12 April 2024

Labor And Employment Law In Poland

Dudkowiak Kopec & Putyra


Dudkowiak Kopec & Putyra is leading Polish Law Firm operating on the market since 1992. DKP specializes in providing legal services to foreign investors and international corporations in investment ventures in Poland. DKP is recognized for M&A and Corporate Law, Real Estate, Litigation, Regulatory, Arbitration and Employment Law.
Labor law in Poland is regulated primarily by the Polish Labor Code from 1974.
Poland Employment and HR
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Labor law in Poland is regulated primarily by the Polish Labor Code from 1974.

Polish Labor Code provides comprehensive regulations of:

  • employment contract types,
  • remote work
  • remuneration,
  • leaves from work,
  • working time,
  • employee benefits,
  • health & safety at the workplace,
  • obligations of the employer and the employee,
  • employment contract termination.

In addition to Labor Code, there are other important acts of law, that complement the employment regulation in Poland, i.e.:

  • Act of April 13, 2007 on the National Labor Inspectorate,
  • Act of October 10, 2002 on the minimum remuneration for work,
  • Act of March 13, 2003 on the special rules for terminating employment relationships with employees for reasons not related to employees,
  • Act of May 23, 1991 on the trade unions and many others.

Among the sources of labor law in Poland we also distinguish so-called internal legal acts, which binding force is limited to a closed group of persons, i.e. all employees of a particular enterprise. The internal acts of law include, among others:

  • Work regulation,
  • Remuneration regulation,
  • Remote work regulation
  • Social fund regulation,
  • Prizes fund regulation.

Some internal regulations, such as for example work and remuneration regulations, are mandatory to introduce in case of employers who hire more than 50 employees. Such internal regulations form a set of internal employer rules to which both employees and the employer adhere


Employment contract creates an employment relationship that obliges an employee to perform a specific type of work for the benefit of the employer and under his direction, at the place and time designated by him. At the same time it creates an obligation for the employer to pay the remuneration for the work performed.

There are three types of employment contract in Poland:

  • probation employment contract,
  • definite employment contract and
  • indefinite employment contract.


These types are distinguished based on the duration and purpose of those contracts.

1. Basic types of employment contracts

Probation employment contract

Probation employment contract is a type of contract concluded for a short period of time called a 'probation' or a 'trial' period.

This period can last up a maximum of 3 months. This type of contract is intended for newly hired employees and allows the employers to check whether the employee is suitable for the entrusted job.

Polish employment law does not allow to include a probation period in a standard employment contract, which means that in each case of hiring the employee for a probation period, there must be a separate contract concluded.

Probation contract is not mandatory, so if the employer is not interested in hiring the employee for a trial period, he can proceed with signing a standard employment contract.

Based on the regulations of the Labor Code the length of the notice period shall depend on the length of the next intended contract. However, the most popular solution in Poland is to conclude a 3 month probation contract.

Definite employment contract

Definite employment contract is a contract concluded for a fixed amount of time, for example 6 months, 1 year etc.

However, there are some conditions that need to be met be the employer in order for the definite contract to be valid.

The total number of definite contracts concluded by the employer with the same employee cannot exceed 3 definite contracts.

At the same time, the employee cannot be hired by the same employer under the definite employment contract for more than 33 months total.

Definite contracts are in no way easier to terminate than the indefinite ones. The only difference is that instead of terminating early the employer may simply wait for the expiry of the contract (end data) which will cause the contract to dissolve with no additional actions needed.

Indefinite employment contract

Indefinite employment contract is a most common form of employment in Poland.

It is a contract with no specific end date, which provides the employee with more certainty of a continuous employment than the definite contract.

It is also most favorably perceived by banking institutions when assessing creditworthiness of the employee.

Such a contract may be terminated by either of the parties, provided they adhere to the rules of termination described in the Labor Code (form, notice period etc.). Since the contract has no expiration date, it cannot expire on its own.

2. Remote work contract

Basically, any of the above-mentioned types of employment contracts can be a basis for remote work. The employment contract may simply mention that the employee will be working remotely and determine a certain workplace (for example employee's residence address).

However, since remote work was introduced to the Polish Labor Code in April of 2023, employers have to adhere to strict rules when it comes to allowing remote work in the company. The employer is responsible, among others, for:

  • providing employee with suitable equipment,
  • ensuring employee's health&safety at remote workplace,
  • establishing proper rules of performing remote work
  • paying out the allowance for remote work (supporting employee in costs resulting from remote work such as electricity or internet).

Rules of performing remote work and obligations of both parties connected to the remote work must be properly regulated by the employer – which may take more individual from (separate remote work agreement with employee) or a more general form (introducing remote work regulations in the company). What is important, the employee cannot be allowed to perform remote work without first agreeing on its rules.

