Employment Law Guide / Poland

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Updated: 23.04.2024

Labor Market in Poland – Key Facts for 2024

Labor market size
  • 17,3 mln active employees (as per Q4 of 2023)
Unemployment rate
  • around 5,4 % (as per January 2024)
Medium salary
  • 7.768,33 PLN (as per January 2024)
Number of students (at Univesities)
  • 1,2 mln (academic year 2022/2023)
Minimum salary
  • 4.242 PLN  gross / month since 1.01.2024
  • 4.300 PLN  gross / month since 1.07.2024
Number of active job offers / month
  • approx. 250-300 thousand active offers (as per January  2024)
Number of expats
  • approx. 3.5- 4 mln people (as per Sept. 2023)
Job offer databases for job seekers
Key labor legislation

Source of data: General Statistical Office

What is the Employment Law in Poland?

Employment Law in Poland is regulated predominantly in Labor Code of Poland, 1974. It defines terms and conditions of employment, such as: types of employment contracts, working hours, holidays, overtime, leaves, benefits, termination of employment and severance. Polish regulation is comprehensive and leaves little room for changes of those rules by parties.

Employment forms in Poland

The basic form of undertaking work in Poland is an employment contract. Civil law contracts, such as: 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.

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.

Types of employment contracts in Poland

  • 3 Types of employment contracts in PolandProbation 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). The length of probation period depends on the length of the next contract that is to be concluded with the employee.
  • 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.

Benefits of employment contract

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

  • minimum salary (4.242 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,
  • possibility to work remotely and receive an allowance for remote work,
  • protection against termination in certain circumstances,
  • strict procedures for employment termination (termination notice).

Remote work

We have devoted separate, detailed chapter to remote work in Poland.

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 by using a qualified electronic signature, but only if both parties to the employment contract possess such signature – which may be difficult for the employee. Such form of signature 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. In case of definite contracts and probation contrats the agreement shall also indicate its duration. In case of probation contract concluded for less than 3 months – the employer shall also indicate the intended type and length of the contract that will be concluded with the employee after successful completion of probation period.

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).

FAQ – Employment contracts

What are the types of employment contracts in Poland?

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

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 contract (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.

Employer of Record

It shall be noted that EOR is not regulated in Poland. Therefore such employment model is subject to specific conditions and risks.

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 remuneration, which in 2024 amounts 4.242,00 PLN gross per month. Half – time employees are also covered by the statutory minimum remuneration calculated proportionally.

Minimum wage (salary) – Q1 and Q2 of 2024 / Poland 4.242 PLN  gross / month
Minimum hourly rate – Q1 and Q2 of 2024 / Poland 27.70 PLN gross / hour
Minimum wage (salary) – Q3 and Q4 of 2024 / Poland 4.300 PLN  gross / month
Minimum hourly rate – Q3 and Q4 of 2024 / Poland 28.10 PLN gross / hour

Source of figures: webpage of Ministry of Family and Social Policy of Poland

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. The employee cannot agree to deductions in advance without knowing what amount would be deducted. Therefore, it is not possible to include a general clause on deductions in an employment contract.

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). Sick pay amounts to 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 2024?

Until end of June 2024 the minimum salary will be equal to: PLN 4242 gross; afterwards the minimum salary will amount to PLN 4300 gross.

What is minimum hourly rate in Poland in 2024?

Until end of June 2024 the minimum hourly rate will be equal to: PLN 27,70 gross; afterwards the minimum hourly rate will amount to PLN 28,10 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 uninterrupted rest
Weekly rest period 35 h of uninterrupted 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 uninterrupted 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 uninterrupted rest, including at least 11 hours of uninterrupted 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

If the employee’s daily working time:

  1. is at least 6 hours – the employee has the right to a break from work lasting at least 15 minutes;
  2. is longer than 9 hours – the employee has the right to an additional break from work lasting at least 15 minutes;
  3. is longer than 16 hours – the employee has the right to another break in work lasting at least 15 minutes.

The above-listed breaks are included in employee’s 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.

