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. 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.
Healthcare and 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.
Apart from the annual leave, the employee is entitled to Sundays and public holidays off work. At present, there are thirteen public holidays in a calendar year.
An employee is entitled to annual, uninterrupted, paid holiday leave, the duration of which, depending on the number of years worked, is twenty or twenty-six days. The holiday leave is granted on the days which, for the employee, are working days. Upon the employee’s application, the holiday leave may be divided into parts. In such a case, however, at least one such part of the holiday leave should last no less than fourteen consecutive calendar days. The employee is entitled to the remuneration for the holiday leave, which he/she would have received had he/she been working.
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 no more than six weeks of the maternity leave before the anticipated date of the birth.
An additional 32-week-long parental leave (resulting in an 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.
Having used up at least 14 weeks of maternity leave after the delivery, the female employee can renounce the right to the remaining part of the maternity leave. In such a case, the remaining, unused time of the maternity leave is awarded to the employee – the father who is raising the child upon his written request. Additionally, the employee – the father who is raising the child has a right to two-week paternity leave.
While an employee is unable to work due to an illness or isolation caused by a contagious disease, lasting in total up to 33 days in a calendar year, and in the case of an employee who has reached 50 years of age, lasting in total up to 14 days in a calendar year, the employee retains the right to 80 per cent of his/ her remuneration. In case of an illness during pregnancy – within the period specified above – an employee retains the right to 100 per cent of her remuneration.
A person classified as a severe or moderate degree of disability is entitled to an additional holiday leave of 10 working days in a calendar year. The right is acquired by the person after working one year and after being classified in one of the above degrees of disability.
Leave for Family Events
The employer is obliged to release an employee from work for a period of:
2 days – in the case of the employee’s wedding, or his/her child’s birth or death and funeral of his/her spouse or child, father, mother, stepfather or stepmother;
1 day – in the case of the employee’s child’s wedding or death and funeral of the employee’s sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, and other individuals maintained by the employee or under his/her direct care.
Pensions: Mandatory and Typically Provided
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 valorisation. 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, the retirement age is 60 years for women and 65 years for men. 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.