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Starting a Business in Poland

Detailed Guide to Employment Laws in Poland

The Republic of Poland is a European country bordered by neighbors such as Germany and Belarus. The estimated population in the country is around 38 million, with an exceptional literacy rate of 99.8%, thus highlighting a massive pool of talent for international employers.

Poland is located in Central Europe, with several manufacturing countries as neighbors. Hence Polish employers often enjoy cheaper raw materials. The Polish economy is considered the most resilient in the European Union, with a GDP of USD 661.7 billion. With a stable economy, businesses are less likely to be affected by recessions in terms of operations. As a result of talent availability and excellent economic stability, Poland has been ranked 40 amongst 190 competing economies worldwide.

The country offers several strategic opportunities to serious employers looking to hire employees while leveraging the mentioned advantages. However, with several provisions in place, traversing through the labor regulations in Poland might get tricky occasionally. This guide highlights all the necessary information, from critical requirements to the best and most cost-effective compliance strategies for businesses of every size. 

Who is Covered by the Employment Act?

The Polish labor law regulates employment relations for working citizens and foreign nationals when certain conditions are fulfilled. According to the mentioned law, employing minors is strictly prohibited.

Apart from the exemption, the labor act provisions cover every working Polish citizen. Residents who work for an international company must choose the applicable labor law with their employer.

Employment Contract

The labor act rules in Poland implement rigid regulations for employment contracts. Every form of employment should highlight the employment start date, agreed remuneration, working hours, deliverables, and any other clause relevant to the offered position.

Trial contract

  1. This contract is provided to probationary employees. 
  2. Both parties are allowed to agree on the probationary period mutually. 

Indefinite-term contract

  1. A contract with no pre-determined termination date for employment 
  2. Employers can terminate the contract anytime, under certain conditions. 

Definite-term contract

  1. An employment contract with a pre-determined termination date 
  2. Employers can terminate such a contract with prior notice to their employees. 

Specific task contract

  1. Contracts automatically expire once an employee has fulfilled and delivered a task. 
  2. These contracts are primarily used for seasonal jobs and can have termination dates. 

Key Provisions of the Act

The international law (ILO) conventions, EU provisions, and Polish labor law regulate the employment relationship in Poland. As an attractive employment pool for global employers, Poland has introduced several conditions to ensure ease of business while offering a better work-life balance to its citizens. 

Working hours

  • Per the labor regulations in Poland, the minimum working hours are 40 per week, stretched across a five-day work week of 8 hours each. 
  • The gross work hours are calculated on a maximum tenure of 4 months. 
  • As the average work hour is calculated every four months, employers can extend the daily 8-hour work rule accordingly. 
  • Considering overtime, employees can work 48 hours per week. 

Holiday entitlements

  • Every Polish citizen has a minimum leave period of 20 or 26 days. 
  • Employees who have served for less than ten years are entitled to a 20-day leave yearly. On the other hand, employees who have worked for more than ten years must be granted a 26-day leave every year. The mentioned period for the calculation of yearly holidays also considers education. 
  • Freshers are entitled to 1/12th of the mentioned holiday leave. 
  • Mothers working in shifts longer than 6 hours are allowed to take two breaks of half hour each for breastfeeding. For multiple babies, the rest break is 45 minutes instead. 
  • Poland celebrates 13 public holidays each year, and these holidays are excluded from the mentioned holiday entitlements. The list of holidays has been provided below.
    1. January 1st, New Years day 
    2. January 6th, Epiphany
    3. April 17th, Easter Sunday
    4. April 18th, Easter Monday
    5. May 1st, Labor day
    6. May 3rd, Constitution day
    7. June 5th, Pentecost
    8. June 16th, Corpus Christi
    9. August 15th, Polish armed forces day, assumption of mary
    10. November 1st, All saint’s day
    11. November 11th, Polish independence day
    12. December 25th, Christmas
    13. December 26th, the Second day of Christmas
  • If any public holiday falls on a weekday, employers must provide their employees with an additional day for paid leave. 

Leave schemes

  • Maternity leave
    1. The maternity leave is generally 20 weeks. 
    2. Social security pays 100% of the employee’s remuneration during Polish-paid maternity leave. 
    3. A pregnant employee can take a maternity leave two weeks before the expected delivery date. 
    4. If the employee ignores the prepartum leave, the maternity leave automatically starts at childbirth. 
    5. A pregnant employee can transfer the remaining maternity leave to the child’s father for the untaken and entitled leave beyond 14 weeks. 
    6. The mentioned leave can be extended in the case of multiple births. A chart highlighting the tenure for specific conditions has been provided below.

