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Discover everything you need to know about Poland

Hire in Poland at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Poland

Polish Zloty
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
40 hours/week

Overview in Poland

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Poland, centrally located in Europe, shares borders with several countries and features a diverse landscape from the North European Plain to the Carpathian and Sudeten mountains. It has a temperate climate and a rich biodiversity. Historically, Poland experienced periods of great cultural and scientific advancement, notably during the Jagiellonian dynasty, but also faced partitions and foreign dominance until regaining independence in 1918. Post-World War II, Poland was under Soviet influence until the fall of communism in 1989, leading to significant economic and democratic reforms.

Today, Poland is one of the largest economies in Central Europe with a strong manufacturing sector and a growing service industry. It has transitioned from a centrally planned economy to a market-driven one, joining NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. The population is predominantly Polish and Roman Catholic, with a rich cultural scene influenced by both tradition and modernity.

The workforce is skilled, with an increasing share of college graduates, and sectors such as IT, healthcare, and engineering are in high demand. Immigration, particularly from Ukraine, has helped alleviate labor shortages. The service sector dominates employment, but manufacturing and agriculture are also significant. Workplaces tend to be hierarchical, though modern influences are fostering more participative and less formal environments.

Emerging sectors with growth potential include ICT, renewable energy, e-commerce, and biotechnology, driven by skilled professionals and government support. Poland's strategic location and robust educational system continue to play crucial roles in its economic development and sectoral growth.

Taxes in Poland

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In Poland, employers have various tax obligations including social security contributions, income tax withholding, and VAT responsibilities. Here are the key points:

  • Social Security Contributions: Employers must contribute to pension, disability, sickness, and accident insurance based on the employee's gross salary. The rates are 9.76%, 6.5%, 2.45%, and an average of 1.67% respectively.

  • Labor Fund and Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund: Contributions are required at rates of 2.45% and 0.1% of the employee's gross salary, respectively.

  • Income Tax: Employers withhold income tax based on a progressive system and must remit these withholdings by the 20th of the following month.

  • VAT Responsibilities: Standard VAT rate is 23%, with reduced rates for specific services and exemptions for others like healthcare and education. VAT returns and payments are generally due by the 25th of the month following the reporting period.

  • R&D Tax Relief and Innovation Box (IP Box): Businesses can deduct 200% of certain R&D expenses and benefit from a reduced tax rate of 5% on income derived from self-developed IP under the IP Box scheme.

For detailed guidance, employers should refer to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) and the Polish Ministry of Finance.

Leave in Poland

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  • Annual Leave in Poland: Employees are entitled to a paid annual leave, with 20 days for those with less than 10 years of work experience and 26 days for those with 10 or more years. Education periods count towards work experience. Leave must be used within the calendar year, with unused days carried over only until September 30 of the following year.

  • Part-Time and First-Year Employees: Part-time employees receive proportional leave based on their hours. New employees accrue leave at a rate of 1/12th per month during their first year.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers must ensure employees take their annual leave and set the leave schedule, considering employee preferences but can refuse requests based on operational needs. Employment cannot be terminated while an employee is on vacation.

  • Public Holidays: Poland observes several public holidays, including New Year's Day, Easter, Labor Day, Constitution Day, and Christmas, among others. These are non-working days, and no additional day off is granted if a holiday falls on a weekend.

  • Other Types of Leave: Polish labor laws also provide for sick leave, maternity leave (with varying durations based on the number of children), parental leave, paternity leave, care leave for dependents, and on-demand leave for urgent personal matters.

Benefits in Poland

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Polish law ensures a robust social security system that includes mandatory contributions from employers to support their employees' financial and medical needs. Key components include:

  • Social Insurance: This encompasses pension, disability, sickness, and work accident insurance, providing support for retirees, disabled employees, and those injured on the job.
  • Employee Capital Plans (PPK): Introduced in 2019, these mandatory retirement savings plans require contributions from both employers and employees.
  • Occupational Health and Safety: Employers must conduct medical examinations and provide safety training to ensure a safe workplace.
  • Paid Time Off: Employees are entitled to paid sick leave and a minimum of 20 vacation days annually, which increases after 10 years of service.
  • Supplementary Benefits: Employers may offer additional benefits such as private medical and life insurance, employee assistance programs, flexible working arrangements, extended parental leave, and financial support for education and wellness.

Additionally, the Polish healthcare system includes mandatory public health insurance managed by the National Health Fund (NFZ), with optional private insurance for quicker and broader service access. Retirement planning features both mandatory public pension contributions to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) and optional private savings through PPKs and private pension plans (PPE), enhancing retirement security for employees.

