Hours & Pay Regulations
Working time generally may not exceed 8 hours in a 24-hour period and an average of 40 hours. The settlement period normally consists of a five-day working week within a maximum duration of four months.
- 24-hour period means – 24 successive hours, beginning when the employee starts work in accordance with the binding working time schedule.
- Week means – 7 successive calendar days, beginning with the first day of the calculation period.
In addition to the basic system of working time, in which the employee works no more than 8 hours a day in an average 5-day working week, the Labor Code also provides for other forms of organizing the employee’s working time:
Alternative Systems of Work
Balanced Working Time System
This working system allows for extending the length of working time up to 12 hours a day within a settlement period not exceeding 1 month. Art. 135 of the Labor Code.
Jobs Involving Monitoring Equipment & On-Call Duty
In jobs consisting of monitoring equipment or connected with a partial on-call duty, there is a limited possibility of extending the length of daily working time up to 16 hours within a settlement period not exceeding 1 month. In such cases, the employee has the right to rest for a period of time at least equivalent to the number of hours worked, regardless of the weekly rest period. Art. 136 of the Labor Code.
Jobs Involving Guarding Property
Under the balanced working time in guarding property or protecting people as well as in the case of employees of enterprise fire brigades and enterprise rescue teams, the length of daily working time may be increased up to 24 hours in a settlement period not exceeding 1 month. In this system, a worker is entitled to rest for a period of time at least equivalent to the number of hours worked, regardless of the weekly rest period. Art. 137 of the Labor Code.
Job Involving Continuous Activities
For work in continuous activities the possibility of prolongation of the length of daily working time on one day within certain weeks up to 12 hours in case of, on average, a 43-hour weekly working time standard within an applicable settlement period not longer than 4 weeks. Art. 138 of the Labor Code.
Shortened Working Week System
On the written request of an employee, a shortened working week system may be applied which allows the employee to work for fewer than 5 days per week while at the same time extending the daily working time but not more than up to 12 hours, within a settlement period not exceeding 1 month. Art. 143 of the Labor Code.
On the written request of an employee, a working time system may be used where work is performed only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and on public holidays. That system allows for the daily working time to be extended up to 12 hours within the settlement period not exceeding 1 month. Art. 144 of the Labor Code.
Interrupted Working Time
The system can be applied if it is justified by the type of work or its organization. The working time plan within this system should be pre-determined providing for no more than one break at work in a 24-hour period. The break is not counted in the working time, but, for the period of the break, the employee is entitled to half of the remuneration due for a work stoppage. The break should not be longer than 5 hours. Art. 139 of the Labor Code.
Task-Based Working Time
In this system the employer, after consulting the employee, assigns certain tasks to the employee, considering the working time resulting from the 8-hour daily working time standard and a 40-hour weekly standard in an average 5-day working week. Art. 140 of the Labor Code.
In each working time system providing for the working time schedule including work on Sundays and public holidays, employees will be guaranteed a total number of days off corresponding to at least the number of Sundays, public holidays and days off in an average five-day working week falling in that period
Overtime work requires a payment of 100% remuneration in addition to regular remuneration for:
- Working overtime at night,
- On Sundays and holidays which are days off work according to the employee’s working time schedule; and
- On a day off work granted to the employee in exchange for work on Sunday or a holiday according to the employee’s working time schedule.
An employee is entitled to 50% remuneration for overtime work on any other day than the ones listed above.
A supplement in the amount of 100% of remuneration is also granted for every hour of overtime work which exceeds the average weekly working time in a decided settlement period. Article 151 of the Labor Code.
The number of overtime hours in a year will not exceed 150 or another amount that has been agreed in a collective agreement.
In exchange for time worked overtime the employer can give the employee the same duration of time off from work at the employee’s written request. Granting free time in exchange for time worked in hours overtime can also take place without the employee’s request. In this case, the employer must grant the employee time off, before the end of the calculation period, amounting to 1 ½ time the number of hours worked overtime. Article 151(2) of the Labor Code.
Nighttime is a duration of 8 hours between 9 pm and 7 am. An employee whose schedule of working time includes at least 3 nighttime hours of work in each 24 hour period or where at least one-quarter of his working time in a settlement period falls at night, is considered to be a night employee.
The working time of a night employee cannot exceed 8 hours in a 24 hour period if he holds a job that is particularly dangerous or involves a considerable physical or intellectual effort.
A worker who performs work at night is entitled to an additional remuneration of 20%. In relation to employees who provide work at night outside of the work establishment on a regular basis, the bonus may be replaced by a lump sum equivalent to the expected length of work at night. Article 151(7) of the Labor Code.