For the period of leave, the employee is entitled to the remuneration that he or she would have received had he or she worked at that time. So- called holiday remuneration is calculated including also variable remuneration components (bonus, additionall allowance, comission payment etc.) based on the average remuneration from the period of 3 months preceding the month of commencement of the leave. In cases of significant fluctuations in the amount of remuneration, this period may be extended to 12 months.

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 30 September 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 a non-scheduled, non-planned leave of maximum 4 days (it is a part of annual leave – included in the amount of holiday leave) that may be requested by the employee at any time but not later than just before commencement of such leave.

Is holiday leave time barred in Poland?

Yes, holiday allowance may be time barred after 3 years starting from 30th of September 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. Otherwise, the annual leave must be used in nature.

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 short occasional leave in connection with important events in life, which shall be used on the day of an event or any day around that day of:

  • 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.

The employee is entitled to 100 % remuneration for such leave.

Force majeure exemption („urlop z powodu siły wyższej”)

Such exemption from work is granted for 2 days or 16 hours (counted proportionally for part-time employees), due to force majeure – in urgent family matters caused by illness or accident, when the employee’s immediate presence is necessary. The employee retains the right to half of the remuneration for the period of such release from work. Such exemption is paid for by the employer.

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 employee is entitled to full remuneration during such leave (paid by the employer).

Maternity leave (,,urlop macierzyński”)

The length of a maternity leave amounts to:

  • 20 weeks if one child is born during one delivery;
  • 31 weeks if two children are born in one delivery;
  • 33 weeks if three children are born in one delivery;
  • 35 weeks if four children are born in one delivery;
  • 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. 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.

Maternity benefit

During maternity leave ZUS pays out to the employee a so-called “maternity benefit” in the amount equal to 100% or 81.5 % of salary (depending on a scheme chosen by the employee).

Paternity leave (,,urlop ojcowski”)

The employee who is a father is entitled to paternity leave amounting to 14 days, which can be divided into two equal parts. Paternity leave is a one-off entitlement and may be used until the child turns the age of 12 months or in case of adoption – until the expiry of 12 months from the date of entry into force of the decision adjudicating the adoption of a child (no longer than until the child reaches the age of 14).

Being on paternity leave, the employee is entitled to “maternity benefit”, which is based on the average monthly remuneration paid for the last 12 calendar months. The benefit amount is 100% of the benefit calculation basis and is paid out by ZUS.

Parental leave (,,urlop rodzicielski”)

Its duration depends on the number of children born at one delivery and amounts to:

  • 41 weeks if one child is born in one delivery;
  • 43 weeks when more than one child is born in one delivery.

The above-mentioned amount of parental leave applies to both of the parents and can be divided between them. However, each parent has an exclusive right to 9 weeks of parental leave, which cannot be transferred to the other parent. Parental leave may be used in a maximum of 5 parts, no later than by the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 6. This leave is usually taken by a mother right after maternity leave ends.

The employee-mother on a parental leave receives a parental benefit from ZUS which amounts to 70 % of salary. However, if the mother submits an appropriate application for the use of parental leave within 21 days from the date of the childbirth, then the basis for calculating the maternity allowance for the entire period of maternity and parental leave will be 81.5%.

Parental benefit

The employee-father of the child is entitled to parental benefit from ZUS in the amount of 70% of the benefit calculation basis for the period of the non-transferable 9-week part of the leave.

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

This leave is paid in the amount of 100 % of remuneration.

Training leave (,,urlop szkoleniowy”)

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

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

This leave is paid in the amount of 100 % of remuneration.

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).

Carer’s leave (“urlop opiekuńczy”)

It may last up to 5 days in a calendar year and its purpose it to allow to provide personal care or support to a family member (son, daughter, mother, father, spouse) or a close person living in the same household who needs care or support for serious medical reasons. This leave may last 5 days in a calendar year.

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. Meanwhile, in reality, for the birth of one child, the duration is 20 weeks of maternity leave and 32 weeks of parental leave. The law allows for the use of these leaves in various configurations, but it seems that employees most often choose the option of a one-year break from work.

What is the maternity benefit / maternity allowance in Poland?

Depending on the scheme chosen it is 81.5% of salary or 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. agreement termination without notice due to employee’s fault) and the trade union organization representing the employee agreed to terminate the agreement.

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.

