Every employer knows that a successfully completed recruitment process is just the beginning. After this, an obligation arises to sign the relevant contract with the hired person, sent him or her for medical examination and report the employee to the Social Insurance Institution [Polish: ZUS]. In this article, we answer all the questions regarding the formalities that need to be fulfilled in order to hire an employee in Poland in compliance with the law.
Are you an employer or do you plan to become one? You will probably be interested in one of our previous articles concerning ‘Costs of hiring an employee in Poland.’
Preparing and signing the contract of employment in Poland
Firstly, the employer is obliged to sign a contract with the future worker. A decision must be made whether it will be a civil law agreement or a contract of employment.
The minimum requirements of the employment contract are specified in Article 29 Section 1 of the Labour Code. According to these regulations, the employment contract must state:
- parties of the agreement,
- type of agreement,
- date of signing an agreement,
- working conditions and salary.
The employment agreement should be concluded in written, paper form. Failing to preserve this form causes additional obligations for an employer. It is required then to confirm to an employee the terms of agreement with regard to its type, parties and conditions in writing, before allowing him or her to work. Any changes concerning the terms of the employment contract must be made in writing. If the type of contract is not specified, it is assumed that it is concluded for an indefinite time period.
Article 29 section 3 of the Labour Code imposes on employers an obligation to provide information. Within 7 days following the date of concluding an agreement, the employer must inform a worker about:
- the applicable working time regulation
- the frequency of salary payment,
- the holiday leave entitlement,
- the length of the notice period,
- the applicable collective labour agreement.
If the employer is not obliged to create work regulations, he or she additionally needs to inform employees about:
- night work time,
- place, date and time of salary payment,
- the adopted method of confirming the employees’ arrival and presence at work,
- the adopted method of justifying employees’ absence from work.
Hiring an employee in Poland and medical examination
A preventive medical examination before starting work constitutes a statutory duty. According to Article 229, Section 1 of the Labour Code, an employee is subject to mandatory pre-employment medical examination (with some exceptions). The exceptions include, among others, people hired to work for the same employer and for the same position within 30 days after the termination or expiry of the previous employment relationship with this employer.
The examination must be performed by an occupational medicine specialist, on the basis of a referral issued by the employer. The costs are covered by the employer. What is important, an employer who aims to hire an employee in Poland may not allow him or her to work without a valid medical certificate. Its content must confirm that there are no contradictions to working on a given position under conditions specified in the referral. In certain situations, the lack of a valid medical examination certificate may lead to a conclusion that the employer is responsible for the employee’s health damage. The person in charge may be held criminally responsible for such damage.
Employer’s information obligations about threats and their elimination
Employers who want to hire an employee in Poland are obliged to protect his or her health and life by providing them with safe and hygienic working conditions. According to Article 2373, Section 1 of the Labour Code, an employee cannot be allowed to work if he or she does not have sufficient knowledge of the occupational health and safety (OHS) regulations and rules. OHS training takes place during working time and the costs are covered by an employer. The employer is obliged to train the employee in the field of health and safety before allowing him or her to work. It is also necessary to conduct periodic trainings in this area. The employer is also obliged to participate in OHS training. It should be repeated periodically.
The OHS training procedure is determined and specified in detail by the Regulation of The Minister of Economy and Labour of the 27th of July 2004 on training in the field of health and safety at work. The OHS training is conducted in the form of initial and periodic training.
The initial training should consist of general training and workplace training.
During the general training, an employee gets acquainted with the OHS provisions contained in the Labour Code and the work regulations. The employee also gets familiarized with the principles of first aid.
During the OHS training, an employee gets acquainted with methods of performing his work safely, as well as with threats that may occur at a given position.
The OHS training must contain a minimum of 3 lesson periods, each lasting 45 minutes. After completing the training, an employee is obliged to confirm in a written form that he or she was acquainted with the occupational hygienic and safety rules and regulations. Participation in the OHS initial training should be indicated in the employee’s personnel file.
An employer hiring workers in Poland is also required to provide information concerning:
- threats to life and health that may occur at the workplace on the relevant position,
- the rules of behaviour in case of an accident or other health-threatening situations,
- security and preventive actions taken in order to eliminate and limit the possible risks,
- person designated to provide first aid and to undertake actions aimed at firefighting and evacuating employees.
Hiring an employee in Poland and reporting to Social Insurance Institution [Polish: ZUS]
Another obligation of employers who want to hire an employee in Poland is to report workers to the Social Insurance Institution [ZUS]. Moreover, it is also necessary to calculate and pay the social insurance contributions on a monthly basis. Their amount depends on the amount of the employee’s salary.
After signing the employment agreement, an employee hired in Poland is subject to:
- social insurances (retirement, disability, sickness and accident insurance),
- health insurance.
The employer is obliged to submit a ‘ZUS ZUA’ declaration to the Social Insurance Institution [Polish: ZUS] within 7 days following the date of starting the job by a new employee. It can be submitted in the following ways:
- personally (by delivering the form to the competent Social Insurance Institution office),
- by mail,
- electronically (by the use of the ‘PUE ZUS’ platform or by the qualified signature and dedicated systems).
An employer who wants to hire an employee in Poland is also required to pay contributions to the Guaranteed Employment Benefit Fund [Polish FGŚP] and to the Labour Fund. They are calculated based on the amount constituting the basis of assessment for retirement and disability insurance contributions. The method of calculating the contributions is regulated by the Act of the 20th April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions.
How to hire an employee who is a foreigner in Poland?
Since employer constitutes the entity who delegates work duties, he is obliged to ensure foreigners such working conditions that are in compliance with Polish regulations. Therefore, he must conclude with a future employee of other nationality an employment agreement or civil law agreement in a written form. Such agreement must include conditions specified in the work permit or in a declaration on entrusting work to a foreigner.
The terms of employment in Poland of an employee who is a foreigner and who performs work under an employment contract may not be less favourable than those guaranteed by Polish labour law. It relates, among others, to:
- working time regulations,
- holiday leave entitlement
- minimum salary for performed work,
- Occupational hygiene and safety,
- protection of female employees during pregnancy and maternity leave.
An employer who hires a foreigner under the civil law agreement is obliged to ensure him or her a minimum salary as well as safe and hygienic working conditions.
Before starting work, the foreigner must present a valid document entitling him to stay in Poland. The employer is also obliged to verify whether a foreigner has a residence title that enables him or her to perform work on the territory of Poland.
How to hire an employee in Poland – summary
When the employer wants to hire an employee in Poland within the scope of his business activity, he or she must fulfil a number of duties. Their scope depends, among others, on the form of the contract and individual tax and contribution rights. It is also important whether the employee is a Polish citizen, a foreigner from a European Union country or from outside the European Union.