Birth Count

Leave Tenure

Single birth

20 weeks

Twins

31 weeks

Triplets

33 weeks

Quadruplets

35 weeks

Quintuplets

37 weeks

  • Paternity leave
    1. Per the labor regulations in Poland, employees are entitled to two-week paternity leave. 
    2. A paternity leave can start within 24 months after childbirth. 
    3. Employees receive 100% of the payment during paternity leave, covered by social security. 
  • Parental leave
    1. Parents are granted a 41-week leave according to the labor act rules in Poland. 
    2. In multiple births, the leave tenure is extended to 43 weeks. 
    3. Parental leave can be taken once the maternity leave is completed. 
    4. It can be taken by either one of the parents or both simultaneously. However, the combined leave should not exceed 41 weeks or, when applicable, 43. 
    5. The leave is compensated with a 70% remuneration. The payable amount is calculated per the employee’s salary who is taking the rest.
  • Adoption leave
    1. Adoption leave is similar to maternity leave and is applicable when an employee adopts a child younger than seven years. 
    2. It can be taken either by the father or the mother. The labor code in Poland prohibits parents from taking the mentioned leave together. 
  • Sick leave
    1. A Polish employee can take sick leave up to 33 days per year. 
    2. After 33 days, employers must pay 80% of the employee’s base pay for a maximum of 182 days per year. 
    3. The payable amount would increase to 100% salary if the employee were involved in an accident while returning or going to the office. 
  • Special event leave
    1. According to labor regulations in Poland, employees must be granted a two-day leave for family events. 
    2. Events such as marriage, childbirth, or a funeral are usually considered. 
    3. Employees can take a two-day paid leave once a calendar year for the mentioned cause. 
  • Study leave
    1. Study leave is applicable if the employing company initiates it or if they provide special permission to their employee. 
    2. The tenure of leave varies per the requirement. Some of the most commonly issued vacations are provided below. 

Condition

Leave tenure

Extramural exam

6 days

Confirmation of professional qualification

6 days

Diploma dissertation and subsequent exams

21 days

  • Caretaking leave
    1. Caretaking leave is considered unpaid leave, per the labor code in Poland. 
    2. Employees may take up to 5 days of caretaking leave when certain conditions are fulfilled. 
  • Carer’s leave
    1. Employees are entitled to a two-day carer’s leave.
    2. The carer’s leave is 50% of an employee’s daily remuneration.  
  • Unpaid leave
    1. A Polish employee can take unpaid leave for any purpose. 
    2. Accomplishing a task for another employer also falls under the purpose of unpaid leave. 
    3. Employees must request unpaid leave. However, an employer can reject such a request at any time.

Minimum wage

The minimum wage act enforces an increment in yearly, monthly, and daily wages in January. As of 2023, the minimum wage per the labor code in Poland is PLN 22.80 per hour and PLN 3,490 per month. The new salary is applicable from January and might be further revised in July. 

Pension fund

The pension fund is regulated by the Act of 28 August 1997 in the Polish labor law. The total pension contribution is 19.2% of an employee’s monthly remuneration. 

  • State pension
    1. Employers must deduct and pay 9.76% of their employee’s monthly remuneration, while the company pays another 9.76%. 
    2. Employers must withhold and pay the mentioned amount to the social security office. 
    3. Contributions made by employers for the mentioned pension scheme are a part of their tax costs. Therefore, no corporate taxes are enforced on such amounts. 
  • Supplementary pension
    1. These are additional and non-obligatory pension schemes. 
    2. Additional pension schemes provided by an employer are often counted as an extra job benefit. 
    3. The payable amount depends on the selected pension scheme. 

Payroll tax and employer registration

Employers must deduct and pay taxes for their employees while issuing their salaries. The total employment cost varies between 19.48% to 22.14%. 

Schema

Tax bracket (in percent)

Retirement pension fund

9.76

Pension fund

6.50

Disability

0.67-3.33

Guaranteed employee benefits fund

0.10

Labor fund

2.45

Since an employer is liable to withhold taxes, they must deduct the necessary taxes from their employee’s salary per the table. 

Schema Name

Tax bracket (in percent)

Retirement fund

9.76

Pension

1.50

Sickness

2.45

Health insurance

9

Employees must also pay a separate income tax, per the labor code in Poland. An employee’s income determines the applicable taxes.

  • Employees earning 0 to 30,000 PLN are exempted from the mentioned income tax. 
  • Citizens making between 30,001 PLN to 120,000 PLN must pay 12% in income taxes. 
  • Employees who earn more than 120,000 PLN are subjected to the 32% tax bracket.

Payslip

There are no explicit mentions of payslip provisions in the labor act rules in Poland. However, an employing company should include the following information when issuing a payslip.

  • Employee’s name and designation
  • Salary date
  • Base salary
  • Overtime pay, when applicable
  • Additional benefits, if any
  • Income tax, if applicable 
  • Other taxes, like the pension fund, disability, etc.

Probation period

  • The probation period for any designation should be less than three months. 
  • The employer can terminate an employment contract for a probationary period. 
  • A company is not obligated to provide permanent employment after a trial period ends. 
  • Once a trial period is over, a company is prohibited from offering another probation-based contract to the same employee. 
  • Employers must provide a valid reason during the termination of a trial-based employment contract. 

