Employment Law Guide / Poland

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Employment forms in Poland

The basic form of undertaking work in Poland is an employment contract. Civil law contracts (mandate contracts, specific-task contracts and B2B contracts) are also in use, however it is important to underline that they may not replace employment contracts.

Employment relationship is defined as a legal relationship where an individual person performs entrusted tasks in a designated place, designated time and under control of the employing entity. Where a relationship falls within the above mentioned definition, work shall be performed under the employment contract.

Civil contract are often used to circumvent / hide employment relationships and for that reason they are always a point of interest of labor inspection (PIP – Państwowa Inspekcja Pracy) and social security institution (ZUS – Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych). Application of civil contract instead of employment contract shall always be justified (by special features of the relationship) and documented (for the event of inspection). It is always recommended to consult a labor attorney or payroll firm before concluding a civil contract instead of an employment contract.

Employment contracts

Employment contract creates employment relationship that consists of the following key obligation:

Employment Contract in Poland

  • of an employee – to perform a specific type of work for the benefit of the employer and under his direction, at the place and time designated by him,
  • of an employer – to pay remuneration for the work performed.

Rights and obligations of the parties to the employment contract in Poland are extensively regulated in Polish Labor Code and other employment-related regulations.

Benefits of employment contract

Employment contract in Poland provides a number of benefits and privileges to the employee, e.g. :

  • minimum salary (3.010 PLN gross / month),
  • paid holiday leave,
  • sick leave,
  • maternity/paternity leave,
  • work time standards (general rules: 8 h / day in 5-day working week and 40 h / week in a settlement period that does not exceed 4 months),
  • additional remuneration for overtime hours,
  • protection against termination in certain circumstances,
  • strict procedures for employment termination (termination notice).

Indefinite / trial period and fixed term employment contract

  • Probation period employment contract (trial period contract) – may be concluded for the period up to 3 months. Probation contracts are not mandatory. It is however important to underline that in Poland probation contracts are separate contracts and probation clauses may not in included within other type of contracts (e.g. it is not allowed to include a probation period in definite or indefinite employment contract);
  • Definite period contract – may be concluded with every employee but with a limit of 33 months of total employment under such contract/s or a limit of 3 contracts of such type concluded with a single employee;
  • Indefinite period contract (permanent employment contract) – which is the most common form of employment.

Legal form of employment contract

Employment contracts should be concluded in a written form. Oral agreements, although rare in practice, are valid but the significant working conditions agreed in the oral form have to be confirmed in writing prior to commencement of work. Employment contract may also be concluded in the electronic form, but as a rule both parties have to sign the contract with a qualified electronic signature. Such a form is considered as a form equal to the written form.

Mandatory elements of employment contract

An employment contract shall contain all of the significant terms of cooperation of the employment relation parties. Employment contracts shall consist of mandatory provisions stated in the Polish Labor Law but they also may contain any other arrangements made by the parties.

Each employment contract must clearly specify the parties, the type of contract, the date of conclusion of the contract and the basic work and remuneration conditions – the type of work, the place of work, the date of commencement, the working time and remuneration corresponding to the type of work, along with the description of the remuneration components.

Choice of law in employment contracts

In most typical situations employment contracts concluded in Poland are based on the Polish law. Nevertheless it shall be remembered that, the parties to an employment contract are free to select the law of another country if it is relevant to their legal relationship. However, the choice of foreign law for employment contracts performed in Poland does not exclude the application of most of the provisions of Polish law to them.This is because the choice of law may not deprive the employee of the protection he is entitled to under the provisions of law which would have been applicable had the choice not been made and which are obligatory, i.e. may not be waived by agreement of the parties.

Jurisdiction clause in employment contracts

Provisions of EU law and Polish law limit the freedom of the parties to contractually determine jurisdiction for the employment relationship. These restrictions are dictated by the need to protect the weaker party of the employment relationship – the employee.

Therefore, the parties to an employment agreement may not exclude the jurisdiction of Polish courts by choosing foreign courts or an arbitration court ( Polish or foreign).

Further characteristics of employment relationship

Whether an employee is a party to an employment relationship or a different relationship shall be determined by the nature of the relationship and the terms of the contract and not the contract name.

An important feature of an employment relationship is that the economic and organizational risk of employment is always on the employer’s side.

Under a legal employment relationship, the employee joins the employer’s business and becomes a subordinate to the workplace regulations and the employer’s instructions as to the place, time and the method of providing work.

The employee is not obligated to perform any specific task, but to provide a specific type of work related to the position, profession or employee’s qualifications on a permanent basis.

A characteristic feature of an employment relationship is working in cooperation with a team of other employees on a continuous and repetitive basis over a period of time.

Employment agreement is different from civil law contracts as it creates a much stronger bond between the employer and the employee, is the basis for a much wider scope of mutual rights and obligations and requires more commitment on the part of the employee. On the other hand, the employer has several additional obligations that go beyond the payment of remuneration and include providing benefits that do not result from work performance (in the event of illness, the need to look after a sick family member, being called up for military service etc.).

Employment under employment agreement is subject to social and health security contributions and taxes. It is important to note that in Poland employees’ contributions and taxes are calculated, withheld and paid to the relevant authority by the employer. As a rule the employee receives from the employer the “net salary” i.e. the salary after all the deductions. Monthly calculations of the salary, taxes and social security contributions of each employee are always performed by internal payroll experts or payroll firms.

FAQ – Employment contacts

What are the types of employment contacts in Poland?

Indefinite (permanent, unfixed term) contacts, definite (fixed term) contacts and probation (trial) employment contacts.

What is the trial period in Poland?

Trial period in employment in Poland can be of maximum 3 months and shall be agreed in separate trial period contact (it cannot be included in permanent or fixed term contract).

What is the most common type of employment contract in Poland?

Permanent, i.e. indefinite employment agreement is definitely the most common in Poland.

Is there a limit of fixed term employment agreements in Poland?

Yes – fixed term agreements can be concluded in maximum number of 3 agreements or for for maximum of 33 months.

Service contracts

Mandate contract

A mandate contract is a civil contract regulated by the provisions of Polish Civil Code and not by the Labor Code. A mandate contract is commonly referred to as a B2C contract or service contract.

By executing a mandate contract the mandatory (service provider) undertakes to perform services of specific type to the benefit of the mandator (service receiver).

Advantages of mandate contract

The advantage of this type of a contract is the parties’ discretion as to determining terms of cooperation, as those are not restricted by the provisions of Polish Labor Code and may be freely defined by the parties. Another characteristic feature of the mandate contract is the mandatory’s discretion in determining the place, time and method of performing the tasks entrusted by the mandator.

Mandate contract vs employment contract

The fundamental difference between an employment contract and a mandate contract is that the mandatory is not subordinate to the mandator and as such is not required to follow the mandator’s instructions. The mandatory is not required to perform a mandate contract personally; in certain cases they may engage a subcontractor.

A mandate contract is often used to circumvent labour law regulations as this form offers a high level of flexibility. Unlike employment contracts, parties to mandate contracts are not required to comply with regulations in respect of work time, annual leave and unused leave, payment of remuneration during illness or protection against termination of employment provided in the Labor Code of Poland.

Minimum pay and social security – mandate contract

Since 1 January 2017, mandate contracts have been covered by the statutory minimum remuneration for work which is determined as a minimum hourly rate. In 2022, the statutory minimum hourly rate is equal to PLN 19.70 gross.

An employer who hires a person on the basis of a mandate contract is required to register the mandatory for social insurance purposes within 7 days from the beginning of the mandate contract. In the case of a mandate contract, the mandator is obligated to collect social insurance contributions and remit them to the social security institution (ZUS – Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych). The mandator is also required to collect the income tax on the remuneration due under a mandate contract and remit it to the relevant tax authority.

