Immigration. Travel. Living.

Social rights in Poland

In practice, the Polish social insurance system is mainly served by two institutions – the Social Insurance Board (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych – ZUS) and the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia – NFZ).

Contract for foreigners

To be eligible for social benefits, foreigners must be legally employed based on an employment contract. A foreigner can perform work in Poland based on various contracts.

What kind of contract is concluded will determine what contributions the employee must pay for social insurance.

  • Employment contract (umowa o pracę)

Persons who are employed based on an employment contract have to pay contributions for all types of social insurance (i.e., pension insurance, insurance for disability, illness, and accident), as well as health insurance.

  • Order agreement (umowa zlecenie)

Persons who perform work solely based on a mandate agreement must pay social insurance contributions (pension insurance, disability and accident insurance) and health insurance contributions. But health insurance for them is voluntary (however, if more than one contract of order is concluded at the same time, these conditions change).

  • Contract agreement (umowa o dzieło) 

Employees who have entered into a work contract are not required to pay social and/or health insurance contributions. Types of social benefits in Poland Contributions paid to ZUS are intended to finance various social security benefits, in particular:

Pension (еmerytura) in Poland

Disability payments (renta) are funded from pension or disability contributions.

Polish State Pension Men in Poland can expect to receive a good pension after twenty years of work, and women have the right to receive increased benefits after fifteen years of work.

The average pension in Poland is approximately equal to 40% of the average salary. 

The Polish pension system today is as follows: 

  • Partial pension payments;
  • Full retirement benefit after 40 years of work experience;
  • Benefits for disabled people and similar categories of citizens.

The pension fund in Poland is referred to as ZUS. There it is considered to be the Pension Insurance Management Service. This fund is also responsible for government health insurance and other types of personal insurance. Pensioners live pretty well in Poland.

On certain days, shops arrange discount grocery sales for all retirees. Free excursions and events are held for them, and clubs of interest are created. All working citizens and legal immigrants in a given country are required to pay pension contributions.

Poles divide these contributions into the following categories:

  • Retirement – 19% of salary;
  • Disability insurance – 8% of earnings;
  • Medical care – about 3% of income;

The employer pays for accident insurance – up to 3.6%. The complex insurance system covers many aspects of the life of citizens, allowing them to feel social security in the event of disability or retirement.

A pension in Poland is calculated depending on the average age of a person’s life established by law, as well as on the amount of his pension contributions. Polish pensions are indexed for inflation. In the event of the death of the recipient, his relatives acquire the right to one guaranteed payment. Poles can receive a partial pension even before the retirement date.

It will be only 50% of the possible full payment amount. When the early retirement recipient approaches the retirement age, the amount of his contributions will be reduced by the amount of money already received. 

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How do foreigners receive their pensions in Poland? 

With those countries that have a mutual pension insurance agreement with Poland, there are no problems when citizens move.

It’s just that the full length of service in another state is taken into account in the new place, and pension payments are summed up. If there is no such agreement with the country from which the immigrant came, then the issue of the pension is decided on an individual basis. Here it is worth contacting the Polish Pension Fund for clarification. 

The law on raising the retirement age to 67 years, adopted by the government before the next elections, raised a wave of indignation among the population of the state. People actively protested and the retirement age was lowered. 

Now women in Poland can go on a well-deserved rest from work at the age of 60, and men go on rest at 65. The retirement age for retirement in old age in Poland for men and women is significantly different.

By the way, after the onset of the pension corridor, a Polish citizen can continue his labor activity, but this entails a decrease in his due payments. Such a pension reform is considered unprecedented against the background of a general rise in pension qualification around the world. Although in Poland, as in the whole of Europe, society is developing according to an aging type, they can still afford to lower the retirement age rather than raise it.

Benefits in case of illness and maternity

Funded by sickness contributions. In case of illness or maternity, the payment of insurance premiums guarantees the receipt of the following benefits: Help in the event of illness (zasiłek chorobowy) is intended for a person who has become disabled due to illness during the validity of the illness insurance.

It ranges from 70% to 100% of the average salary for the last 12 months before the illness. The maximum benefit period is 182 days (including the first 33 or 14 days funded by the employer/customer as sick pay).

Rehabilitation assistance (świadczenie rehabilitacyjne)

It is intended for a person who has exhausted the opportunity to receive sickness benefit (that is, after the expiration of the period of 182 days), but in the future is disabled, and further treatment or rehabilitation provides for the return of working capacity. Such assistance is paid for a maximum of 12 months.

A lump-sum payment (“becikowe”) is a one-time financial aid for PLN 1,000, paid to parents whose net income per person in the household does not exceed PLN 1,922. The condition for receiving this payment is registration with a medical institution from the 10th week of pregnancy.

The application for receipt of the payment must be submitted at the relevant Gmina Office or the City Social Assistance Center, in the territory of which the given family lives, within a year from the date of the child’s birth. When applying, medical documents must be submitted confirming that from the 10th week of pregnancy the mother of the child was under the supervision of an obstetrician-gynecologist or midwife.

Maternity assistance (zasiłek macierzyński) is paid to persons who have given birth to a child or adopted a child under the age of 7 during the sickness insurance period.

The payment period depends on the number of children born during one birth and lasts from 20 weeks (provided that one child is born) to 37 weeks (provided that five or more children are born during the same birth). Care allowance (zasiłek opiekuńczy) is paid for 60 days a year in connection with caring for a healthy child under 8 years old or for a sick child under 14 years old. In the case of caring for another sick family member – for a maximum of 14 days a year.

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Payments due to an industrial accident or occupational disease

Funded from accident contributions paid exclusively by the employer. Accidental benefits are paid to workers and performers who are injured as a result of an accident during work or occupational illness.

Unemployment benefit (zasiłek dla bezrobotnych)

Funded from contributions to the Labor Fund paid by the employer. Foreigners who have lost their jobs have the right to register with the Labor Office as unemployed. The period for receiving unemployment benefits is from 6 to 12 months, and the amount of payments depends on the length of service.

Public health care

Funded from health insurance premiums. Public health care can be used by persons who have been legally employed in Poland and have paid mandatory health insurance contributions, as well as their family members. This means that they can use free medical care of public medical institutions, as well as non-public ones, provided that this medical institution has signed an agreement with the National Health Fund. Moreover, each insured person covers family members with health insurance if they do not have it (for example, does not work).

Persons not covered by compulsory health insurance can voluntarily insure. To this end, an application must be made to the National Health Fund in the respective provincial department and a monthly fee must be paid, the amount of which changes quarterly. Now, this amount is 395.15 zlotys. The condition for voluntary medical insurance in NFZ is the fact of legal residence in Poland (visa, work permit, etc.) and the conclusion of an appropriate agreement with NFZ.

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