How to hire an employee in Poland?

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Updated: 04.06.2024

Rights and obligations of employers and employees in Poland are comprehensively regulated in the Labor Code Act of June 26, 1974. The Act consists of 15 Chapters, it thoroughly regulates number of aspects, inc. working hours, minimum wage, benefits, holidays, grievance, OHS etc. Interestingly – Polish Labor Law does not regulate the recruitment process, content of job advertisements or step by step hiring process. In consequence, potential employer when hiring an employee in Poland must follow single / incidental regulations scattered around various legal acts.

This guide consolidates the regulations and navigates employers through the process of hire employees in Poland.

How to hire employees in Poland in compliance with labour law?

Hiring process in Poland. How to hire an employee in compliance with law?

Although the Polish Labour Code does not contain any hiring guidelines, this does not mean that there are no rules for hiring employees in Poland. Naturally, you are at liberty to engage the services of a recruitment agency should you so desire.

You must comply with the legal requirements:

  • for processing candidates’ personal data and
  • observe the principles of equal treatment (non-discrimination).

How to ensure non-discrimination in recruitment and job adverts in Poland?

The content of the advertisement and the selection of candidates for employment in Poland must be based on objective criteria.

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.

The principle of equal treatment of job applicants under Polish labor law is not absolute. An employer may indicate a specific criterion in a job advertisement if he can justify its relevance to the type of work.

In such a case, as an employer, you must demonstrate objective reasons why you used a particular criterion for selecting an employee. This applies to situations in which the criterion can be considered discriminatory.

It is therefore permissible to differentiate between job applicants on the basis of the type of work, the conditions of its performance or professional requirements.

Content of job offers shall be based on objective criteria to meet non-discrimination requirement

How to ensure the protection of personal data of job candidates in Poland?

The scope of the data that according to employment law in Poland can be obtained from a candidate is very restricted. In general, three categories of data can be demanded from 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.

What information can employer demand from employee in Poland?

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

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

Furthermore, if a specific type of work or a particular job position is required, according to employment law in Poland the employer may request that the candidate provide information regarding their:

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

What information cannot be demanded by the employer from employee in Poland?

Other personal data of candidates can be processed only if required by Polish Labor Law or based on the candidate’s consent. However, the absence of consent or its retraction may not lead to any adverse outcomes or repercussions.

If the information is consideredsensitive data according to Article 9(1) of the GDPR (like religion, political views, sexual orientation, health, etc.), the employer can’t ask for consent to get it. The candidate should share this data only if they choose to, not because the employer asks for it.

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

How to protect personal information in employment contracts, and what questions can an employer ask employees?
Find out what questions can an employer ask employees?

Background screening of candidates in Poland

According to employment law in Poland, the following restrictions apply concerning background checks of candidates for employment:

Employment history

Employers in Poland may contact candidates’ previous employers only based on a candidate’s consent, and solely to confirm data provided in recruitment documents (CV, references). It is not allowed to ask for additional information.

Candidates’ 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.

It is inadvisable to consider accounts such as Facebook or other candidates’ presence in the media during the recruitment process.

Psychological tests

If not required by 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).

Candidates’ education

The President of the Office for the Protection of Personal Data (Polish supervisory authority, according to GDPR) has stated that employers in Poland are not allowed to contact universities to confirm a candidate’s education.

Instead, diplomas and certificates should be a sufficient proof.

Candidates’ criminal records

Employers can only require criminal record certificates from candidates for work if such a right is specifically granted to them by Polish 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 permitted to process information about the candidates’ criminal records based on the candidate/employee’s consent, even if they explicitly and voluntarily agree to reveal such data.

The aforementioned restrictions on background screening pertain solely to candidate based on an employment contract regulated by the Polish Labor Code. Candidates based on a B2B contracts may be examined more expansively, including a criminal record check.

This is provided, that obtaining such information during the background check is justified and necessary to select the most suitable candidate for a given position.

What are the steps in hiring process in Poland?

