If you employ employees in Poland, you should comply with the provisions of the Polish Act of June 26, 1974 - the Labor Code. In this article, we will briefly describe examples of employee rights and obligations of employers in Poland, including the amount of the minimum remuneration for work, how often employees must be sent for medical examinations, how many days are paid vacation leave and for how many days the employer should pay the employee in the event of a sick leave.
The minimum remuneration for work in 2021 is 2800 PLN gross, and the minimum hourly rate is 18,30 PLN gross per hour. In 2022, the minimum wage under an employment contract will increase to 3010 PLN gross, and the hourly rate for civil law contracts will be 19,70 PLN gross.
If an employee falls ill and the absence from work is justified by a sick leave, the employer is obliged to pay for the first 33 days of absence or 14 days in the case of employees over 50 years of age. After this period, the employee will receive sickness benefits. An employer employing no more than 20 employees should submit relevant documents to the Social Insurance Institution so that ZUS takes over the payment of sickness benefits to the employee. If the employer employs more than 20 employees, for the entire period of incapacity for work, the employer pays the sickness benefit to the employee, but settles it with the Social Insurance Institution for this. Monthly sickness benefit is paid in the amount of 80% of remuneration (in most cases), 70% of remuneration (for the period of stay in the hospital) or 100% of remuneration (if the employee is sick as a result of an accident on the way to or from work, during pregnancy or as a result of necessary medical examinations provided for candidates for donors of cells, tissues and organs or the procedure of collecting cells, tissues and organs).
In addition, the employer should provide the employee in each year of work with paid vacation leave, which may be 20 days (if the employee has been employed for less than 10 years) or 26 days (if the employee has been employed for at least 10 years). Work experience includes periods of previous employment, both in Poland and abroad. Periods of study may also be included in seniority. The Labor Code specifies how many years should be included in the number of years of service for graduating from certain schools. For completion:
- basic or equivalent vocational school - the duration of education provided for in the curriculum is included, but not more than 3 years,
- secondary vocational school - the duration of education provided for in the curriculum is included, but not more than 5 years,
- secondary vocational school for graduates of basic (equivalent) vocational schools - 5 years,
- high school - 4 years,
- post-secondary school - 6 years,
- university - 8 years.
As a rule, the employee should use the vacation leave for a given year until 31st December. In a situation where the employee doesn’t use all the vacation days employee is entitled to, on January 1 of the following year, the vacation leave becomes overdue leave, which the employer is obliged to grant to the employee until 30 September of the following year at the latest. Failure to grant the overdue leave until 30 September of the following year is an offense which is punishable by a fine for the employer in the amount of 1000 to 30000 PLN. According to the Labor Code, the leave may be divided into parts at the employee's request. In such a case, however, at least one part of the vacation should last no less than 14 consecutive calendar days.
The above regulations apply when an employee is employed under an employment contract. If the cooperation is in the form of a civil contract, then the employee isn’t entitled to privileges such as vacation leave. The sickness benefit under the civil contract is only payable if the voluntary sickness contribution has been paid for at least 90 days beforehand. If you would like to learn more about the forms of employment (including the differences between an employment contract and a civil contract), we encourage you to read our previous article: https://business-in-poland.eu/pl/articles/view/the-forms-of-employment-in-poland/
Another important obligation of the employer is to refer the employee to preliminary medical examinations before starting work, because the employee can’t be allowed to work if there is no current medical certificate that there are no contraindications to work in a specific job. Initial, periodic and follow-up examinations of employees are performed by a medical facility on the basis of an agreement concluded by the employer. Medical examinations are carried out during working hours at the employer's expense. The employee retains the right to remuneration for the time of non-performance of work in connection with the conducted medical examinations. Employees recruited to work are subject to initial medical examinations. All employees are subject to periodic examinations on the dates set by the occupational medicine physician, as indicated in the decision on no contraindications to work. Employees are subject to control tests in the event of inability to work due to an illness lasting more than 30 days. After the examinations, a medical certificate is issued, which states that there are no contraindications to work in a specific job or the existence of contraindications. The doctor always issues two copies of the certificate, one for the employee and one for the employer, which should be included in the employee's personal file.
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