Mandate contract – key facts

Name of parties Mandator and mandatory or service receiver and service provider
Purpose Provision of services by the service provider to service receiver within non-subordination relationship where the service provider has certain degree of independence and usually may involve subcontractors
Type of contract and its regulation Mandate contract is civil contract regulated by Polish Civil Code
Flexibility in defining terms Wide flexibility in defining terms of cooperation
Remuneration and minimum wage Applicable – minimum hourly rate (PLN 19.70 gross in 2022)
Features
  • Service provider is not subordinate of the service receiver
  • Service provider is not protected by regulation related to work time, annual leave, termination notice, termination rules, illness pay typical for employment relationship
Obligation to register in social security Yes – the service receiver is obliged to register the contract with social security institution within 7 days
Obligation to collect and remit taxes Yes – the service receiver is obliged to collect and remit taxes to relevant tax office
Obligation to collect and remit social security contributions Yes – the service receiver is obliged to collect and remit social security contributions

Management contract

A management contract is a special form of a mandate contract, executed between an entrepreneur (mandator) and a manager (managing director) who is a natural person. It is regulated by Polish Civil Code (especially Article 750) and not by the Polish Labor Code.

Engagement forms of senior management (managing director)

Management contract is one of three alternative forms of managers engagement in Poland:

  • Management contract,
  • Employment contract for manager,
  • Resolution on remuneration for performing corporate functions.

Each of the above forms may be independently concluded, but to a certain degree they may be mixed, e.g. a manager may be remunerated based on both: employment contract (for performing certain management tasks) and the resolution (for performing corporate obligations).

Advantages of management contract

Management contract is the most flexible option in terms of rights and obligations determination as it is not governed by mandatory provisions of Polish Labor Law. Parties may freely negotiate and agree on the terms of cooperation. Employment contracts for managers offer lower flexibility and wider protection of managers rights. The corporate resolution also provides a high level of flexibility but it may be related only to performance of corporate obligations (company law obligations) and not to managerial tasks.

Features of management contract

The typical features of a management contract are:

  • the manager’s independence in execution of the contractual obligations, and
  • the purpose of the contract, which is to grant the control of a business to the manager who makes his own management decisions.

Managers remuneration and social security

A manager’s remuneration is usually made up of two parts: a fixed part and a variable part which depends on the financial performance of the business. In principle a manager is fully liable for damage caused, unless otherwise agreed between the parties. Managers liability is based on the principle of fault and covers both actual losses, as well as lost profits, although. Manager’s liability may be limited, for instance, to a fixed sum or losses resulting from a manager’s willful misconduct. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, management contracts can be terminated by either of the parties at any time. Management contract is usually accompanied by confidentiality and non-compete clauses or contracts. The latter one is restricted by time limits and compensation obligations if it shall be binding after termination.

As far as social insurance contributions and advance payments towards the income tax are concerned, the same rules apply to a management contract as in the case of a mandate contract.

Management contract – key facts

Name of parties Manager and the company
Purpose Provision of management services by manager towards the company
Type of contract and its regulation Management contract is civil law contract regulated by Polish Civil Code
Flexibility in defining terms Wide flexibility in defining terms of cooperation, certain limitations may apply, e.g. to non-compete after contract expiry
Remuneration and minimum wage
  • Minimum hourly rate is applicable
  • Managers remuneration is usually topped up by variable part related to business performance
Features
  • Manager is independent is execution of the contractual obligations
  • Manager is not protected by regulation related to work time, annual leave, termination rules, illness pay unless agreed in the content of the management contract
  • Management contract is usually accompanied by non-compete and confidentiality clauses
Implied terms in management contract (applicable unless excluded)
  • Manager bears unlimited liability for the damage caused unless agreed otherwise
  • Management contract may be terminated at any time by each party unless agreed otherwise
Obligation to register in social security Yes – the company is obliged to register the contract with social security institution within 7 days
Obligation to collect and remit taxes Yes – the company is obliged to collect and remit taxes to relevant tax office
Obligation to collect and remit social security contributions Yes – the company is obliged to collect and remit social security contributions

Specific-task contract (project)

A specific-task contract is a simple way to engage a person in Poland to perform a specific task, i.e. project, that most usually will bring specific, tangible results. It is regulated by the Polish Civil Code and not by the Labor Code.

By virtue of a specific-task contract, the mandatory undertakes to perform specific tangible task (e.g. create a website, write a book) and the mandator – to pay remuneration.

Advantages of specific-task contract

A specific-task contract is a convenient option for the mandator as there is no requirement to collect social insurance contributions. The mandatory is not covered by social or health insurance (unless the contract is executed with an entity with whom the mandatory is in an employment relationship).

Since 1 January 2021 each specific-work contract must be registered with the social security institution within 7 days following contract execution.

The mandator is required to collect and remit tax advance payments towards the relevant tax authority.

Specific-task contract – key facts

Name of parties Ordering party and the executing party
Purpose Provision of incidental services leading to creation of specific, tangible result
Type of contract and its regulation Specific-task contract is civil law contract regulated by Polish Civil Code
Flexibility in defining terms Wide flexibility in defining terms of cooperation
Remuneration and minimum wage Not applicable
Features
  • Specific task contract is a result oriented contract. In absence of clear result, the contract may be qualified by as mandate contract
Obligation to register in social security Yes – the ordering party is obliged to register the contract with social security agency within 7 days
Obligation to collect and remit taxes Yes – the ordering party is obliged to collect and remit the taxes to the relevant tax office
Obligation to collect and remit social security contributions No – the ordering party has no obligation to collect and remit social security contributions

B2B contract

A B2B contract is executed between two independent entrepreneurs, where the service provider provides services to the benefit of the service receiver.

B2B contract – key features

B2B contract is a civil law contract, regulated by Polish Civil Code and not restricted by labor regulations. Service providers as self-employed individuals are deprived of privileges typical for an employment relationship, such as annual leave, sick leave, remuneration during illness or maternity leave. The legal relationship created under a B2B contract is not covered by protection against termination.

B2B contracts shall be concluded between independent and equal business entities. In a B2B relationship it is vital that the service provider holds a reasonable degree of independence, decides discretionary on place, time and method of service performance.

B2B contract vs employment contract

In Poland B2B contracts are often concluded for employment laws circumvention where in fact an employment contract should have been executed.

B2B contracts shall not be compared to employment contracts due to the completely different nature of the relationship they create. However, practice of employment market shows that B2B contracts are often considered as alternatives to employment contracts, as they present number of significant advantages:

  • greater flexibility in terms determination as B2B contracts are not subject to mandatory provisions of Polish employment law
  • lower cost as the service receiver does not top up the remuneration with mandatory contributions and taxes
  • lower bureaucracy on part of service receiver due to absence of withholding obligation
  • lower taxation on part of service provider (most usually service provider may benefit from 19 % flat tax rate)

B2B contract – key facts

Name of parties Service provider and service receiver or the company and the contractor
Purpose Provision of services by individual entrepreneur (self-employed) to another entrepreneur
Type of contract and its regulation B2B contract is civil law contract regulated by Polish Civil Code
Flexibility in defining terms Wide flexibility in defining terms of cooperation, certain limitations may apply, e.g. to non-compete after contract expiry
Remuneration and minimum wage Not applicable
Features
  • Service provider is independent and shall possess reasonable flexibility in defining terms, place and time of services performance
  • Service provider may not enjoy any of rights / benefits that are typical for employment relationship (sick leave, holiday, work time, rest periods etc.) otherwise the B2B contract may be qualified as employment contract
Obligation to register in social security No obligation on part of the service receiver. Service provider shall register in the social security system on his own.
Obligation to collect and remit taxes No obligation on part of the service receiver. Service provider shall calculate and remit the taxes on his own.
Obligation to collect and remit social security contributions No obligation on part of the service receiver. Service provider shall calculate and remit the social security contributions on his own.