3. Benefits of an employment contract in Poland

Concluding the employment contract provides a number of benefits for the employee, such as:

  • minimum salary (as of January 2024 it is 4242 PLN gross per month, form July 2024 it will be 4300 PLN gross per month),
  • paid holiday leave,
  • sick leave,
  • maternity/paternity leave,
  • work time standards,
  • equipment provided by the employer,
  • additional allowance for remote work,
  • additional remuneration for overtime hours,
  • protection against termination in certain circumstances,
  • strict procedures for employment termination (termination notice)


The process of onboarding in Poland is not very complicated. However, there are some important steps that the employer must take before the employee starts work. After the candidate accepts the job offer the employer shall:

  1. Prepare employment contract and a set of HR documents for the new hire.
  2. Issue a medical referral for preliminary medical examination of the employee
    1. before the commencement of work the employee must undergo mandatory medical check-up. The employer bears a cost of such examination. The examination may be organized by the employer or by the employee on his own – in both cases the employer shall cover the costs upfront or refund them afterwards.
  3. Provide health & safety training for the employee – this may be done be the employer's company with help of the external provider.
    1. Nowadays there are many companies that offer online OHS trainings. After the training the employee shall receive and sign the OHS training card, which is then stored in his personal files. However, online training is only available for employees who work in a remote or hybrid mode. Stationary employees must undergo training on employer's premises or at the external provider's premises. Apart from the general training the employee shall also undergo on-the-job training – OHS training relating to his job position and workplace. Such a training is usually conducted by a supervisor who has valid health and safety qualifications. The OHS training shall be organized on the first day of work.
  4. Inform the employee about the occupational risk related to the work position and the principles of protection against threats.
  5. Provide employee with personal protective equipment free of charge - if necessary for a certain job position.
  6. Provide employee with clothing and work footwear - if his or her own clothing may be destroyed or it is necessary due to technological/sanitary requirements.
  7. Provide equipment necessary to perform work, e.g. laptop. For employees working for more than half of their daily working time in front of a screen it is mandatory to provide (apart from a laptop/computer): a mouse, a keyboard, an external monitor. or a laptop stand.
  8. Sign the employment contract and necessary HR documents and deliver to the payroll company/HR department to store in the employee's files
    1. IMPORTANT: employment contract must be signed before or on the day of commencement of work at the latest.
  9. Make sure the employee is able to work according to the medical certificate obtained by the employee after preliminary medical examination.
  10. Register employee in social insurance institution (ZUS) within 7 days of the start date indicated in the employment contract.


Minimum remuneration in Poland is regulated by law and for the full-time employee performing work under the employment contract the amount of remuneration cannot be lower than PLN 4242 gross per month (as of January 1, 2024). For the employees working part-time the regulations on minimum remuneration still apply, but in this case minimum remuneration is calculated proportionally.

Minimum remuneration in Poland PLN 4242 gross from January 1, 2024
PLN 4300 gross from July 1, 2024

Polish law regulates also minimum hourly wages. As of January 1, 2024 it is PLN 27.70 gross per hour. The minimum hourly wage, same as in case of minimum remuneration, will be raised for the second time from July 1, 2024.

Minimal hourly wage in Poland From January 1, 2024 – PLN 27.70 gross per hour
From July 1, 2024 – PLN 28.10 gross per hour

The minimum remuneration is to be raised as of July 2023. The minimum remuneration will then amount to PLN 3600 gross per month for a full-time employee. The minimum hourly wage will be raised to PLN 23.50 gross per hour.

Every employment agreement in Poland is subject to social security and health contributions, along with the obligation to pay taxes. Under the employment relationship the obligation to calculate, collect and pay taxes and contributions to relevant authorities rests with the employer. As a result employee receives 'net salary' – meaning the salary after all necessary deductions.


According to the Polish Labor Code, standard working time for a full-time employee shall not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week in an average five – day working week. If the employee works overtime, the weekly working hours shall not exceed 48 hours a week.

Employee is entitled to a daily rest period which amounts to at least 11 hours of uninterrupted rest. However, this entitlement does not apply to employees on managing positions. Such employees are entitled to an equivalent period of rest.

On a weekly basis the employee is entitled to a minimum 35 hour period of uninterrupted rest (while maintaining the above-mentioned daily rest period).

Employee working at least for 6 consecutive hours a day is entitled to a 15-minute break included in the working time – which means that the break will not extend the working time. After 9 consecutive hours employee receives the right to additional 15 minute break, same in case of 16 hours of consecutive work. Therefore, the employee has a right to the following breaks included in the working time:

  • work above 6 hours – 15 minutes
  • work above 9 hours – 30 minutes
  • work above 16 hours – 45 minutes

The employer may also introduce additional break from work, e.g. a lunch break. This additional break cannot exceed 1 hour in a day and is not included in the working time (meaning the employee's working hours will be extended by the break time). Such break shall result from the workplace regulations.


