employee's own wedding, birth of a child, death and funeral of a child, death and funeral of employee's spouse, death and funeral of employee's mother, father, stepmother or stepfather;
  • 1 day - wedding of the employee's child, death and funeral of the employee's grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, father-in-law or mother-in-law or death and funeral of another person dependent on the employee or under the employee's direct care.

Moreover, special leave granted for the death of a father-in-law or mother-in-law may also be taken by a divorced employee, since, according to the law, kinship continues despite the cessation of marriage.

In order to take special leave, an employee shall:

  • inform the employer in advance in the form of a request to take special leave - this applies to planned situations/circumstances such as a wedding ceremony,
  • notify the employer of the circumstances no later than on the second day of absence - this applies to situations that cannot be planned.

The employer may not refuse to grant the employee the right to special leave and may not recall the employee from it, however the leave on this account may be taken on a day other than the day of occurrence of the special event in the employee's life on the basis of which the employee acquires the right to be excused from work. On the other hand, if an employee acquires the right to 2 days of special leave, there is no obligation to use these days together, but it is important that they are used for their intended purpose.

Another condition is that special leave is granted only on days when work is provided; an employee may not take annual leave, unpaid leave or sick leave and special leave at the same time. 

Furthermore, the employer may request the employee to present an appropriate document entitling the employee to take special leave, e.g. a marriage certificate, and the employee should present such a document to the employer for inspection (however, the employer may not request a copy of the document for the file - the so-called data minimisation principle).

However, the circumstance that causes the loss of the right to this form of leave is the cancellation of the event which was to be the basis for granting it, such as the cancellation of a wedding ceremony.

To sum up, special leave means that an employee employed under an employment contract is released from the obligation to provide work due to a special occasion (e.g. birth of a child), with the right to remuneration retained. 


Learn more: National Labour Inspectorate (PIP): leave shorter than 14 days without a fine for employer

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