FAQ – Service contracts

Is a B2B contract alternative to employment contact in Poland?

No, B2B contact is not an alternative to employment contract. Both contracts are of totally different nature.

What are the forms of employment of managing directors in Poland?

Managing directors may be engaged based: Management contract, Employment contract for manager, Resolution on remuneration for performing corporate functions. In justified circumstances those forms may be applied parallelly.

What is mandate contact?

Mandate contract is a services contract. It is civil law contact, not labour law contact. The fundamental difference between an employment contract and a mandate contract is that the mandatory is not subordinate to the mandator and as such is not required to follow the mandator’s instructions.

What is specific task contract?

It is a project type contact where where the performing party has to bring specific, tangible result. Project contact is regulated by the Polish Civil Code and not by the Labor Code.

Recruitment and onboarding procedure

Recruitment process

Polish Labor Law does not regulate the content of job advertisements or the procedure of job interviews. Nevertheless, in the recruitment process, the future employer must comply with the principles of equal treatment (non-discrimination) and adhere to the rules of processing personal data of candidates.

Non-discrimination in recruitment and job adverts

When formulating the content of the advertisement and selecting candidates for work the employer shall refrain from criteria based on sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. As these criteria are not related to work, they cannot be taken into account when deciding on employment.

Nonetheless, the principle of equal treatment of job applicants is not absolute. The employer may indicate in the job advertisement a discriminative criterion if it is able to justify its importance for a given type of work. The employer must therefore demonstrate objective reasons for applying a criterion that is in principle discriminatory.  Therefore, differentiation of job candidates for reasons such as the type of work, conditions of its performance or professional requirements is allowed.

Personal data protection

The scope of the data that can be obtained from a candidate is very restricted. Generally speaking, there are 3 categories of data that can be demanded from the candidates:

  • information that an employer has the right to ask from the candidate,
  • information that may be demanded if it is necessary to perform a specific work and
  • other than the above mentioned personal data.

The employer has a right to require the following information from the candidate:

  1. name and surname,
  2. date of birth,
  3. contact data (at the candidate’s choice: email or/and phone number and/or address).

Moreover, if it is necessary to perform work of a specified type or in a given job position, the employer may require a candidate to provide information about:

  1. education,
  2. professional experience and
  3.  employment history.

Other personal data of candidates can be processed only if required by labour law or based on the candidate’s consent, however, the lack of consent or its withdrawal may not cause any negative consequences. If the data is “sensitive data” according to art. 9 (1) of GDPR (religion, political views, sexual orientation, health etc.), then an employer is not entitled to ask for such consent, the data should be provided only at the initiative of a candidate (never – at employer’s initiative).

As a general rule, employers should obtain information required for the recruitment process directly from candidates. Such information may be confirmed by presenting relevant documents (certificates, diplomas etc.).

Background screening of employees

There are following restrictions in Poland concerning background checks of the candidates for employment:

  • Employment history – employers may contact candidates’ previous employers only based on a candidate’s consent, and solely to confirm data provided in recruitment documents (CV, references) by the candidate. It is not allowed to ask for additional information not provided by the candidate;
  • Social media and public registers – so-called “professional” social media profiles such as LinkedIn, or data available in public registers accessible online (such as a National Court Register, a register of entrepreneurs) may be verified during the recruitment process if candidates are informed about it beforehand and give their consent to do so, data from private accounts such as Facebook or other candidates’ presence in media, should not be taken into account in a recruitment process;
  • Psychological tests – if not required by labour law, such tests can only be conducted based on candidates’ consent (which can be withdrawn at any time without negative consequences for a candidate) if it is justified by the job position and does not reveal any “sensitive data” (such as mental health);
  • Education – President’s of the Personal Data Protection Office (Polish supervisory body according to GDPR) official statement is that employers are not allowed to contact universities to confirm the education of the candidate – diplomas and certificates should be sufficient proof for that;
  • Criminal records – employers can only require criminal record certificates from candidates for work if such a right is specifically granted to them by law. For instance – teachers, customs officers, selected employers from the financial sector and employers who provide services to such entities are obliged to provide their employers with a court confirmation of no criminal records (or the employers may obtain them directly from the court register). It is not allowed to process information about the candidates’ criminal records on a basis of the candidate/employee’s consent – even if they explicitly and voluntarily agree to reveal such data.

The above-mentioned restrictions of background screening refer only to candidates for employees (based on an employment contract regulated by the Labor Code). Candidates for work based on B2B contracts can be examined in a broader scope, including criminal record check, provided that obtaining such information during the background check is justified and necessary to choose the right candidate for a given job.

Onboarding process

Employee onboarding in Poland

Preparation of the employment contract

First step of the onboarding process is preparation of the employment contract for a future employee. An employment contract shall be concluded in writing, although oral agreements are also valid as long as they are confirmed in writing prior to commencement of employment. Employment contract shall be drafted in Polish. Bilingual version (Polish + another language) is also permissible and often used when the contract is concluded with a non-Polish national.

Signing an employment contract

As a rule the employment contract shall be concluded in writing. In Poland “in writing” means exclusively a wet signature on a hard copy document. As an exception the signature may be placed in special electronic form i.e. qualified electronic signature eIDAS complaint. The key disadvantage of the qualified electronic signature form is that both parties must possess such a signature (and this is very rare in the case of employees). Regular electronic signatures provided by numerous worldwide providers are not acceptable. Therefore, an employment contract signed with a regular “DocuSign” signature or signed by one party and sent as a scan via email to the second party will not be acknowledged as concluded in mandatory, written form.

Mandatory and optional employment documents

Mandatory documents handled to each new employee include:

  1. An employment agreement;
  2. Questionnaire for employee – special form includes an employee’s personal data and information; the questionnaire shall be completed after the conclusion of the employment agreement;
  3. Personal data processing information clause – obligatory document pursuant to European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); it contains information about processing employee’s personal data, purposes and legal basis of data processing;
  4. Work terms & conditions information statement required by article 29 of Polish Labor Code;
  5. Statement on acknowledgment of internal regulations and H&S regulations – by signing this statement the employee declares that was informed by the employer about work terms and conditions (incl. Work Regulation and Remuneration Regulation), work time, provisions and scope of confidentiality, Health & Safety and fire protection provisions;
  6. Information on working time systems applicable in the workplace – if the employer is not covered by a collective agreement or is not obliged to issue Work Regulations (i.e. hires less than 50 employees based on employment contracts), working time systems and schedules, as well as the applicable calculation periods of working time are specified in the employer’s announcement.

An employer may decide to conclude some optional agreements with a new employee. Most common optional agreements concluded with employees include:

  1. Confidentiality contract (NDA) – each employee is obliged to keep the trade secrets of the employer based on the generally applicable provisions of law (Act on combating unfair competition) – in most cases statutory regulation or simple confidentiality clause shall be enough; in case of high management or employees who will access to secured information, it is recommend to sign a separate NDA contract to strengthen the employer’s interest protection
  2. Non-competition during employment period contract – should be concluded as a separate contract; the breach of non-competition allows the employer to terminate the employment contract without notice period and demand compensation for damage;
  3. Non-competition after employment period – this is a contract signed with employee who has an access to protected, important information; employee has a right to compensation of a minimum level of 25% of remuneration received before termination of an employment
  4. Agreement on entrustment of property – such contract is signed with employees who are entrusted a valuable property – laptop, phone, company car etc.; under the proper entrustment of property employee is fully liable for any loses (in all other cases liability of an employee is limited to the amount of 3 monthly remunerations)
  5. Training contract – such a contract defines the rights, duties and responsibilities of the employee in relation to raising his / her professional qualifications (leave conditions, costs of coverage etc.), obligation of the employee to remain in an employment relationship during the training and, in case of termination of the employment agreement by the employee, allows for reimbursement of training costs incurred by the employer.