If an employee has completed 6 hours of working time in a 24-hour period, the employee has the right to a break from work of at least 15 minutes. This break is counted into the working time. Art. 134 of the Labor Code.
Daily and Weekly Rest
Employees are entitled to at least 11 hours of uninterrupted rest in each 24-hour period.
Employees are entitled to at least 35 hours of uninterrupted rest every week including at least 11 hours of uninterrupted daily rest.
The rest should fall on Sunday. Sunday covers 24 consecutive hours, starting at 6.00 on that day unless a different time has been set by the employer. Art. 132 – 133 of the Labor Code.
Uninterrupted rest in a given week should generally fall on Sundays. If an employee is required to work on a Sunday, he is entitled to a rest day within the period of 6 calendar days preceding or following that Sunday.
If a designated day off work is not provided, employees working on Sundays are entitled to either a day off before the end of the calculation period or additional remuneration in the amount of 100% for every hour worked on a Sunday.
An employee working on Sundays must have a Sunday off at least once every 4 weeks. Article 151(10)(11) of the Labor Code.
If an employee has performed work on a day off under a schedule of working time in an average five-day working week, he is entitled to another day off granted to the employee before the end of the calculation period. Article 151(3) of the Labor Code.
In general, work on public holidays is forbidden with the exception of services that are necessary due to their public usefulness or shift-timing requirements. Employees are generally entitled to the following public holidays:
- Jan. 1: New Year’s Day;
- Jan. 6: Epiphany;
- Easter Sunday and Monday;
- May 1: Labor Day;
- May 3: Constitution Day;
- 1st Day of Whitsun Holidays;
- Corpus Christi;
- Aug. 15: St. Mary’s Ascension Day;
- Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day;
- Nov. 11: Independence Day;
- Dec. 25 and Dec. 26: Christmas.
A day off in lieu must be granted when an employee has to work on a public holiday (regardless of the number of hours worked) within the calculation period. If a day off is not provided within the calculation period employees are entitled to an additional remuneration of 100%. Holidays that fall on a weekend day are not moved to the next working day.
All holidays in Poland are considered paid non-working dates with two exceptions. Easter Sunday and Whit Sunday (Pentecost) always fall on a Sunday and this is considered a day of rest in Poland. Only the employees who are actively scheduled to work on these days receive the day off with pay.
Any national holiday that falls on a Sunday during any given year must remain on that date. Article 1, Non-working Days Act of 18 January 1951.
In the calendar year in which an employee takes up work for the first time, the employee acquires the right to leave after each month of work amounting to 1/12 of the leave he is entitled to after one year of work. An employee acquires the right to subsequent leave in each successive calendar year. The length of leave amounts to:
- 20 days: if an employee has been employed for fewer than 10 years;
- 26 days: if an employee has been employed for at least 10 years.
The length of leave for a part-time employee is proportionate to the working time of this employee. A part of a day of leave shall be rounded up to a full day.
The periods of previous employment are included, regardless of breaks in employment and the manner of termination of employment. Periods of school education, maximum up to 8 years is added to total years of experience if the employee has finished college education. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 155.
Employees must take at least 14 consecutive calendar days of vacation in a leave year. Any unused vacation is carried over to the following year and should be used by Sept. 30 of that year. If this does not happen, however, the employee is entitled to request the vacation by the time the entitlement for a given calendar year expires. The limitation period is three years. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 152-172 (Polish).
Effective for 2019, the current monthly minimum wage is 2,250 zloty.
The employer is entitled to introduce one break at work which is not counted into the working time, no longer than 60 minutes, for having a meal or settling private matters. This break at work is introduced in a collective labor agreement or work regulations, or in an employment contract if the employer is not covered by a collective labor agreement or is not obliged to set out work regulations. Article 141 of the Labor Code.
A female employee is entitled to the following periods of maternity leave for the birth of a child:
- 20 weeks for the birth of 1 child;
- 31 weeks for the birth of 2 children;
- 33 weeks for the birth of 3 children;
- 35 weeks for the birth of 4 children; and
- 37 weeks for the birth of 5 or more children.
Maternity leave may commence no earlier than six weeks before the expected date of childbirth. Immediately after childbirth, the remaining leave must be taken in full. An employee must take a minimum of 14 weeks’ maternity leave before returning to work. Any untaken leave beyond 14 weeks can be used by the child’s father. Following maternity leave, working mothers are also entitled to parental leave.
An employee on maternity leave is entitled to maternity benefits covered by the public sickness insurance fund operated by the State Social Security Office. An employee must submit a special written request at least 14 days before the planned commencement of leave. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 179-185 (Polish); Labor Code Amendment, of July 24, 2015 (Polish).