Dismissal Rules

  • Dismissal protocol
    1. Employers must provide a written termination notice to their employees. 
    2. The termination notice must underline the employee’s rights per the labor code in Poland. 
    3. A termination is applicable during the month’s end. 
    4. A justifiable reason should be highlighted in the termination notice. 
    5. Employers must discuss termination with a trade union if any exists. 
    6. Employees can terminate their contract by providing their employers with a written and dated resignation letter. However, an employee must serve the applicable notice period based on their employment tenure. 
  • Notice period
    1. In a non-fixed term contract, the employment is nullified after the notice period has been served. 
    2. The employer could terminate a fixed-term contract if such a provision were agreed upon before employment.
    3. Employees must serve a notice period during the termination of a trial contract. The tenure for a notice period has been provided below. 

Contract type

Employment tenure

Applicable notice period

Fixed-term contract

Longer than six months

Two weeks

Non-fixed term contract

Less than six months

Two weeks

More than six months, and less than three years

One month

More than three years

Three months

Trial contract

Up to two weeks

Three days

More than two weeks, and less than three months

One week

Three months

Two weeks

Severance pay

Article 23, Act 26.06.1974 of the Polish labor law, along with Article 8 and 10, Act 13.03.2003, regulates the implementation of severance pay for employees terminated with or without notice. Companies with over 20 recruits must pay a severance fee per the mentioned criteria. 

  • Employees are entitled to a severance fee equivalent to their monthly wages for an employment tenure shorter than two years. 
  • Two months’ salary if they have served over two years but less than eight years. 
  • Employees who have served a company for over eight years get three months’ salary.

However, according to the labor act rules in Poland, the severance fees should always be less than 15 times the monthly minimum wage in Poland. 

Data protection and employee privacy

Employee privacy and data protection in Poland are predominantly governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) or GDPR, incorporated within the Polish labor law under Act 10, May 2018, as the Protection of Personal Data. Employers are allowed to obtain the personal data of an employee to store, process and conduct background checks. Information addiction, health, sexual orientation, or other unrelated data to a job is considered restrictive information.

EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions

The Republic of Poland has been a member of the European Union (EU) since May 2004. For employers, it ideally points to adding specific rules and regulations, which are imposed alongside the Polish labor law. Companies must abide by the EU Directive 2019/1152 on Transparent Working Conditions. Some of the primary pillars of these conditions have been listed below. 

  • A company must introduce policies to reduce and nullify workplace abuse and harassment. 
  • Training provided by the employing company should be free. 
  • A Polish employee can take up another job. Obstruction to this rule should be justified with an acceptable reason. 
  • Every deliverable and responsibility of the employee must be highlighted in the employment letter. Employers must ensure utmost transparency and stick to it. 
  • Deadlines provided by the employer should be reasonable and mutually agreed upon by the employee.

Penalties

Failure to comply with the labor regulations in Poland might lead to several undesirable outcomes, such as imprisonment and imposition of fines. The punishment is often decided per the extent of non-compliance, as no underlined penalty is determined beforehand. Employers must also be aware of the laws enforced by the European Union, as non-compliance to the EU directives can lead to harsher punishments.

Compliance Strategies for Employers

An employing company looking to run a payroll and abide by the labor law in Poland can implement several compliance strategies. A list of techniques has been provided below to allow businesses to choose the most appropriate option per the criteria.

  • In-house HR
    1. An in-house HR team can be appointed to moderate policies related to monthly salary, rest breaks, holidays, etc. It allows employers to ensure that the company complies with Polish labor law. 
    2. The existing HR team should specialize in the mentioned law.
    3. It is a viable option for big companies, who can spare more budget to achieve compliance. 
  • Third-party HR agency
    1. Like an in-house team, a third-party HR agency moderates the salary, holidays, rest breaks, etc. Therefore, allowing a company to stay compliant. 
    2. It allows an employing company to abide by labor regulations in Poland without spending more on hiring a local HR expert. 
  • Employer of Records (EOR)
    1. An employer of records (EOR) is the modern-day solution for companies looking to comply with the labor regulations in Poland within a minimal budget. 
    2. EORs allow employers to abide by labor laws by moderating the necessary working conditions without human interference. 

How Can Multiplier Help?

Multiplier is a SaaS-based Employer of Records (EOR) solution offering features like contract drafting and generation, payroll management, and multi-currency payments. 

Often, companies are requested to open a local subsidiary to hire employees. However, with Multiplier, the need to open a company is nullified, and employers can start recruiting employees from more than 150+ economies. Testing new markets while managing everything effectively to stay compliant are benefits every business enjoys with Multiplier.

Frequently Asked Questions

The labor regulations in Poland do not place any age restriction on the selection of a manager or a director in a company. However, the employment of minors is strictly prohibited by the law. Therefore, it is safe to assume that anyone older than 18 can be hired for the mentioned position

There are no provisions that highlight an inactive employer who is hiring in Poland. However, according to the labor code in Poland, employers get certain benefits for hiring disabled and unemployed citizens.

According to the labor act rules in Poland, maternity leave can only be taken when an employee is pregnant or has adopted a child younger than seven years. Maternity leave is not applicable for childbirth through surrogacy.

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