Hiring process in Poland consist of the following steps:

  1. Preparation of employment contract
  2. Signing employment contract
  3. Signing mandatory employment documents
  4. Signing optional employment documents
  5. Opening employee files
  6. Mandatory employee medical examination
  7. Mandatory OHS training
  8. Registration of employee in ZUS
  9. Enrollment to PPK

Employee hiring process in Poland

Step 1 – Preparation of the employment contract in Poland

The first step of the onboarding process in Poland is to prepare an employment contract for the prospective employee, consistent with the Polish Labor Law. Important to note:

  • An employment contract in Poland must be in writing, although verbal agreements are valid as long as the main terms and conditions of employment are confirmed in writing before the employment begins.
  • The employment contract must be written in Polish. A bilingual version (Polish and another language) is also allowed and is often used when the contract is concluded with a non-Polish citizen.

Step 2 – Signing a Polish employment contract

As mentioned in the previous section, an employment contract must generally be in writing. In Poland, “in writing” means exclusively a wet signature on a paper document.

However, there is an exception to this rule: the signature may be placed in a special electronic form, such as a qualified electronic signature (eIDAS complaint).

The principal disadvantage of the qualified electronic signature format is that both parties must possess such a signature, which is a rare occurrence in the case of employees. Regular electronic signatures provided by numerous worldwide providers are not acceptable.

Consequently, an employment contract signed with a regular “DocuSign” signature (or other type of a regular electronic 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.

It is a legal requirement that all employment zagreements be in writing and signed by both parties.
Employment agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Step 3 – Signing mandatory employment documents

The mandatory documents that are provided to each new employee in Poland include:

  1. An employment agreement: find out employment contract template here.
  2. A questionnaire for employees: which includes personal data and information. This is to be completed after the conclusion of the employment contract. During recruitment process, a questionnaire for candidate is completed as a separate document.
  3. A personal data processing information clause: an obligatory document following the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It contains information about the processing of employees’ personal data, purposes, and the legal basis of data processing.
  4. A work terms & conditions information statement is required by Article 29 of the Polish Labor Code.
  5. Statement of Acknowledgement of Internal Regulations and H&S Regulations: By signing this statement, the Employee declares that the Employer has informed him/her of the terms and conditions of employment (including work and remuneration regulations), working hours or flexible working time system, regulations, the scope of confidentiality, health, safety, and fire regulations.
  6. Information on working time systems applicable in the workplace: If a collective labour agreement does not cover the employer or is not obliged to issue workplace regulations (i.e., employs less than 50 employees based on employment contracts), the working time systems and schedules, as well as the applicable working time calculation periods, are specified in the employer’s notice.
  7. A statement on the availability of premises and technical conditions enabling remote work, and that safe and hygienic conditions are provided at the remote work position, is required in the case of remote workers.
Mandatory and optional documents when hiring an employee
Law in Poland and required documents

Step 4 – Signing optional employment documents

An employer in Poland may choose to enter into some optional agreements with a new employee. The most common ones are:

1. A confidentiality contract (NDA)

A legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee in Poland. It obligates the employee to maintain the confidentiality of the employer’s trade secrets following the generally applicable provisions of law (Act on Combating Unfair Competition).

In most cases, statutory regulation or a simple confidentiality clause is sufficient. However, in instances where the employee is a member of the senior management team or has access to highly confidential information, it is advisable to enter into a separate NDA contract to reinforce the confidentiality obligations.

2. Non-competition during employment period contract

Should be concluded as a separate agreement. The breach of non-competition allows the employer to terminate the employment contract without notice period and demand compensation for damage.

In the case of high management or such employees who have access to highly confidential information, it is recommended to sign a separate NCA contract to strengthen the protection of the employer’s interest.

3. Non-competition after employment period

Usually signed with an employee who has access to protected, important information the disclosure of which could expose the employer to a damage.

In the NCA, concluded after the term of the employment agreement, the employee has a right to compensation of a minimum level of 25% of net remuneration received before termination of the employment. This period corresponds to the period of non-competition ban.

4. Polish Agreement on Entrustment of the property with an obligation of return

This contract is signed with employees entrusted with valuable company property, such as a laptop, phone, or company car.

Under the proper entrusted of property, the employee is fully liable for any losses. In all other cases, the employee’s liability is limited to the amount of 3 monthly remunerations.

5. Training contract

Defines the rights, duties, and obligations of the employee concerning a certain form of a professional development (when they can leave, is the time of the training included in the working hours, how much it costs, etc.).

If the employer covers the costs of the employee’s training, signing the contract allows the employer to impose an obligation on the employee to work for the employer for a certain, agreed period not exceeding three years.