Workers Rights in Poland

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Polish Labour Law outlines specific regulations for terminating employment, ensuring a balance between employee protection and employer flexibility. Here are the key aspects:

  • Lawful Grounds for Dismissal: Employers must have valid reasons for termination, categorized into employee-related reasons (e.g., misconduct, loss of qualifications, long-term sickness), employer-related reasons (e.g., economic changes), and external factors (e.g., company liquidation).

  • Notice Requirements: Notice periods vary depending on the contract type, ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months. Written justification for dismissals is required, particularly for conduct or performance issues.

  • Severance Pay: Mandatory in cases where termination is due to employer-related reasons, with the amount based on the employee's length of service.

  • Anti-Discrimination Laws: Discrimination based on characteristics like sex, age, disability, and others is prohibited. Victims can seek redress through the Commissioner for Human Rights or initiate civil proceedings.

  • Work Hours and Rest: The standard workweek is 40 hours, with provisions for flexible schedules and mandatory rest periods.

  • Ergonomic and Safety Regulations: Employers are responsible for providing a safe and ergonomic work environment, including risk assessments, safe work practices, and necessary training.

  • Employee Rights: Employees have rights to refuse unsafe work, access safety information, and participate in health and safety matters.

  • Enforcement Agencies: Agencies like the National Labour Inspectorate and Social Insurance Institution enforce health and safety regulations.

Overall, Polish Labour Law emphasizes fair employment practices, safety, and non-discrimination in the workplace.

Agreements in Poland

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In Poland, employment agreements are governed by the Polish Labour Code and can be categorized into two main types: Employment Contracts (Umowa o pracę) and Civil Law Contracts.

Employment Contracts (Umowa o pracę) include:

  • Contract for a Trial Period: Allows up to a three-month evaluation of an employee's suitability, with possible extension under specific conditions.
  • Fixed-Term Contract: Used for employment with a predetermined end date, typically up to 33 months, suitable for seasonal or project-based work.
  • Indefinite-Term Contract: Offers the most job security with no fixed end date, providing strong employee protections.

Civil Law Contracts are less formal and provide fewer benefits:

  • Contract for Specific Work (Umowa o dzieło): Focuses on completing a specific task or project, ending upon task completion without mandatory social security contributions.
  • Mandate Contract (Umowa zlecenie): Involves performing ongoing tasks with more flexibility and varying social security obligations.

Key Elements of Employment Agreements include:

  • Identification of parties involved.
  • Specification of contract type and duration.
  • Details on remuneration and benefits.
  • Description of work duties, schedule, and workplace.
  • Termination clauses, including notice periods and conditions.

Probationary Periods:

  • Can last up to three months, with possible extension to six months for managerial roles.
  • Allow both employer and employee to terminate the contract during this period with shorter notice.

Additional Clauses:

  • Confidentiality Clauses: Protect the employer's sensitive information, requiring specificity and reasonableness in scope and duration.
  • Non-Compete Clauses: Restrict post-employment competitive activities but must be reasonable and compensate the employee during the restriction period.

Employers are advised to consult legal professionals to ensure compliance with the Polish Labour Code when drafting employment agreements.

Remote Work in Poland

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The new regulations provide a comprehensive framework for remote work, addressing various aspects such as employee choice, employer responsibilities, and technological infrastructure. Key points include:

  • Employee Choice and Location: Employees can request remote work within Poland or the EU, with employers retaining the right to approve these requests based on job nature.

  • Technological Infrastructure: Employers must provide necessary equipment and tools, and ensure reliable communication platforms are available for remote work.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers are tasked with reimbursing reasonable expenses, ensuring health and safety at remote workspaces, and promoting work-life balance. This includes respecting employees' rights to disconnect and offering part-time work options with pro-rated benefits.

  • Flexitime and Job Sharing: Employees may request flexible working hours or engage in job sharing arrangements, with employers required to provide necessary equipment and consider operational needs when approving such requests.

  • Data Protection under GDPR: Employers must ensure lawful data processing, minimize data collection, secure employee data, and maintain transparency. Employees have rights to access, rectify, or erase their personal data.

  • Best Practices for Data Security: Recommendations include securing work devices, encrypting data, implementing access controls, and training employees on data security.

These regulations aim to facilitate a productive and secure remote working environment while balancing the needs and rights of both employers and employees.

