Guide to leaves in Poland - Calling employees back from leave Part 4


The vacations period is on the horizon and the majority of employees are already planning their holidays. The right to annual, uninterrupted, paid holiday is one of the basic rights that cannot be waived. In special circumstances, the employer may however call the worker back from their holidays.

Change of the date before the leave starts 

The employer may postpone the period of the already granted leave in a situation when special circumstances occurred and the employee’s absence would result in serious disruption of the workflow. 

In such circumstances, in consultation with the worker, the leave may be postponed to a different date. If the employer cancels the worker’s leave without a justification, it is considered as a violation of the employee’s rights and might be subject to consequences.    

Calling a worker back from a leave 

Calling the worker back from a holiday leave is only possible in a situation when their presence at work is required under circumstances that were unpredictable at the beginning of the leave and the worker’s return is needed to maintain the workflow. Such situations include, among others, an unexpected breakdown or illness of the person replacing the worker.   

Both in the case of a change in the leave period and in callback from the leave, the employer must provide a justification for such action. The worker can use the portion of the leave unused due to the callback or cancellation at any other date, after consulting it with the employer.   

How can the employer call an employee back from their leave? 

In order to call back a worker from their leave, the employer must clearly communicate to the worker the need for the cancellation of the leave and their return to work in a way that will allow the worker to acknowledge such request.
It must be highlighted that the worker on vacations has no legal obligation to answer the phone calls or check their electronic mail. Thus, when informing the worker on the need to call them back from the leave, one should consider confirming the arrangements in writing.   

What are the consequences of a callback from leave? 

By changing the period of the granted leave or calling the worker back from their leave, the employer must cover the costs incurred by the worker directly in relation to their canceled leave such as e.g., costs of the return journey, costs of accommodation and planned trips that already have been paid for and that the worker did not receive a refund for from the organizer. The worker must provide proper evidence for the above-mentioned costs.   

In case of a callback from leave that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Labor Code, the employer is exposed to the risk of paying damages to the worker in case of a dispute brought to the court. 


Author: Maja Mendelewska, HR and Payroll Specialist at the MDDP Outsourcing office in Warsaw 


Act of 26 June 1974 – Labor Code (Polish Journal of Laws of 2023, item 1465);