Social Security in Poland

1. Legal Framework

The principles of social insurance coverage and the rules of establishing social insurance contributions are regulated in the Act on social insurance system under which the employees are subject to mandatory pension, disability, health and accident insurance.

2. Required Contributions

The amounts of contributions to pension, disability and health insurance are expressed in the form of a percentage rate that is equal to all insured as set forth in the Act. The percentage rate for accident insurance varies for individual payers of the contribution and is calculated on the level of occupational risks and the effects of the risks. Depending on the type of contribution, it is financed by the employer and the employee in different proportions. Nevertheless, it is the employer who is obligated to calculate the amount of the contribution to the Social Insurance Agency and deduct it from the employee’s income. The employer is also responsible for punctual transfer of the contributions to the Social Insurance Agency.

3. Insurances

From the contributions made to the social insurance, an employee has a right to sickness benefits, maternity benefits, an attendance allowance, compensation benefits and a funeral allowance and to damages in the event of bodily injury caused by an on-the-job accident. However, health insurance entitles each employee to benefit from public health care centers.

4. Required Maternity/Sickness/Disability/Annual Leaves

The right to maternity leave is connected with giving birth to a child when in the employment relation regardless of the employee’s length of service with the employer. Maternity leave is a right, which can be exercised only in kind.

A female employee has a right to maternity leave of 20 weeks upon giving birth to one child. This leave is extended proportionately in the event of giving birth to more than one child. The female employee can use at least six weeks of the maternity leave before the anticipated date of the delivery. She also has a right to additional maternity leave of six weeks, which the employer grants upon the employee’s petition.

An additional 26-week-long parental leave (resulting in a entirety of a 52 week leave related to childbirth) may be granted to any of the parents. As a general rule, the parent on parental leave will receive 60% of his or her basic allowance.

5. Mandatory and Typically Provided Pensions

The current pension system in Poland consists of three segments generally referred to as the pillars. In the first pillar, the Social Insurance Agency manages the funds. The means are not invested although they are recorded on the insured person’s individual account and are subject to valorization. The second pillar is based on the operations of Open Pension Funds whose task is to trade and multiply the fund. The third pillar consists of the Employee Pension Schemes and Individual Retirement Accounts. The first and the second are mandatory whereas participation in the third one is voluntary.

At present, pursuant to the provisions of the Act on social insurance, the retirement age is 67 years for both men and women. Before 2013, the retirement age was 60 years for women and 65 years for men. The new retirement age is introduced gradually. Only after reaching this age one may apply for the retirement pension. The exceptions are bridge retirement pensions for those working under special conditions or performing work of special character. Such persons have a right to pension benefits at the age of 55 for women and 60 years of age for men.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Poland, please contact A. Sobczyk & Wspólpracownicy
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