Working Hours in Poland

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In Poland, the Polish Labour Code sets the standard working hours with a daily maximum of 8 hours and a weekly average not exceeding 40 hours over a five-day workweek. The reference period for calculating the average is typically up to four months. Exceptions allow for daily working hours to be extended to 13 hours, with a weekly average not surpassing 48 hours within the reference period. Annually, overtime is capped at 150 hours but can be adjusted through agreements.

Overtime Compensation:

  • 50% extra pay for overtime on weekdays, weekends, and public holidays within the regular schedule.
  • 100% extra pay for overtime during nights, Sundays, public holidays, and for days off given in exchange for working on these days.

Rest Periods:

  • Employees must have a daily rest of at least 11 consecutive hours.
  • Weekly rest should be at least 35 hours, typically including a Sunday.
  • Employees working six hours a day are entitled to a paid 15-minute break, with the possibility of an additional unpaid break up to 60 minutes.

Night Work:

  • Night time is defined as any 8-hour period between 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM.
  • Night workers receive a 20% hourly rate increase for hours worked during this period.

Weekend Work:

  • A minimum of 35 hours of uninterrupted rest is required each week, including a Sunday.
  • With written consent, a "weekend working time system" can be established, allowing for up to 12-hour shifts on weekends and public holidays.

These regulations ensure worker well-being by limiting work hours and providing adequate compensation and rest periods.

Salary in Poland

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Understanding market competitive salaries in Poland is essential for both employers and employees. Key factors influencing these salaries include industry, experience, education, location, and company size. For instance, IT and finance sectors generally offer higher salaries than hospitality or education, and salaries are typically higher in major cities like Warsaw and Krakow. Additionally, having more experience or relevant educational qualifications can significantly increase one's salary.

To research competitive salaries, one can use salary survey websites, job postings, and consult with recruitment agencies. Poland also has a nationally mandated minimum wage, currently set at PLN 4,242 as of January 1, 2024, with annual adjustments based on economic factors. Exceptions allow for 80% payment of the minimum wage to certain new employees in their first year.

Employers in Poland often offer bonuses and allowances to attract and retain talent, including performance-based bonuses, social benefits like meal vouchers and transportation allowances, and additional allowances for overtime and shift differentials. The payroll system in Poland mandates monthly salary payments by the 10th of the following month, with strict legal deadlines and regulations ensuring compliance.

Termination in Poland

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In Poland, the Labour Code specifies different notice periods for terminating employment contracts based on the type of contract and the length of service. For indefinite contracts, notice periods are 2 weeks for less than 6 months of service, 1 month for at least 6 months, and 3 months for at least 3 years. Probationary contracts have shorter notice periods ranging from 3 working days to 2 weeks, depending on the probation duration.

Employers can reduce the 3-month notice period to 1 month with compensation for the remainder. Notice periods can also be mutually shortened post-termination notice without requiring compensation. Severance pay is mandated in cases of collective redundancies, with amounts based on service length, and is capped at 15 times the national minimum wage.

Termination methods include mutual agreement without notice, with notice based on seniority, without notice for serious misconduct, and automatic expiration for fixed-term contracts. Employers must provide written justification for terminations with notice and cannot unilaterally reduce severance pay in collective redundancies. Special protections are in place for certain employee groups, and employees are entitled to time off for job searching during their notice period.

Freelancing in Poland

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In Poland, distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor is essential due to differences in rights, benefits, and tax obligations. Misclassification can result in legal and financial consequences.

Key Differentiators:

  • Control vs. Autonomy: Employees are under the employer's control regarding work schedules and methods, whereas independent contractors have more freedom and usually provide their own tools.
  • Integration vs. Independence: Employees are integrated into the company's operations, while independent contractors maintain a distinct separation, often serving multiple clients.
  • Compensation and Benefits: Employees receive regular salaries and benefits, while independent contractors negotiate their own fees and handle their own taxes and social security.

Contractual and Legal Considerations:

  • Written Agreements: Though not mandatory, they are advisable for clarity in independent contractor relationships.
  • Contract Structures: Common types include fixed-fee, hourly rate, and performance-based contracts.
  • Negotiation Practices: Effective negotiation involves clear definitions of work scope, fair rate setting, and explicit payment terms.
  • Intellectual Property (IP): Freelancers typically own the IP created during their projects, but contracts should specify ownership and usage rights.

Industry Applications:

  • Common Industries: IT, creative sectors, marketing, and construction frequently utilize independent contractors.

Tax and Insurance:

  • Tax Obligations: Independent contractors must manage their own taxes, with options between general and flat tax rates.
  • Insurance Options: While optional, insurance such as social security, health, professional indemnity, and public liability can offer significant protection.