A female employee who works more than six hours a day and is breastfeeding a child must be allowed to take two half-hour breaks per day. Female employees who are breastfeeding more than one child are entitled to two 45-minute breaks from work.
Fathers taking care of a child may request two weeks’ paternity leave until the child is 2 years old. Standard paternity leave can be taken simultaneously with the mother’s maternity leave. Paternity leave can be taken in a maximum of two installments, each not shorter than one week. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), art. 182 (Polish); Labor Code Amendment of July 24, 2015 (Polish).
Immediately after using maternity leave, both parents are entitled to parental leave of up to 32 weeks (34 weeks for multiple births).
Employees will have to request this leave no fewer than 21 days prior to its planned commencement and are entitled to receive statutory maternity pay (from social security) for any leave taken. Parental leave can be taken as one continuous period of leave or as several periods (but not more than four), each no shorter than eight weeks and each period immediately after another. However, up to 16 weeks of parental leave can be used in the time which is not immediately after the previous part of the leave. The leave can be used until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 6 years old.
Employees will also be entitled to return to work part-time (no more than half time) during parental leave with at least 21 days’ notice. Employers will have the right to reject an employee’s request for part-time work if operational needs require it. The employee’s position during parental leave is protected. An employee who is raising one child aged up to 14 years is entitled to be released from work for two days in a calendar year while continuing to receive remuneration. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 182, 186 (Polish); Labor Code Amendment of July 24, 2015 (Polish).
In cases of inability to work due to illness, employees are entitled to 80 percent of their average earnings calculated on the basis of the salary received for the 12 consecutive months preceding the period of disability (sick pay). The employer covers sick pay for up to 33 days in a calendar year (regardless of breaks), after which the State Social Security Office assumes payment for a maximum of 182 consecutive days per year. For employees aged 50 or more, the company only has to cover sick pay for the first 14 days of sickness in a calendar year. Further sickness payments are assumed by the Social Security Office. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), art. 92 (Polish).
Employees who have worked for at least six months are entitled to up to 3 years of unpaid childcare leave until the child is five years old. During childcare leave, an employee can work for the current employer or another employer or receive education or training if it does not interfere with caring for the child. At the end of the leave, the employee is entitled to be reemployed in the former or an equivalent position. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 182, 186 (Polish); Labor Code Amendment of July 24, 2015 (Polish).
An employee is entitled to one or two days off in the case of getting married, the birth of a child or a funeral of a close family member. An employee must also be given leave when summoned by a court or the public authorities to attend proceedings or in the case of a compulsory medical examination or blood donation.
The employee is entitled to leave of 1 day for the marriage of his or her child or the death and funeral of his or her sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandmother, grandfather or any other person supported or directly care for by the employee. During the leave for the above-mentioned reasons, the employee has the right to the same remuneration if he were at work.
Employees who bring up at least 1 child at the age of up to 14 years may be released from the obligation to work for 16 hours or 2 days during the calendar year, with the right to remuneration. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 182, 186 (Polish); Labor Code Amendment of July 24, 2015 (Polish).
Employees who are parents of children with disabilities can take up to 30 days’ leave per year in case of illness of their child. Parents of disabled children can also request flexible work time and remote working arrangements. The act of May 10, 2018, Amending the Act on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons and Certain Other Acts, 2018 (Polish).
An employee who accepted a child for the upbringing and applied to the guardianship court to initiate proceedings for the adoption of a child or who has adopted a child for upbringing as a family substitute, except for a foster family, has the right to leave on maternity leave until the child reaches 7 years of age:
- 20 weeks if 1 child is adopted;
- 31 weeks in the case of simultaneous adoption of 2 children;
- 33 weeks in the event of the simultaneous adoption of 3 children;
- 35 weeks in the event of simultaneous adoption of 4 children; and
- 37 weeks in the case of the simultaneous adoption of 5 or more children.
In the case of a child who has been permitted to postpone compulsory education, no longer than until they reach the age of 10. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 182, 186 (Polish); Labor Code Amendment of July 24, 2015 (Polish).
Study leave may be granted to employees who improve their qualification on the initiative of the employer or upon its consent under the principles specified in the Labor Code. The amount of leave is the following:
- 6 days for employees who take extramural examinations;
- 6 days for employees who take to confirm professional qualifications;
- 21 days during the last year of studies for writing a diploma dissertation and preparing for and taking the diploma examination.
For the time of the study leave, employees retain their right to receive remuneration.
Last updated on: January 15th, 2020