In the event of the employee’s termination of the employment agreement before the agreed date, the contract allows for the reimbursement of training costs incurred by the employer, proportionally to time remaining to the agreed period of staying in employment.

6. Remote work agreement

A contract between an employer and an employee in Poland who works entirely remotely or in a hybrid mode. It governs the rules for performing and controlling remote work and the amount of remote work compensation.

In companies that hire greater number of remote/hybrid employees on a regular basis, employers usually opt for general remote work regulations instead of such individual contracts. These are also mandatory for employers with more than 50 employees.

Personal files - what are the five parts that should consist of?
Workplace regulations and Polish labor code – five parts that personal files should consist of?

Step 5 – Opening Employee Files

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

Each employer in Poland is obliged to run and store 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 of particular importance due to its evidentiary value in case of Labor Inspection control proceedings or disputes over claims arising from the employment relationship.

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

  • Part A: employee documents collected during the recruitment process,
  • Part B: employee documents related to the establishment and performance of the employment relationship,
  • Part C: employee documents of the termination of the employment relationship,
  • Part D: documents related to the employee’s liability,
  • Part E: documents related to the checking of the employee’s sobriety or the presence of substances with a similar effect to alcohol in the employee’s body.
Without a medical certificate, the ability to perform the duties of the job is illegal. In addition, it risks a fine.
Conclusion of the employment contracts and ability to perform the duties of the job

An employee may choose to maintain records in paper or electronic format. To maintain employee records in electronic format, employers are required to use software that meets the technical specifications outlined in the Polish Labor Code.

They must also include a signature or qualified seal on each document, as it needs to be accompanied by such certification.

Step 6 – Employee medical examination

It is the responsibility of every employee in Poland to undergo a medical examination and obtain a medical certificate confirming his or her ability to work in a given position. This is required for both fixed term contract and indefinite employment contract. The position and description of working conditions must be included in the referral issued by the employer.

It is the employer’s responsibility to organize and bear the costs of obtaining a medical certificate. Starting work without a medical certificate confirming the employee’s ability to perform the duties of the job is illegal and may result in a fine. It may also affect the employer’s liability in the event of an accident at work.

There are certain exceptions to the obligation to obtain a medical certificate from the employee. These include:

  1. Employees who get hired again by the same employer on the same work place or a different position but with identical working conditions within 30 days after leaving their job with them.
  2. Employees who are rehired by another employer within 30 days following the termination or expiration of the previous employment relationship, if:
    • the employee provides the employer with a valid medical certificate confirming that there are no contraindications to work under the specified working conditions, and
    • the employer determines that these conditions correspond to the requirements encountered at the given job position, except for individuals engaged in particularly hazardous types of work.
It is the responsibility of every employee in Poland to undergo a medical examination and obtain a medical certificate confirming his or her ability to work in a given position.
Employer pays for medical examinations needed to provide work

Step 7 – Occupational health and safety training of the employee

Occupational health and safety (OHS) training has two forms: initial and periodic. Initial training happens before starting a job, while periodic training is done as required by labor law. The OHS training’s validity is set by the Regulation of the Minister of Economy and Labor on training in the field of occupational health and safety.

Usually, professionals outside the company provide the OHS training. Some workplaces offer online security training which is possible for remote/hybrid workers. If the employee passes a test at the end, he or she receives a certificate.

This document must be kept in the employee’s file. Starting work without OHS training is against Polish law and can result in fines. Even regular office workers are required to take this training.

Employees in Poland are obliged to undergo an additional form of health and safety training, apart from the previously mentioned one. Typically, this training is led by their workplace manager and is centered on ensuring safety and hygiene while performing their specific job tasks.

Step 8 – Registration of new employees in Poland’s Social Security System

Each new employee must be reported to the Social Security Office (ZUS). The application will vary depending on the employee’s benefits and may include health insurance premiums, or health insurance premiums along with specific social security premiums. This notification must be submitted within 7 days from the start date of the employment contract.

Remember to register new employees with the Social Security Administration within 7 days of starting work.
Employer is obliged to register employees in Social Security System

Step 9 -Enrollment in Employee Capital Plans (PPK)

Following the regulations of the Act on Employee Capital Plans of 4 October 2018: each new employee between the ages of 18 and 55 who has been employed for three months shall be enrolled by their employer into a private system of long-term savings, namely the Employee Capital Plans (ECPs, in Polish: PPK).