Understanding these distinctions and legal frameworks is crucial for freelancers and businesses engaging with independent contractors in Poland.

Health & Safety in Poland

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  • Foundational Laws and Bodies: Poland's occupational health and safety (OHS) system is based on the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and the Labour Code, with the National Labour Inspectorate serving as the primary enforcement body.

  • Employer Responsibilities: Employers are required to conduct risk assessments, provide OHS training, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical examinations, and report work-related accidents and illnesses.

  • Employee Rights: Employees in Poland have the right to refuse unsafe work, be informed about workplace hazards, and participate in OHS decisions.

  • Specific Regulations: Various specific regulations cover aspects like chemical use, construction safety, machine requirements, and fire protection.

  • Enforcement and Oversight: The National Labour Inspectorate, along with the National Sanitary Inspectorate, oversees and enforces OHS regulations, ensuring compliance with EU directives and international standards.

  • Risk Assessment and Preventive Measures: Employers must identify hazards, assess risks, and implement preventive and protective measures, including technical and organizational measures and PPE.

  • Occupational Health Surveillance: Mandatory medical examinations are required for employees based on job hazards.

  • Training and Information: Employers must provide safety training and clear information about workplace risks and protective measures.

  • Incident Investigation and Reporting: Employers must investigate all workplace incidents and report serious accidents and occupational diseases to the National Labour Inspectorate.

  • Employee Participation: Employees have the right to consultation on OHS matters, with trade unions playing a significant role in monitoring and advocating for better OHS practices.

  • Inspection Procedures: Inspections by the Labour Inspectorate are comprehensive, including unannounced visits, document reviews, and interviews, with no standardized schedule but based on risk profiles and accident history.

  • Follow-up and Appeals: Employers must address issues identified during inspections within specified timeframes, with rights to appeal inspector decisions.

  • Accident Investigation: Employers are responsible for forming an investigation team for workplace accidents to establish causes and prevent future incidents.

  • Compensation: Employees injured due to workplace accidents are entitled to compensation through the Social Insurance Institution, covering various benefits from medical costs to survivor benefits.

Dispute Resolution in Poland

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Labor courts in Poland, part of the common court system, handle disputes related to employment such as wage issues, termination of employment, and workplace discrimination at two levels: District and Regional Courts. Cases start at the district level, with potential appeals at the regional level. Additionally, arbitration panels offer a less formal dispute resolution method, primarily for interpreting collective labor agreements.

Key legal sources include the Polish Labor Code and the Code of Civil Procedure. Compliance audits and inspections are crucial in Poland, conducted by various regulatory bodies like the Supreme Audit Office and the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, to ensure adherence to laws and regulations across different sectors.

Whistleblower protections in Poland are currently limited but are being strengthened through the implementation of the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive. This aims to provide robust safeguards against retaliation.

Poland adheres to international labor standards, having ratified several ILO conventions that influence its domestic labor legislation, such as non-discrimination and minimum wage laws. Compliance is monitored by national and international bodies, with ongoing challenges including the gender pay gap and the rise of insecure employment forms.

Cultural Considerations in Poland

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  • Direct Communication: Polish workplace culture values directness and sincerity, with people often expressing their opinions clearly and frankly. This approach is tempered with respect, especially towards superiors, where titles are commonly used and criticism may be delivered indirectly.

  • Formality in Initial Interactions: A formal communication style is preferred in Polish workplaces, particularly in initial meetings with superiors or clients. Professionalism is emphasized through business attire and punctuality, with a gradual shift towards informality as relationships develop.

  • Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal cues in Polish business culture are subdued, with limited facial expressions and a quieter demeanor. Eye contact is important but should not be overly prolonged.

  • Negotiation Style: Polish negotiators prioritize trust and prefer a slow, deliberate process. They tend to be direct but patient, often requiring detailed analysis and discussions to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

  • Hierarchical Structure: Polish businesses typically have a tall hierarchy with clear lines of authority. Decisions are generally made by senior management following a consultative approach with subordinates.

  • Leadership: Leaders in Polish workplaces are expected to be decisive and knowledgeable, often adopting a directive style combined with transformational leadership qualities.

  • National Holidays: Poland observes several statutory holidays such as New Year's Day, Easter, Labour Day, and Christmas, during which most businesses are closed. These holidays are important for planning in the business context.

Overall, understanding these cultural nuances and structural norms is crucial for effective communication and negotiation in Polish business environments.

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