This protection has also been extended to employees from the date of submitting an application for maternity leave or a part thereof, leave on the terms of maternity leave or a part thereof, paternity leave or a part thereof, parental leave or a part thereof – until such leave ends.

However, this does not mean that in case of submitting such an application a few months earlier, this protection will automatically apply. The Labor Code provides for special deadlines for granting protection to persons who submit such a request much earlier before going on leave:

  • 14 days before the start of using part of the maternity leave and part of the leave under the conditions of maternity leave;
  • 21 days before the start of parental leave or part thereof;
  • 7 days before the commencement of paternity leave or its part.

During this period, the employee is protected both against notice and termination of the contract, as well as against the employer’s preparations for termination of the contract.

After returning from maternity leave, leave on the terms of maternity leave, parental leave, paternity leave and parental leave the employer is obliged to allow the employee to work in the previously occupied position, and if this is not possible – in a position equivalent to that held before the start of the leave, under conditions no less favorable than those that would apply if the employee did not use the leave.

Automatic employment agreement extension

An employment agreement 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.

In case of a definite contract:

  1. If end date of the contract falls before the birth, the contract is automatically extended; the day of the birth is a last day of employment – contract is dissolved automatically- no further actions needed from employer.
  2. If the end date of the contract falls after the birth, employee stays hired until the agreed date. When the date comes the contract is dissolved automatically- no further actions needed from the employer.

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): 01-03-2024
Maternity leave (20 weeks) 01-03-2024 until 18-07-2024 scheme A payment: 81,5% of calculation basis

scheme B payment:100% of calculation basis

Parental leave (41 weeks) 19-07-2024 until 01-05-2025 scheme A payment: 81,5% of calculation basis

scheme B payment: 70% of calculation basis

Family leave (35 months*) 02-05-2025 until 02-04-2028 Not paid, but the period of parental leave is included in the employment seniority on which the employee rights and length of service depend.

*After changes in 2023, parents have the right to a total of 41 weeks of parental leave for the birth of one child at one delivery. However, 9 weeks of these 41 weeks are exclusively available to the other parent. For example, if the child’s mother wants to take all of her parental leave, she is entitled to a maximum of 32 weeks of parental leave; the remaining 9 weeks of this leave are available only to the other parent – in the example, the child’s father. The child’s father will be paid 70% of calculation basis for this period.

**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.

Family 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 or digital signatures (qualified or regular – such as DocuSign). 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 at least 6 months
Notice period of 3 months
  • Employees with job tenure at least 3 years

In case of probation period contracts notice period are shorter, they depend on the duration of the probation period and amount to:

  • 3 business days – if the trial period does not exceed 2 weeks;
  • 1 week – if the trial period is longer than 2 weeks;
  • 2 weeks – if the trial period is 3 months.

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, it shall be noted that disciplanry release is subject to a 30-days term counted from the day the employer gained knowledge about the grounds for termination,
  • 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. The most popular additional benefits in Poland are:

  • sports card (most popular cards are: Multisport, Medicover)
  • private medical insurance (most popular providers are: Medicover, Luxmed and Enel-Med)
  • private life insurance
  • pre-paid meal card / meals at the workplace
  • company car that could be used for private purpose, phone

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

3.5% (2 % financed by the employee, employer finances another 1.5 % on top) 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, which may be imposed in case of a control from Labor Inspectorate.

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.

The penalty may not be imposed after 2 weeks from the date of becoming aware of the breach of employee duty and after 3 months from the date of committing the breach. The penalty may only be imposed after hearing from the employee.

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), which applies also to remote workplaces
  • 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

The cost of medical examination is always covered by the employer. In case the employee organizes the check-up on his own and pays at the doctor’s office, the employee shall be reimbursed with the costs.

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
  • o The initial OHS training for remote/hybrid employees may be conducted online by external OHS services provider.
  • 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.
Expert team leader DKP Legal Alicja Myśluk-Landowska
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Write an inquiry: [email protected]
check full info of team member: Alicja Myśluk-Landowska
Expert team leader DKP Legal Joanna Kowal
Contact our expert
Write an inquiry: [email protected]
check full info of team member: Alicja Myśluk-Landowska