Passing document to the payroll provider and set up of employee personal files

All of the original copies of the documents signed or provided to the employee shall be passed immediately to an HR department or an external payroll provider.

Each employer is obliged to store the employment related documentation. Regardless of the form of business activity, the number of employees, personal files should be created and maintained separately for each employee. This obligation is particularly important due to its evidentiary importance in disputes over claims arising from the employment relationship.

Detailed rules for keeping employee documentation (employment files) are included in the regulation of the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy on employee documentation. Pursuant to the provisions contained in the regulation, personal files should consist of four parts:

  • Part A – recruitment related documents,
  • Part B – employment establishment and performance related documents,
  • Part C – termination related documents,
  • Part D – employee’s liability related documents.

An employer may decide whether he wants to keep records in paper or electronic form. To keep employee files in electronic form, employers need software that meets the technical requirements specified in the regulations of labour law and a signature or a qualified seal, because each document must be accompanied by such a confirmation.

Medical examination for work

Each employee must undergo the medical examination and receive a medical certificate stating that he/she is capable of working in a given work position. Work position and description of the conditions of work is placed in the referral which shall be issued by an employer. Organization and the cost of obtaining a medical certificate is fully an employer’s responsibility. Commencement of work by an employee without medical certificate stating his/her ability to perform work on entrusted job position is illegal and may be subject to a fine and impact the employer’s liability in case of accident at work.

There are some exemptions from the obligation to obtain medical certificate by the employee i.e.:

  1. persons employed again with the same employer on the same job position or at the position with the same working conditions, within 30 days of termination or expiry of the previous employment relationship with same employer;
  2. persons employed with another employer on a given job position, within 30 days after termination or expiry of the previous employment relationship, if they provide employer with a valid medical certificate confirming that there are no contraindications to work under the working conditions described in a referral to medical examinations, and an employer ascertains that these conditions correspond to the conditions encountered at a given job position, with the exception of persons admitted to perform particularly hazardous types of work.

Occupational health and safety training

Occupational health and safety training is divided into initial and periodic training. Initial training is carried out prior to employment commencement, periodic training is carried out from time to time as the labour law may require. The validity of the training is determined by the Regulation of the Minister of Economy and Labor on training in the field of occupational health and safety. The training is usually done by the professional, external provider. Online training is also available for selected work positions. A positively passed test summarizing health and safety training is the basis for obtaining a certificate of completion of the training which must be stored in employee personal files. Commencement of work by an employee without the completed OHS training is illegal and may be subject to a fine and impact the employer’s liability in case of accident at work. Obligation to undergo the training and obtain certificates applies also to regular office workers.

In addition to above – the employees shall also undergo the separate OHS training that is usually done by the manager at a workplace and concerns safe and hygienic performance of work in a given, specific work environment.

Registering new employee in social security system

Each new employee must be reported to social security (ZUS). Depending on the scope of benefits of the employee, the application shall cover health insurance premiums or health insurance premiums and specific social security premiums. The application must be made within 7 days from the date the insurance obligation arises (i.e. from the moment of commencement of work).

Enrollment in Employee Capital Plans (PPK)

As a rule – after the lapse of 3 months of employment, each new employee in the age of 18 – 55 years shall be enrolled by the employer to a private system of long-term savings – Employee Capital Plans. Agreement for running a PPK on behalf of a new employee, shall be concluded by the employer no later than by the 10th day of the following month after laps of the 3-months of employment term. As PPK is an opt-out program, in order to resign from PPK, an employee shall submit to the employer a written resignation (hardcopy document with wet signature).

new employee, within the term of the 10th day of the month after laps of 90 days of employment, shall be enrolled in Employee Capital Plans (PPK)

FAQ – Onboarding

Are background checks legal in Poland?

Backgrounds check are possible but within very limited scope. E.g. employers may contact candidates’ previous employers only based on a candidate’s consent. LinkedIn and similar profiles may be verified during the recruitment process if candidates are informed about it beforehand and give their consent. Data from private accounts (Facebook) should not be taken into account in a recruitment process.

Is criminal background check legal in Poland?

Employers in Poland can only require criminal record certificates from candidates for work / job position if such a right is specifically granted to them by specific provision of law. For most positions it is not allowed and check criminal record certificates even upon consent of the candidate.

What are key onboarding obligations in Poland?

Key onboarding obligations are: signing employment contract, reporting new employee to ZUS (social security), obtaining medical certificate for new employee and arranging health and safety training.

Is medical check mandatory prior to commencing work in Poland?

Yes, medical check (and obtaining medical certificate) is required prior to starting work at any new employer in Poland.

Remuneration / Salary / Wage

As a rule, the conditions of remuneration for work and other work – related benefits, shall be regulated and agreed in the individual employment contract. However if the employer is bound by collective labour agreement the remuneration cannot be lower as agreed therein. In addition if the employers employ at least 50 employees (and is not covered by collective labour agreement) shall enact and obey internal Remuneration Regulations.

Principles regarding remuneration

Minimum remuneration (minimum wage) / Poland

Full – time employees cannot be offered remuneration lower than the statutory minimum remunerationwhich in 2022 amounts 3.100,00 PLN gross per month. Half – time employees are also covered by the statutory minimum remuneration calculated proportionally.

Minimum wage (salary) – 2022 / Poland 3.100 PLN  gross/ month
Minimum hourly rate – 2022 / Poland 19.70 PLN gross / hour
Minimum wage (salary) – Q1 and Q2 of 2023 / Poland 3.490 PLN  gross/ month
Minimum hourly rate – Q1 and Q2 of 2023 / Poland 22.80 PLN gross / hour
Minimum wage (salary) – Q3 and Q4 of 2023 / Poland 3.600 PLN  gross/ month
Minimum hourly rate – Q3 and Q4 of 2023 / Poland 23.50 PLN gross / hour

Remuneration is due for work performed

Basic rule concerning remuneration is that it shall be due only for work, which was actually performed. An employee is entitled to remuneration despite non-performance only where Polish labor law states so. As an example:

  • work stoppage without employee’s fault (an economic downtime),
  • cases when employer releases employee from obligation of work during notice period,
  • the leave for the job search during the period of notice,
  • cases when an employer employing a pregnant female at particularly onerous jobs which are threat to health shortens her working time,
  • time not spent at work in connection with mandatory medical check – ups or OHS training.

No remuneration shall be due for a defective manufacture of products or provision of services where it occurs due to employee’s fault.

Remuneration waiver

An employee may not waive his right to remuneration or assign this right to another person.

Equal pay

Polish Labour Code establishes the principle of equal pay which states that “employees shall have a right to equal remuneration for the same work or for work of the same value”. Work “of the same value” shall be understood as work which requires comparable employee’s qualifications, practice and experience, as well as, comparable responsibility and effort. Different levels of remuneration for similar positions shall be always justified by justified and objective factors.

Remuneration payment rules

Polish law establishes mandatory remuneration payment rules (pay rules), which shall always be obeyed by each employer:

  • remuneration for work shall be paid at least once a month, always on the same, fixed day,
  • where the fixed day on which remuneration for work is paid happens to by holiday, remuneration shall be paid the day before,
  • remuneration for work which is payable once a month, shall be paid at the end of the month, immediately after its full amount has been calculated, not later than during the first 10 days of the next calendar month,
  • remuneration shall be paid in monetary form; other forms of payment are permitted only in cases strictly regulated by law.

