Poland

Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

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 with a maximum duration of four months. In some cases, the settlement period may be prolonged for up to 12 months.  

 

Alternative Systems of Work

Alternative working systems enable organizations to prolong the working time beyond 8 hours a day.

 

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. In particularly justified cases, the settlement period may be extended up to 3 months. If the work is dependent on the season or on weather conditions, the duration can be extended for up to 4 months. Art. 135 of the Labour 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 Labour 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. This period can be extended up to 3 months and also up to 4 months for works dependent on the season or on weather conditions. 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 Labour 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 Labour 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 Labour Code. 

 

Weekend Work 

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 Labour 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 Labour Code.

 

Task-Based Working Time 
If justified by the type of work or its organization or by the place of performing work, this system of work may be introduced. 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 Labour Code.

Overtime

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. If the employee regularly performs work outside the workplace, the remuneration and the supplements may be replaced by a lump sum payment corresponding to the amount of overtime work expected. Article 151 of the Labour Code.

 

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. Article 151(2) of the Labour Code.

 

For an on-call time, with the exception of on-call duty at home, the employees are entitled to time off from work in a dimension corresponding to the length of on-call time. In the absence of a possibility to grant time off – the resulting remuneration

from his personal grade, determined by the hourly or monthly rate is 60% of remuneration. Article 151(5) of the Labour Code.

Night Work

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. Exceptions to this rule comprise:

      • Employees managing the work establishment on behalf of the employer; or
      • Instances where it is necessary to perform a rescue operation to protect human life or health, to protect property or the environment, or to repair a breakdown.

A worker who performs work at night is entitled to addition to remuneration for each night of work at night, in the amount of 20%

hourly rate resulting from the minimum remuneration for work, determined on the basis of separate provisions. In relation to employees who perform night work constantly outside an allowance may be replaced by a lump sum, whose height corresponds to the anticipated working time at night. Article 151(7) of the Labour Code.

Breaks

An employee is entitled to a minimum of 15 minutes rest if the said employee has completed 6 hours of working time in a 24 hour period. The aforesaid 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. Art. 134 of the Labour Code.

 

Periods of 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 rest in a 24-hour period in the following cases:

      • Employees managing the work establishment on behalf of the employer;
      • The need to perform a rescue operation to protect human life or health, property or the environment, or to repair a breakdown; and
      • In the event of a change of the time during a day when an employee is performing work, following the employee’s transfer to another shift, in accordance with the applicable working time system, the weekly uninterrupted rest may include fewer hours, but may not be shorter than 24 hours.

Breast Feeding Break

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. 

Sunday Work

Uninterrupted rest in a given week should generally fall on Sundays. When work on Sunday is allowed, the rest period may fall on a day other than Sunday.

 

If a designated day off work is not provided, employees working on Sundays are entitled to additional remuneration in the amount of 100% for every hour worked on a Sunday. Article 151(10) of the Labour Code.

Public Holidays

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). 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.

 

Polish holidays are regulated by the Non-working Days Act of 18 January 1951. This Act establishes the national holidays in the country and provides the government with the ability to establish one-time national holidays at their discretion. This Act also stipulates that any national holiday that falls on a Sunday during any given year must remain on that date. Paid holiday rates only apply to normal working days.

 

Polish labor laws require all employers to provide employees with a paid day off for all national holidays. Employees that are required to work on a national holiday based on their profession are guaranteed a paid day off in lieu of the holiday. Employment contracts cannot take away payment for national holidays or paid days off in lieu of a public holiday under this law. Article 1,  Non-working Days Act of 18 January 1951.

Annual Leave

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, taking the length of leave determined above as a basis; a part of a day of leave shall be rounded up to a full day.

 

Until the period of employment, on which the right to leave depends and the length of leave, the periods of previous employment are included, regardless of breaks in employment and the manner of termination of employment. Leave is granted on days that are working days for the employee, in accordance with the working time schedule in force, on an hourly basis, corresponding to the daily working time of an employee on a given day.

 

The employee shall be granted an annual leave on an hour of work corresponding to part of the daily working time is allowed only

in the case when part of the leave remaining to be used is lower than full the daily working time of the employee on the day on which leave is to be granted.

 

Leave is granted in accordance with a schedule of leave. The schedule of leave is established by the employer, under consideration of requests from employees and the need to ensure a regular course of work. An employer does not establish a schedule of leave if an enterprise trade union has consented to it; this also applies to an employer at whose work establishment there is no enterprise trade union. In such cases, the employer establishes the dates of leave upon agreement with an employee. The schedule of leave is announced to the employees in the standard method adopted at a given employer.  Unused leave must be granted to an employee by September 30th of the following calendar year, at the latest.

 

The date of leave may be changed at the request of an employee justified by important reasons.  The date of leave may also be changed with respect to the particular needs of an employer if the absence of the employee would cause serious disruption at work. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), arts. 152-172 (Polish).

 

Minimum Wage

The current statutory minimum wage system has been in force since 2002 when the Minimum Wage Act was passed. The act regulates the minimum legal remuneration, the rules for setting the amount and reduced rates for new employees.

 

Effective for 2019, the current monthly minimum wage is 2,250 zloty. First-year workers may be paid 80 percent of the minimum wage.

 

For work performed at night, employees are entitled to a special night-shift allowance of 20 percent of the hourly rate of the national minimum wage. An employee whose working time schedule includes at least three hours of night work is a night worker.

Meal Breaks

The employer is entitled to introduce one break at work which is not counted into the working time, not 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 Labour Code.

Special Leave

Maternity Leave

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.

 

Mothers must take a minimum of eight weeks’ maternity leave before returning to work in the case of a stillborn baby. If the child dies within the first eight weeks of maternity leave, the mother has the right to remain on maternity leave until this eight-week period is completed, but in no circumstances must she return to work earlier than seven days after the child’s death. If the child dies after eight weeks, the mother has the right to stay at home for seven days before returning to work.

 

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).

Paternity Leave

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.

 

The employee-father must submit a special request at least seven days before the planned commencement date of his leave. In addition to this standard paternity leave, any untaken maternity leave beyond 14 weeks can be used by the child’s father. Fathers may also take the mother’s maternity leave if she becomes ill and is unable to take care of the child due to hospitalization or if she dies during or after childbirth before the maternity leave is completed. An employee on paternity leave is entitled to paid benefits covered by the public sickness insurance fund operated by the State Social Security Office. Labor Code, 1997 (as amended), art. 182 (Polish); Labor Code Amendment of July 24, 2015 (Polish).

Parental Leave

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 not 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).

Sick Leave

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 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).

Childcare Leave

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).

Special Event Leave

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).

Leave for Parents of Disabled Child

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).

Adoption Leave

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

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 Labour 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 the remuneration.

Last updated on: February 19th, 2019