Employee maintains a right to the remuneration for the period of sickness or temporary incapacity for work. However, in some cases the employee receives only certain a certain percentage of his usual salary – depending of the reasons for incapacity for work.

If the incapacity for work was caused by:

  • sickness or mandatory isolation – the employee receives 80 % of usual salary;
  • sickness while the employee is pregnant – the employee receives 100 % of usual salary;
  • accident at work or accident when travelling to work – the employee receives 100 % of usual salary.

In case of sickness or temporary incapacity for work, the employer is obliged to pay for the first 33 days of incapacity (with the exception of employees over 50 years old – in this case the employer pays only for the first 14 days).

1. Sickness benefit

After the period of first 33 days of sickness, the Social Security (ZUS) takes over the obligation of payment and the sick pay turns into sickness benefit. This benefit is covered by ZUS for a period up to 182 days per year. This period is extended to 270 days in case of a disease during pregnancy or in case of a tuberculosis.

The exception from this rule are the employers who hire more than 20 employees. Those employers are obliged to pay out sickness benefits from the company funds. However, because of that, they have a right to deduct those amounts from the contributions they otherwise would have to pay to the Social Security (ZUS).

2. Holiday leave

Persons hired under employment contract in Poland are entitled to 20 or 26 days of fully paid annual leave (so-called 'holiday leave'). The number of days that the employee is entitled to depends on employee's work seniority.

Employee is entitled to 20 days of holiday leave in a calendar year if he/she worked for less than 10 years in their life (counted altogether, regardless of the employer). If the employee worked for more than 10 years he/she is entitled to 26 days of annual leave.

Having a higher education (graduating from a university with either a bachelor's or a master's degree) is equivalent to having already 8 years of work seniority. Which means that after two years of work, such an employee will be working for more than 10 years and will acquire the right to 26 days of annual leave.

Right to rest

As a rule, the employee acquires the right to the entirety of annual leave on January 1st of a given calendar year. The only exception from this rule happens in case of first year of employment (first job in person's life) when the right to a leave is acquired each month, proportionally to the employment period.

The employee should use his holiday leave within the calendar year for which he/she acquired the right to leave. The amount of leave can be divided into parts taken throughout the year. However, in order to ensure employee's rest, the law states that at least one of the parts should last no less than 2 consecutive weeks.

The holiday leave must be used by employee in nature and cannot be replaced with payment or benefit of any kind. Therefore, the employer cannot replace the leave with so called 'holiday bonuses' or prevent the employee in any other way from using the holiday leave.

Unused holiday leave

The unused leave accumulated in a certain calendar year is not lost when the year ends and is carried over to the next calendar year. As a rule, the employee should use his/her leave from the previous year until the end of September of the next calendar year. However, the employer cannot force the employee to use the outstanding leave, he can only inform and remind the employee about the need to use such leave.

After the 30th of September of the next calendar year the unused holiday leave is commonly acknowledged as undue. However it does not mean that it is lost. Holiday leave is a subject to a standard 3-years limitation period. This limitation period starts to run on September 30th of the year following the year for which the leave is for. For example, the outstanding leave for year 2023 will expire after 3 years counted from September 30th, 2024 – therefore it will expire on September 30th 2027.

There is one exception to the rule stating the employer cannot force the employee to use the holiday leave and it takes place during the notice period, when the employment contract is being terminated. The employer can then force the employee to take the leave during the notice period – otherwise the employer will be obliged to pay out the cash equivalent for the unused leave.

3. Maternity leave

The length of maternity leave depends on the number of children born in one childbirth and amounts to:

  • 20 weeks - birth of one child
  • 31 weeks - birth of two children
  • 33 weeks - birth of three children
  • 35 weeks - birth of four children
  • 37 weeks - birth of five and more children.

If an employee has adopted a child for upbringing as a foster family (except for a professional foster family) or has adopted a child and submitted an application for adoption to the guardianship court, they are entitled to leave under the conditions of maternity leave in the same amount.

A pregnant employee may, at her request, use a maximum of 6 weeks of maternity leave before the expected date of delivery. After giving birth, the employee is entitled to the rest of outstanding maternity leave.

Maternity benefit

The amount of the maternity benefit received by the employee during the maternity leave depends on when the application for the leave is submitted to the employer.

If the employee applies for maternity and parental leave (in one application) within 21 days after giving birth to the child – the maternity benefit will be paid out in the amount equal to 81.5% of salary (for the entire year during which the maternity and parental leave last).

If the employee does not meet the deadline for requesting maternity and parental leave – the maternity benefit will be paid out in the amount equal to 100% of salary for the first 20 weeks, and only 70% for the period of parental leave.