Deductions from remuneration

Employees remuneration is subject to strict protection in Poland, and the employer is not allowed to deduct any sums from the remuneration unless explicitly allowed by employment regulations. Polish Labour law provisions allow deductions (claim compensation) exclusively of specific categories of amounts and also only to certain specified limits.

Regarding the categories of allowed deductions (claim compensation) – after mandatory deductions of taxes and social security contributions – they employer may deduct from employees remuneration:

  • sums due under enforcement orders to satisfy maintenance claims,
  • sums due under enforcement orders to satisfy claims other than maintenance claims,
  • cash advantages given to an employee,
  • fines imposed in disciplinary procedures,
  • others sums – only upon employees written consent.

Each of the above categories, incl. employee consent, is subject to different deduction limits, as well as, separate regulation of amount-free from deduction.

Remuneration for sickness or temporary incapacity for work

Sick pay

For a period of an employee’s incapacity for work due to:

  • sickness or mandatory isolation – retains right to 80 % of remuneration amount or more;
  • accident at or when traveling to work– retain the right to 100% of remuneration amount;
  • sickness during pregnancy – retain the right to 100% of remuneration amount;

i.e. – sick pay – that is payable by the employer for the first 33 days of incapacity (of 14 days in case of employees of 50 years old or more). 80% and 100% of the employee’s average remuneration calculated on the basis of the amounts received for the 12 consecutive months preceding the period of incapacity to work.

Sickness benefit

From the 34th day of such incapacity the sick pay turns into sickness benefit payable by Polish Social Security Agency (ZUS) for a maximum period of 182 days per year (or 270 days – in case of tuberculosis or a disease during pregnancy).

An employee to be is eligible for sickness benefit must be insured for more than 30 days.

Employers greater than 20 employees, pays out sickness benefit from its own funds (finances sickness benefit) but, in return, are allowed to deduct those amounts from current payments of contributions to Polish Social Security Agency (ZUS).

Medical certificate

Every absence due to sickness shall be justified (justified absence) by an employee by delivering medical certificate on incapacity to work. From December 1, 2018, doctors in Poland issue only electronic medical certificates on incapacity to work. The doctor signs a medical certificate, the so-called e-ZLA with the use of a certificate from ZUS, a qualified electronic signature or a trusted signature, and then sends them electronically to ZUS. ZUS provides e-ZLA to the contribution payer, i.e. the employer on his profile at PUE ZUS (dedicated online platform) no later than on the day following the day of receiving the e-ZLA. Importantly, medical certificates do not contain information about the statistical number of the disease. Information about the issued sick leave is also provided to the insured, i.e. the employee, who has the profile of the insured beneficiary on the PUE ZUS platform.

The medical certificate (justified absence certificate) is issued for the expected period of incapacity to work. In the case of a sickness longer than 30 consecutive calendar days, the employee is required to undergo a medical check-up to confirm the capacity to work on the entrusted job position.

FAQ – Salary

What is minimum wage in Poland in 2023?

Until end of June 2023 the minimum salary will be equal to: 3490 zł gross; afterwards the minimum salary will amount to 3600 zł gross.

What is minimum hourly rate in Poland in 2023?

Until end of June 2023 the minimum hourly rate will be equal to: 22,80 zł gross afterwards the minimum hourly rate  will amount to 23,50 zł gross.

Working time

We have devoted separate, detailed chapter to working hours in Poland. Below we present just basic principles.

Polish Labour Code defines working time as the time when an employee remains at the disposal of an employer in the work establishment, or in another place where work is to be performed.

Standard working hours / normal working hours

In principle, normal working time shall not exceed (8) eight hours a day and on average, 40 hours in an average five – day working week, in the adopted calculation period not exceeding 4 months.

Weekly working hours, together with overtime, shall not exceed on average 48 hours within the adopted calculation period.

Daily norm (maximum) 8 h
Weekly norm (average) 40 h

Rest period

Polish employment working time regulations provide two basic rest periods.

Daily rest period (8) eight hours of interrupted rest
Weekly rest period 35 h of interrupted rest, including at least (11) eleven hours, that shall contain Sunday

Daily rest period

Within each day an employee shall be entitled to at least 11 hours of interrupted rest.

Daily rest period is not applicable to employees managing the workplace on behalf of an employer. Such employees are entitled to an equivalent period of rest.

Weekly rest period

Each week an employee shall be entitled to a minimum 35 hour period of interrupted rest, including at least 11 hours of interrupted daily rest period.

Weekly, rest period shall contain Sunday (meaning consecutive 24 hours starting from 6.00 am on that day, unless another time applies at a given employer). In case of approved work on Sunday, rest may be assigned to a day other than Sunday.

Weekly rest period of employees managing the workplace on behalf of an employer may consist of a smaller number of hours, no fewer however, than 24 hours.

Break from work

Mandatory break (work above 6 hours) 15 minutes included in working time
Facultative lunch break up to 1 h – not included in the working time

When a daily working time is at least (6) six hours, an employee shall be entitled to a 15 – minute break from work which shall be counted into working time.

An employer may also introduce one break from work, in the maximum length of 1 hour (lunch break), which shall not be counted into working time. Such breaks shall be introduced in workplace regulations.

Leave from work

Leaves from work in Poland may be divided into paid and unpaid leaves. Whether an employee will be entitled to a certain kind of leave from work will depend on his individual situation and status.

Holiday leave (,,urlop wypoczynkowy”)

Holiday leave is due to each employee for the purpose of rest and regeneration of strength. The scope of the holiday leave depends on general work seniority and amounts to 20 or 26 days per calendar year. As a rule, employees gain the right to full holiday leave on January 1st of a given calendar year, except the situation of the first employment of an employee (first job in person’s life) when the right to a leave is acquired each month, proportionally to employment period.

Using holiday leave

Holiday leave shall be used within the given calendar year and divided in a way that at least one part of the leave is used for two consecutive weeks. If it is not possible to use the whole leave during the given calendar year, it shall be granted to the employee no later than till the end of September of the following year. An employee’s claim concerning unused holiday is statute barred after 3 years starting from 1 November of the calendar year following the year in which the holiday was accrued.

It is not legally possible to resign from the holiday leave or to lower its scope stated in the provisions of law.

Equivalent for unused holiday

Holiday leave shall always be used in nature, it is not possible to pay out cash equivalent instead. Nevertheless, there is one exemption – in case the employment is terminated and the employee has some unused holiday leave (from previous year/years or a current year- proportionally to employment term) the employer is obliged to pay a cash equivalent for each day of the unused holidays. The rest of the holiday leave due for that calendar year shall be used at the new employer, proportionally to the employment term at the new workplace in a given calendar year. Therefore, the statutory limit of 20 or 26 days per calendar year is applicable even if the employee changes employer during one calendar year.

Holiday leave on demand

As a part of holiday leave – 4 days may be used – in a form of so-called leave on demand. During the calendar year, every employee is entitled to a leave on demand, the maximum length of which is 4 days. This leave can be used at once or individually at any time interval. Importantly, it is part of the holiday leave, and therefore it is used as part of the basic dimension – 20 or 26 days. Moreover, the employee may use it only when he has the right to holiday leave.

Intention to use the leave on demand shall be reported by the employee to the employer no later than on the day of its commencement. The employer may be notified in any form – it can be done by phone, e-mail, courier or another person. Leave on demand is not scheduled in advance. As a rule, it should be granted to the employee within the period indicated by the employee, however, as a rule the employer has no right to refuse to grant it. In practice such a leave is used by employees in case of unpredictable circumstances that prevent them from attending work.

FAQ – Holiday leave in Poland

What is holiday allowance in Poland?

