Country Information

Officially known as the Republic of Poland, this central European country has a rich history. The official language is Polish. Poland is a member of the European Union and has a promising economy. Service-based industries have long been a staple of the Polish economy. The country’s population is 37.97 million

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts in Poland must be in writing and signed no later than the day the employee begins work. If the employee does not understand the Polish language, the employer must provide a translation in a language the employee does understand. Employment contracts are generally for an indefinite term, a fixed term, or a trial period.

A contract for a trial period may not be for more than three months and may not be renewed outside of a few very specific situations. Contracts for a fixed term may be for a set time or until certain conditions are satisfied, such as the return of another employee from a temporary absence or the completion of specified tasks. If a fixed-term contract is for a set period of time, it may be renewed no more than two times, and all the contracts combined may not have a term longer than 33 months. If a fixed-term contract is renewed a third time, it automatically converts to a contract for an indefinite term.

At a minimum, the employment contract must state:

  • The identities of the parties
  • The type of contract (indefinite, fixed term, or trial period)
  • The date the contract is executed
  • The workplace
  • A description of the type of work
  • Salary details
  • Working hours
Working Hours

The standard work week is 40 hours across five days. Longer hours are permitted for up to one month if there is an urgent need and the longer days are balanced by shortened hours on other days. Production enterprises which must run continuously may have work weeks that average 43 hours over a four-week period and workdays of up to 12 hours.

In most businesses, overtime is only allowed in emergencies or when the employer has a specific, special need that must be met. It is capped at eight hours per week and 150 hours per year. Overtime is paid at a percentage of the employee's standard rate, and if the employee works additional hours at night, on a Sunday or holiday, or on a day that the employee was scheduled to have off from work. The employee may choose to be compensated with time off rather than with overtime pay. Executives and senior managers are entitled to overtime for working on a Sunday or holiday, but not for working more than 40 hours per week on average.

Sick Leave

Employees receive 33 days of paid sick leave at 80% of their standard pay. If the employee is sick for more than 33 days, she/he receives a benefit payment from social security, normally for up to 180 days. For employees aged 50 or over, the employer pays only the first 14 days of illness, after which the employee receives payments from social security. The social security benefit is generally the same amount as the employer-funded sick pay. The employee must submit a medical certificate.

Maternity/Paternity Leave

Female employees receive 20 weeks of maternity leave for one child; 31 weeks if they give birth to twins; and up to 37 weeks for five or more children. Maternity leave may start no earlier than six weeks before the estimated birth date, and the mother must submit a medical certificate confirming her pregnancy. She must take a minimum of 14 weeks of leave following the birth. If the mother does not use the full 20 weeks of maternity leave herself, she may transfer any unused time to the father. The mother is generally eligible for a social security benefit while on maternity leave. Male employees receive two weeks of paternity leave, which may be taken any time before the child’s second birthday.

Paternity leave must be requested in writing. It may be taken all at once or in two week-long segments. After the maternity leave ends, both parents are entitled to 32 weeks of parental leave, or 34 weeks for multiple births. This leave may be taken until the end of the year in which the child turns six years old and may be taken in up to four segments, each lasting a minimum of eight weeks. The parent(s) must request parental leave in writing a minimum of 21 days before it begins and are generally eligible to receive a social security benefit payment during the leave.

Nursing mothers who work more than six hours per day are entitled to take two breaks of no more than 30 minutes each day for breastfeeding. Employees who adopt a child are entitled to leave of the same length as the maternity leave for biological parents: 20 weeks for the adoption of one child; 31 weeks if they simultaneously adopt two children; and up to 37 weeks if they adopt five or more children at the same time. This leave must be used before the adopted child turns seven years old.

Compensation

Performance-based bonuses are common in Poland. They are sometimes paid at the end of the year.

Vacation Leave

Employees receive 20 or 26 days of paid annual leave. Employees who have worked for less than 10 years (whether for one or multiple employers) receive 20 days of leave, while employees who have worked for 10 years or more receive 26 days. Employees who are employed for the first time accumulate 1/12 of their annual leave time for each month worked. Unused leave can be carried into the following year but must be used by Sept. 30.

Employees are also allowed to take four days of their allotted paid leave without prior notice and may take short periods of paid leave (one or two days) for family weddings, births and funerals. The employer makes a schedule for the employees’ leave, taking into account the employees’ requests. Employers adopt a standard method of announcing when employees will receive leave. Employees may also take unpaid leave, which must be requested in writing, with the employer’s consent.

Public Holidays

The following are public holidays in Poland:

  • New Year’s Day
  • EpiphanyEaster Monday
  • Labor Day/May Day
  • Constitution Day
  • Corpus Christi
  • Assumption Day
  • All Saints’ Day
  • Independence Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
Health Insurance Benefits

Poland has universal healthcare. Most employees contribute a percentage of their gross income to health insurance after deducting the amount of their social security contributions. The majority of this amount is deducted from the employee’s personal income tax liability, with the remainder paid out of the employee’s net income. Private health insurance is also available and is popular. Many employers provide private health insurance as an employee benefit.

Employment / Termination / Severance

A notice of termination of an employment contract must be written, whether it is being given by the employer or the employee. An employer must have a legitimate reason for terminating a contract, and the written notice must state the reason. For employees on indefinite- or fixed-term contracts, the required notice period is the same regardless of whether the employer or the employee is terminating the contract and depends on the length of time the employee has worked for the employer. Two weeks of notice are required if the employee has worked for the employer for six months or less, one month if the employee has worked for between six months and three years, and three months if she/he has worked for the employer for three years or more.

Local Laws & Regulations

We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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