4. Paternity leave

The employee who becomes a father is entitled to paternity leave in the amount of 14 days. This leave can be divided into the maximum of two parts. In such case none of the parts can be shorter than 7 days. The entitlement to paternity leave belongs exclusively to the father. The leave cannot be transferred to the child's mother. The paternity leave may be used until the child turns the age of 24 months.

In the case of adoption of a child, the paternity leave is granted until the end of 24 months from the date of entry into force of the court sentence on the adoption of a child and no longer than until the child reaches the age of 14.

In case of paternity leave the employee-father is entitled to a benefit in the amount of 100 % of calculation basis.

5. Parental leave

The employee who completes the maternity leave acquires a right to paid parental leave. The amount of parental leave is also dependent on the number of children born at one delivery and amounts to:

  • 41 weeks if one child is born in one delivery
  • 42 weeks when more than one child is born in one delivery

The above-mentioned amounts may be divided between both parents, however each of them has a right to a non-transferrable part of 9 weeks.

Both maternity leave and parental leave, when taken one after another, last up to one year in case when one child is born in one delivery (for example: 20 weeks of maternity leave + 32 weeks of parental leave). for a mother giving birth to one child).

Parental benefit

Employee shall apply to the employer in order to use a parental leave. If the employee-mother submits her application within 21 days after the child is born – employee will receive the benefit in the same amount throughout the entire period of maternity and parental leave – i.e. 81.5% of calculation basis. If this deadline is not met, the parental benefit will be paid in the amount of 70% of calculation basis for the period of the parental leave.

The employee-father will receive 70 % of calculation basis while using his part of the parental leave.

Regardless of the above mentioned, an application for parental leave shall be submitted by the employee no later than 21 days before starting the leave.

6. Family leave

The employee who worked for a certain employer for at least 6 months is also entitled to an unpaid family leave, that can be granted to the employee until the child reaches the age of 6. This leave can last up to 3 years (36 months) and can be divided into the maximum of 5 parts. Both parents or guardians of the child are entitled to leave in this dimension jointly. Each parent or guardian of a child has the exclusive right to one month of family leave. This right cannot be transferred to the other parent. Since this leave is unpaid, the employee can take up additional work for another entities, e.g. based on civil law contracts, as long as the work does not interfere with taking care of a child.


There are 3 ways of terminating the employment contract in Poland. The employment may be terminated by:

  1. Mutual termination agreement (MTA) – the parties to the employment contract may agree to dissolve the employment contract on a chosen date – the effect of such an agreement can be immediate or delayed in time. In this kind of agreement the parties shall regulate all the claims and issues arising from the employment relationship, such as: payment of remuneration, unused leave, return of company equipment, non-compete after the term of the employment relationship, confidentiality etc. The MTA shall have a written form (mostly for evidentiary purposes) but there is are no strict rules as to the form of the signature. Therefore it may be signed either with a wet signature, a qualified electronic signature or even with a regular electronic signature (such as DocuSign).
  2. Termination with notice period – each party to the contract may terminate the contract with a notice period, by delivering the termination letter to the other party. In such case the contract will end with the lapse of the notice period. In Poland we have statutory notice periods regulated in the Labor Code which cannot be decreased (however, the parties may decide on applying longer notice periods).
    The statutory notice periods in Poland depend on the work seniority of the employee and last:
    • 2 weeks - if the employee has been employed for less than 6 months,
    • 1 month - if the employee has been employed for at least 6 months,
    • 3 months - if the has been employed for at least 3 years.
    When the employee is hired on the trial period contract the statutory notice are based on the length of the trial period and last:
    • 3 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.
    Termination letter must be prepared in writing. When delivered to the employee in person it shall be signed with a wet signature by the person entitled to represent the company. When delivered to the employee electronically (e.g. via email) it shall be signed with a qualified electronic signature bought from the provider from EU's trusted provider's list. Regular electronic signature such as DocuSign will not be valid.
    In case of terminating regular contracts – such as definite and indefinite contracts, the most important formal requirement of the termination letter is to provide a justified reason for termination. This does not apply to the probation contracts, which may be terminated earlier without providing a reason.
  3. Termination without notice period (so-called 'disciplinary termination') - one of the parties to the contract may terminate the contract without a notice period, by delivering the disciplinary termination letter to the other party.
    The employment contract may be terminated without notice only in case of a gross violation of the obligations of employee (e.g. employee comes drunk to work, does not show-up for work without explanation for multiple days) or employer (e.g. employer has not paid the remuneration for multiple months). The reason for termination must be described in termination letter.
    Since it is difficult to prove a gross violation – this solution is not used very often (reserved for more extreme cases). Such termination is also restricted with a deadline – employer may terminate the employment contract without notice due to the employee's fault within one month from the date the employer receives information about the circumstances which are the cause of disciplinary termination.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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