Holiday entitlement in Poland depends on general work seniority and amounts to 20 or 26 days per calendar year.

What is holiday on demand?

It is not schedule, not planned leave of maximum 4 days (included in holiday leave) that may be requested by the employee at any time but not later than just before commencement.

Is holiday leave time barred in Poland?

Yes, holiday allowance may be time barred after 3 years starting from 1 November of the calendar year following the year in which the holiday was accrued.

Can I ask cash equivalent instead of holiday?

Not really, cash equivalent for unused holiday may be paid out only if the employment expires (e.g. due to termination) and holiday allowance was not used until expiration day.

Other paid leaves

Paid leave in Poland is defined as a form of a break from work for which an employee keeps the right to remuneration. The following types of paid leaves shall be distinguished:

Occasional leave (,,urlop okolicznościowy”)

Each employee is entitled to occasional leave in connection with important events in life. Occasional leave shall be used on the day of an event or any day around that day. Occasional leave is a short-term leave, its duration depends on the type of event. Occasional leave is granted due to:

  • own wedding – 2-day leave
  • birth of a child – 2-day leave
  • a child’s wedding – 1-day leave
  • death and funeral of a mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, spouse, child – 2-day leave
  • death and funeral of a brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, father-in-law or other person who was dependent on the employee or under his direct care – 1-day leave.

Childcare leave (,,opieka nad dzieckiem”)

Each employee, regardless of gender, raising a child up to the age of 14, is entitled to 16 hours or 2 days per calendar year of paid childcare leave. The parent, when submitting the first application for this leave, must declare whether s/he intends to use it in days or in hours. Childcare leave is independent from annual holiday leave and it does not reduce it. Childcare leave provides two additional days on the top of standard 20 or 26 days of annual holiday leave.

Paternity leave (,,urlop ojcowski”)

The employee – father is entitled to paternity leave amounting to 14 days, which can be divided into two equal parts. The entitlement to paternity leave belongs exclusively to the employee-father. The leave cannot be transferred to the child’s mother. The paternity leave is a one-off entitlement and may be used until the child turns the age of 24 months. In practice the 14 days of paternal leave is most usually used directly after the child is born.

Maternity leave (,,urlop macierzyński”)

The purpose of maternity leave is to protect the health of a pregnant woman, to provide her with the conditions for proper childbirth, regeneration of strength after the birth and to take care of the child in the first period of life. The length of a maternity leave amounts to:

  1. 20 weeks if one child is born during one delivery
  2. 31 weeks if two children are born in one delivery
  3. 33 weeks if three children are born in one delivery
  4. 35 weeks if four children are born in one delivery
  5. 37 weeks if five and more children are born in one delivery.

Part of the maternity leave may be taken 6 weeks prior to the expected date of birth.

Maternity benefit

If the employee applies for maternity and parental leave (in one application) within 21 days after giving birth to the child – the maternity benefit will be paid out in the amount equal to 80% of salary for the entire year.

If the employee does not meet the above deadline for requesting maternity and parental leave – the maternity benefit will be paid out in the amount equal to 100% of salary for the first 20 weeks, and only 60% for the period of parental leave.

Maternity leave – adoption and foster family

The right to maternity leave shall be also granted to an employee who took a child for upbringing as a foster family or applied for the child’s adoption.

Parental leave (,,urlop rodzicielski”)

After completing the maternity leave, the employee acquires the right to parental leave. It’s duration also depends on the number of children born at one delivery and amounts to:

  • 32 weeks if one child is born in one delivery
  • 34 weeks when more than one child is born in one delivery
Parental benefit

The employee in order to take advantage of parental leave shall submit an application to the employer. The application shall be submitted within 21 days after giving birth to the child. If the deadline is met – the employee will receive the benefit in the same amount throughout the entire period of maternity and parental leave – i.e. 80% of calculation basis. If an employee does not meet the 21 days deadline, the maternity allowance will be paid in the amount of 100% of calculation basis for the period of maternity leave and then 60% of calculation basis for the period of the parental leave. In any case, an employee should submit an application for parental leave no later than 21 days before its commencement date.

Leave for the purpose of job seeking (,,urlop na poszukiwanie pracy”)

In the case of employment termination by the employer, the employee is entitled to a paid leave for the purpose of looking for a job. The scope of job-seeker leave depends on the length of the notice period and amounts to:

  • 2 working days of leave – in case of 2 weeks or 1 month notice period
  • 3 working day of leave – in case of 3 months notice period

Training leave (,,urlop szkoleniowy”)

Training leave shall be granted to an employee who raises his professional qualifications with the consent of the employer. Training leave shall be granted for the following duration:

  • 6 days – for preparation for high school exam (so-called ,,matura”)
  • 21 days – for preparation of diploma thesis and to prepare for and participate in the diploma exam.

For the duration of the training leave the employee retains the right to remuneration. Days of training leave do not reduce the holiday leave. Holiday and training leave are independent benefits.

Unpaid leaves

Unpaid leave on employee’s request (,,urlop bezpłatny na wniosek pracownika”)

Pursuant to art. 174 § 1 of Polish Labor Code, an employer may grant an employee unpaid leave for any purpose whatsoever. During unpaid leave the employment relationship does not cease, but is temporarily suspended. The essence of unpaid leave is to release:

  • an employee from the obligation to perform work, and
  • the employer from the obligation to pay remuneration to an employee.

Unpaid leave may be granted by the employer at the employee’s request. The employer is not obliged to accept employees’ requests. Acceptance of the request and implementation of unpaid leave depends on the discretion of the employer. The duration of the unpaid leave is not defined and may be freely agreed between the parties. The unpaid leave may be extended or shortened upon parties consent. The Labour Code of Poland provides that in case of unpaid leave longer than 3 months, the parties may agree that the employee may be requested to return (leave cancellation) to work for important reasons.

Unpaid leave and benefits

Unpaid leave is considered as a break in employment, as a result its duration is not included in the period of work on which the employee’s benefits depend, or in the period of work on which the entitlement to benefits from employee retirement benefits depend. During unpaid leave, the employee loses the right to sickness insurance benefits.

Unpaid leave for the purpose of work for another employer – employee leasing leave

Art. 1741 § 1 of Polish Labour Code provides that the employer may grant to the employee an unpaid leave to perform work for another employer for the period specified in the agreement between the employers.

This leave’s purpose is “lending” an employee to another employer for a period specified in the employers’ agreement (so-called employee leasing).

The initiative to grant the employee leasing leave shall come from the employer, however employees consent is required to implement the leave. An employee exercising such a leave will remain a party to two independent employment relationships. The employment relationship between the employee and the first employer continues, although the obligations of the parties are suspended for the duration of the unpaid leave. Period of such leave will be included in the period of work on which the employee rights in the first workplace depend.

Family leave (,,urlop wychowawczy”)

Family leave is granted to an employee for the purpose of looking after a minor child, but the care may not be provided for longer than until the child reaches the age of 6 (unless the child requires longer care due to a disability – in this case, until the child reaches the age of 18).

The duration of the family leave is up to 3 years, with one parent having the right to use a maximum of 35 months – the other parent should use at least 1 month of the leave. Family leave may be granted in maximum 5 parts. The duration of the family leave is included in the employment seniority which determines employee rights.

A family leave may be granted only after working for a minimum of 6 months (the previous periods of employment are included in this period).

FAQ – Leaves / Poland

What is maternity leave in Poland?

Maternity leave in Poland amounts to 20 weeks if one child is born during one delivery.

What is the maternity benefit / maternity allowance in Poland?

Depending on the scheme chosen it is 80% of salary for 100% of salary.

Parenthood rights and benefits

Employees-parents have special privileges under the Polish labor law.