The agreement for the operation of a PPK on behalf of a new employee must be concluded by the employer within ten days of the end of the three-month employment term. As PPK is an opt-out program, an employee wishing to resign from PPK must submit a written resignation to the employer (a paper document with a wet signature).

Each new employee shall be enrolled in Employee Capital Plans (PPK) no later than the 10th day of the month following the month in which 3 months (90 days) of this person’s employment expired. Unless the employee files a resignation and opts out of the program.

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FAQ – Hiring employee in Poland

Is the candidate’s background checks legal in Poland?

Candidate background checks are allowed in Poland, but they’re quite limited. For instance, employers can only reach out to a candidate’s past employers if the candidate agrees.

During hiring, employers can verify LinkedIn or similar professional profiles but only if candidates are agreed to that. Information from private accounts like Facebook shouldn’t be considered during recruitment.

What are key onboarding obligations in Poland?

The key onboarding obligations in Poland are as follows: signing the employment contract and set of mandatory documents, reporting the new employee to ZUS (social security), obtaining a medical certificate for the new employee, and arranging health and safety training.

Is medical examination mandatory before commencing work in Poland?

Yes, a medical examination (and the subsequent issuance of a medical certificate) is required before employment with any new employer in Poland.

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Onboarding in Poland: 4 key steps

What constitutes an employment relationship in Poland?

An employment relationship in Poland is established through the signing of an employment contract between the employer and the employee. Both parties are bound by this employment contract which outlines terms such as working hours, employee benefits, rules of employment contract termination with notice period and more.

Is the employee entitled to any benefits?

Yes, Polish labor code guarantees several employee benefits. These include the minimum wage, paid annual leave, sick leave, and parental leave, among others, which are inherent in employment relationships.

What types of employment contracts exist in Poland?

In Poland, the types of employment contracts include indefinite employment contract, fixed term contract, trial period contract. Each has unique characteristics, rights, and obligations under the labor code.

What is the purpose of a trial period contract?

A trial period contract allows employers to evaluate an employee’s performance and suitability before committing to further employment. This period is crucial for both parties to assess compatibility.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the onboarding process, employee benefits, and termination notices.

What is the minimum wage in Poland?

The minimum wage in Poland is established by the government each calendar year. It is mandatory for an employer to adhere to this minimum wage requirement.

What rules apply in case of sickness?

In the event of illness, the employee must present a medical certificate to use sick leave. During the period of illness, the employee is entitled to receive sick pay from the employer or sick pay from the Social Security Administration.

The determination of who will pay during the period of an employee’s illness depends on various circumstances, including the number of days the employee is on sick leave.

What is the role of trade unions?

Trade unions play a crucial role in advocating for employees’ rights and interests. They help negotiate collective labor agreements with the employer and uphold labor law within the workplace. Trade union can also assist in resolving disputes over issues such as overtime work, employment termination, unfair treatment, and more.

Our tax calculator is designed to assist you in determining the tax liability associated with hiring an employee.

What is the working time under Polish employment law?

Normal working hours in Poland are regulated by the labour code. An employee works for no more than 40 hours per week in a normal working time system. However, flexible working time systems may allow for deviations from this schedule.

Can an employee take unpaid leave?

Yes, under Polish law, an employee may request unpaid leave. However, it should be remembered that such a request must be made in writing by the employee to the employer. Then the period of unpaid leave does not count as working time, which is important for the employee’s rights.

What regulations apply to overtime hours in Poland?

Overtime hours in Poland are regulated by the Labor Code. However, it should be remembered that it is limited both on a daily, weekly working hours and calendar corner basis.

In connection with overtime work, an employee may be entitled to appropriate compensation. In this case, the employee may receive an allowance equal to 100% or 50% of the overtime wage, a lump sum for overtime work, or time off at the employee’s request or without request.

How does employment termination work under Polish Law?

Employment termination in Poland follows a standard process. The employer or employee must serve a notice period, and in some instances, the employer may be obliged to pay severance pay. All termination procedures must adhere to the regulations outlined in the Polish labor code.

Contact a labor specialist for assistance if you need a comprehensive advisor.

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