Protection against termination

An employer may not terminate or dissolve an employment contract during pregnancy, as well as during maternity and parental leave, unless there are reasons justifying disciplinary termination (i.e. contract termination without notice due to employee’s fault) and the trade union organization representing the employee agreed to terminate the contract.

After returning from maternity or parental leave, the employer is obliged to allow the employee to work in the previous position, and only if it is impossible (e.g. liquidation of the job position took place) – in a position equivalent to the one held before the leave or in a different position that corresponds to employee’s qualifications. The remuneration for work of an employee returning to work after maternity or family leave may not be lower than the remuneration for the work due to an employee on the day of starting work in the position held before the leave.

Automatic employment contract extension

An employment contract concluded for a definite period or for a trial period exceeding one month, which would expire after the third month of pregnancy, shall be extended until the day of childbirth.

Extended sick leave during pregnancy

Pregnant female employees who are sick or incapable during pregnancy benefit from extended sick leave – 270 days (compared to standard 182 days).

Increased sickness benefit during pregnancy

Pregnant female employees are entitled to increased sickness benefit, i.e. 100% of the salary for the period of inability to work during pregnancy. During the first 33 days, the so-called sickness benefit (sick pay) will be paid by the employer and from the 34th day onwards, it will be paid either by ZUS (in case of small employers below 20 employees), or by the employer directly (in case of bigger employers of 20 and above employees). In the second case – the bigger employer will be allowed to set off or reimburse the amount of sick pay from ZUS (as a result – in the end – the burden of sick pay will be borne by ZUS).

Leave from work for pregnancy medical examination

Pregnant female employees are entitled to paid leave from work for the purpose of doctor-recommended medical examinations if these examinations cannot be carried out outside working hours. The pregnant female employee retains the right to remuneration for the time of absence from work for this reason.

Holiday leave during pregnancy

Pregnant female employees accrue holiday entitlement based on general rules. Using pregnancy related leaves, incl. sick leave and maternity leave does not suspend or reduce the holiday entitlement. As a result, despite absence, the holiday leave entitlement accumulates and the employee will be able to use / benefit from it after returning to work.

Working time restrictions of pregnant employees

Working time during pregnancy cannot exceed 8 hours. Pregnant employees may not be employed overtime or at night. A pregnant woman may not also be delegated outside her regular place of work or employed in the system of interrupted working time without her consent.

What is more, pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding a child may not perform burdensome, dangerous or harmful work that may adversely affect their health, the course of pregnancy or breastfeeding a child.

Leaves from work connected to parenthood – example / simulation of leaves

Employees – parents (both females and males) acquire a right to leave from work in connection to labor and raising a child.

Simulation of the absence from work of an employee due to maternity, based on the assumption that individual leaves will be used continuously and to the full extent:

Date of birth of the child (one child born at one birth): 09-09-2022
Maternity leave (20 weeks) 09-09-2022 until 26-01-2023 scheme A payment: 80% of calculation basis

scheme B payment:100% of calculation basis

Parental leave (32 weeks) 27-01-2023 until 07-09-2023 scheme A payment: 80% of calculation basis

scheme B payment: 60% of calculation basis

Family leave (35 months*) 07-09-2023 until 07-08-2026 Not paid, but the period of parental leave is included in the employment seniority on which the employee rights and length of service depend.

* Within the maximum 36-month period of parental leave, 1 month is intended only for the other parent, e.g. mother is on leave for 35 months, and dad for 1 month or vice versa. This right cannot be transferred to the other parent or guardian of the child. Therefore, if the entitlement is exercised by one of the parents or guardians, the duration of the leave may not exceed 35 months.

Childcare leave is granted for a period not longer than until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 6, or in the case of parental leave for the care of a disabled child up to the age of 18.

Employment contract termination

We have devoted separate, detailed chapter to employment termination in Poland. Below we present just basic redundancy / dismissal rules.

Employment contract termination may be done under:

  1. by mutual agreement
  2. by termination with notice period (regular termination)
  3. by termination without notice period (disciplinary termination)
  4. upon expiration of the contract period

Mutual Termination Agreement (MTA)

Employer and employee are not restricted in deciding on conditions of termination of employment contract (regardless of type). Mutual termination agreement shall be concluded in writing with wet signatures. Oral agreement will also be valid but may encounter evidentiary obstacles in case of labour litigation.

Termination with the notice period

Employment agreements may be terminated by each party (employer and employee) in regular mode, i.e. with the notice period. What is specific for Polish law, is that every employment agreement incl. a fixed term contract (definite period contract) may be terminated subject to the statutory notice periods. Therefore, even if an employee has a 12 months fixed term contract it can be terminated with implied, statutory notice periods.

Notice periods

Notice periods in Poland for employment termination are fixed by law and cannot be shortened by parties in the employment contract. Notice period depends on job tenure (with given employer) of particular employee and amounts to:

Notice period of 2 week
  • Employees with job tenure below 6 months
Notice period of 1 month
  • Employees with job tenure exceeding 6 months
Notice period of 3 months
  • Employees with job tenure exceeding 3 years

Severance pay

Severance pay is due to the employee if:

  • is dismissed under the group collective dismissals procedure, or
  • dismissal is individual but made exclusively for reasons other than the employee’s conduct and performance, provided the employer employs at least 20 employees.
Severance pay of 1-month remuneration
  • Employees with job tenure exceeding 2 years
Severance pay of 2-months remuneration
  • Employees with job tenure 2 – 8 years
Severance pay of 3-months remuneration
  • Employees with job tenure exceeding 8 years

Termination without notice period

Termination without notice period (immediate termination) may be applied if there is a justified reason:

  • employee seriously violates the basic duties,
  • employee commits an offense, which makes further employment impossible, and if the offense is obvious or has been confirmed in the final court ruling,
  • employee loses permit required to perform employment related duties.

Polish law does not provide definition of “valid” or “justifiable” reason, as a result it shall be evaluated by the labour court (in the event of litigation). In any case the reasons must be specific, understandable and real.

Benefits in Poland

Employee benefits in Poland

Employees working in Poland based on employment agreements are obligatory covered by the widest scope of employee benefits which we present in the below table.

Mandatory employee benefits The employer is obliged to cover the employee with the following mandatory public benefits:

  • occupational medicine
  • occupational health and safety
  • retirement insurance
  • disability insurance
  • sickness insurance
  • accident insurance
  • health care insurance
Voluntary employee benefits All other employee benefits are voluntary

Social security contributions

In Poland “social security insurance” is referred to as group of compulsory employment insurance that it consists of retirement insurance, disability insurance for disabled employees, sickness insurance, accident insurance and health care insurance

Amounts (percentages) of the contributions are presented in the below table. Those amounts shall be deducted by the employer from the gross salary of the employee and remitted to competent public authority each month.

Contribution Contribution amount Deducted and remitted by
Retirement insurance 19.52% of the calculation basis Employer
Disability insurance 8.00% of the calculation basis Employer
Sickness insurance 2.45% of the calculation basis Employer
Accident insurance 1.67% of the calculation basis Employer
Health care insurance 9.00% of the calculation basis Employer
Insurance for Labor Fund (Labour Fund) 2.45% of the assessment base Employer
Guaranteed Payments Fund 0,10 % of the calculation basis Employer
Employee Capital Pension Scheme

unless not outed out by the employee

3% (or voluntarily – more) of the calculation basis Employer

Retirement and pension

The retirement age in Poland is currently 65 for men and 60 for women.

Man retirement age
  • 65 years old
Woman retirement age
  • 60 year old

Disciplinary liability

Disciplinary liability rules as well as disciplinary procedures are regulated by Polish Labour Code and are binding for all Polish employers. Those rules shall not be changed in internal handbooks and may be only improved / supplemented without changing merits.

The primary duty of each employee is to perform duties diligently and conscientiously, and to follow the supervisor’s instructions, unless they are inconsistent with the law. Employees are required to comply with working hours, regulations, occupational health and safety rules and rules of social coexistence in the workplace.

Disciplinary penalties

If the employee violates his duties, the employer may impose one the the disciplinary sanctions:

  • non-pecuniary penalties: an admonition and reprimand
  • pecuniary penalties, i.e. a financial penalty

Above list of disciplinary sanctions is closed. An employer cannot impose any other types of sanctions. Application of other penalties than those provided for in the Labour Code constitutes an offense against the employee’s rights and is subject to a fine from PLN 1,000 to PLN 30,000.

Penalty of admonition or reprimand May be imposed for failure by the employee to comply with the established organization and order during work, occupational health and safety regulations, fire regulations, as well as failure to comply with the adopted method of confirming the arrival and presence at work and justifying the absence from work
Financial penalty may be imposed for the employee’s failure to comply with occupational health and safety or fire regulations, leaving work without justification, showing up for work under the influence of alcohol or drinking alcohol at work

Disciplinary procedure

Disciplinary procedure is also precisely regulated in Polish labor law, the rules shall not be changed in handbooks and internal regulations of the workplace.

Imposing disciplinary penalty

If the employer decides to impose a penalty, the penalty notice shall:

  • delivered to the employee
  • specify the type and date of the infringement
  • inform the employee about the right to raise an objection.

Objection against the penalty

If in the employee’s opinion the disciplinary penalty was imposed with violation of the law, the employee may raise an objection within 7 days from the date of notification of the penalty. The employer decides whether to accept or reject the objection. Failure to reject the objection within 14 days from the date of its submission shall be deemed as acceptance of the objection. If the objection is rejected, the employee may, within 14 days from the date of notification of the objection being rejected, apply to the labour court to revoke the penalty.

Recording penalty in the employee’s files

Information about the imposed penalty is recorded and placed in the employee’s personal files. After a year of impeccable work, the notification of the imposition of a penalty should be removed from the employee’s personal file, and the penalty shall be considered inexistant.

Health and safety

Both employer and employee are obliged to comply with occupational health and safety and fire protection regulations.

Employer’s obligations – health and safety

General health and safety obligations
  • ensure safe and healthy conditions in the workplace
  • ensure compliance with OHS regulations in the workplace (to protect human life)
  • give instructions concerning the removal of any deficiencies in the area of OHS
  • verify the implementation of these instructions
  • ensure compliance with recommendations and orders issued by supervisory bodies and concerning work conditions
  • make sure that technical devices comply with OHS requirements
Health protection obligations
  • evaluate and document work-related risks
  • inform employees about work-related risks and rules for protection against them
  • refer employees to undergo initial, periodic medical examinations and check-ups
OHS training obligation
  • prevent employees from performing tasks exceeding their qualifications, skills and knowledge of OHS regulations,
  • regularly conduct initial and periodic OHS training.
Individual protection obligations
  • provide employees, free of charge, with individual protection means securing against hazardous and health-threatening factors present in the working environment and inform them on the obligation to use of such means.

Employee’s obligations – health and safety

General health and safety obligations
  • be familiar with OHS and fire protection regulations, participate in trainings and briefings in this subject and take required verification examinations
  • perform tasks in a way compliant with OHS regulations and follow the orders and instructions given by the supervisors in this area
  • guarantee the good condition of machinery, devices, tools and equipment as well as due order at a work stand
  • apply collective protection means and use the provided means of individual protection in accordance with their intended purpose
  • undergo initial, periodic medical examinations and check-ups, and follow medical recommendations
  • immediately notify their supervisor about the accidents or health and life-threatening events identified in the workplace and warn colleagues and other persons remaining at the site of hazard, of a possible danger
  • cooperate with an employer and supervisor on the performance of OHS-related duties
Health and safety prohibitions
  • activating and using devices and tools, which are not directly associated with assigned duties and tasks,
  • willfully disassembling and repairing devices and tools, without a special authorization of an employer or supervisor,
  • willfully removing shields and guards of devices and tools in order to repair and clean them, if they are in motion or live

Medical examinations

Important part of the OHS obligations are employees’ medical examinations:

Initial employee medical examination
  • Initial medical examinations are mandatory for each new employee
  • Prior to commencing the work the employee is obliged to obtain medical certificate
Periodical medical examinations and medical examinations due to absence exceeding 30 days.
  • During the course of employment, employees are subject to periodic medical examinations pursuant to the principles set out in the Regulation of the Minister of Health
  • Additionally, in the event of incapacity to work caused by illness and lasting more than 30 days, employees are subject to mandatory medical check-ups aimed at the assessment that there are no contraindications to perform work
  • Periodic medical examinations and check-ups are performed during working time, where possible. Employees retain the right to remuneration for time of absence from work due to medical examination, and in case the examination is performed in another town, they receive funds to cover travel expenses, according to principles related to business trips

OHS trainings

The obligation to arrange occupational health and safety training is one of the key obligations of Polish employers. OHS trainings are mandatory and take place during the employee’s work time. The cost of health and safety training is covered by the employer.

Initial OHS training
  • The initial OHS training is mandatory for each employee (even office worker)
  • Prior to commencing the work the employee is obliged to obtain OHS training certificate
  • The initial OHS training consists of two parts
    • General training, which is carried out by a health and safety specialist or other person with knowledge in this field and may take place outside the company or in some cases in online form
    • Specific-job training, which must be carried out at the employee’s workplace, and is carried out by the employee’s supervisor who has current periodic health and safety training for people managing employees
  • Initial OHS training certificate is valid for no longer than 12 months for blue collar and administrative / office positions.
Periodic OHS training
  • Within one year from the date of the initial training, the employee should be ordered for periodic health and safety training. In the case of employee employed in managerial position (managing director), periodic health and safety training must take place no later than 6 months from the date of the initial OHS training.
  • Periodic OHS training is designed to update and consolidate knowledge and skills related to health and safety, as well as to familiarize with new technical and organizational solutions in this field.

Sources of Labor Law / Poland

Publicly binding Acts

Sources of Labour Law & Employment Law in Poland

Polish Labor and Employment law is predominantly regulated by legal acts which are publicly binding, i.e.:

  • The Labor Code of Poland (Labor Code) of 26 June 1974,
  • the provisions of other acts of law and secondary legislation which determine the rights and obligations of employees and employers, incl.: Act of April 13, 2007 on the National Labor Inspectorate, Act of October 10, 2002 on the minimum remuneration for work, The Act of March 13, 2003 on the special rules for terminating employment relationships with employees for reasons not related to employees, Act of May 23, 1991 on the trade unions, Act of May 10, 2018 on the protection of personal data.
  • provisions of collective bargaining agreements and other collective labour agreements, internal regulations and statutes which determine the rights and obligations of the parties to an employment relationship.

Internal workplace acts

Polish law is recognizes as a source of labor law also, so called internal legal acts, which are not publicly binding, but its binding force is limited to a closed group of persons, i.e. all employees of a particular enterprise. Internal sources of labor law include:

  • workplace regulation,
  • remuneration regulation,
  • the enterprise social fund regulation,
  • prizes fund regulation.

Case law

Though the Supreme Courts’ judgments are not officially recognized as the labor law source in Poland, they play an important role in the labor law system. Labor courts and labor authorities tend to respect interpretation of labor law presented by the Supreme Court in landmark cases.

Expert team leader DKP Legal Michał Dudkowiak
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check full info of team member: Michał Dudkowiak
Expert team leader DKP Legal Alicja Myśluk-Landowska
Contact our expert
Write an inquiry: [email protected]
check full info of team member: Michał Dudkowiak