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End of Employment in Poland

General Guidelines

There are four ways of ending employment:

  1. With the agreement of both parties
  2. A declaration by either the employer or the employee, observing the appropriate notice period
  3. A declaration by either the employer or the employee, without following the proper notice period
  4. After the expiry of the contract term (for probationary or fixed-term contracts)

The declaration from either the employer or the employee needs to be in writing.

If a statement is coming from the employer, regardless if it's with or without notice, it must include information on the employee's right to appeal to the Labour Court. In addition, a statement without notice or one with a notice on an indefinite period contract must include written justification.

Once employment ends, the employer must issue a Certificate of Employment to the employee and deregister them from the Social Security Authority (ZUS). The final payment is due in the next pay cycle, as usual.

Employees who believe that they have been dismissed unfairly or unlawfully can appeal to the Labour Court within 21 days. They can request to be reinstated at work (while being compensated for the time not spent working, up to 3 months' pay) or awarded compensation of up to 3 months' pay. These claims are available to employees when their employment is ended with or without notice by their employer.

With the agreement of the parties

If the employer and employee both agree to end the employment, there are no limitations in terms of who can initiate it, the timing and the type of contract that's being ended.

If an employer is initiating the end of employment, they may have to pay the employee severance pay, especially if they bear no responsibility.

The employer has to pay severance if:

  • They are ending an employee's employment contract either with notice or by agreement between the parties (if it is the employer's initiative)
  • The reasons are attributable to them
  • The employer has at least 20 employees

Termination with notice

Employment ends with a notice when either the employer or employee notifies the other party that they intend to end the working relationship ahead of time.

If an employee wants to resign from employment, they may do so at any time as long as they give notice. They do not need any justification.

An employer can end a contract only if they meet the conditions set out in the Labour Code. Those include providing specific, genuine reasons for the indefinite period employment contract ending. Compensating the employee in lieu of notice is not permitted.

Termination without notice

The employer can end an employment contract without notice, regardless of whether the employee is at fault or not.

The employer can immediately terminate an employee at fault for the following reasons:

  • A severe breach of primary employee duties (while the specifics will be investigated on a case by case, examples include drinking alcohol at work, leaving the workplace without justifiable cause, refusing to carry out an assigned task
  • Committing an apparent crime during the term of the employment contract that an unappealable court sentence has confirmed
  • If the employee, through their fault, loses a license required to perform work in the occupied job position

Employers have one month to end an employment contract without notice where the reason was the employee’s fault, and they found about it.

When deciding to end employment, the employer should consult with a company trade union representing the employee.

The employer can immediately end an employee's contract if they are unable to work due to:

  • An illness lasting more than three months (if the employee has worked for the employer for less than six months)
  • An illness lasting more than the entire duration of employment, or for which they received a sickness benefit or rehabilitation allowance for three months
  • An absence lasting more than one month that is justified on different from the above grounds

The employee can terminate the employment without notice for the following reasons:

  • Refusal to be transferred to another appropriate position after a medical certificate shows the harmful health effect of the current role
  • A severe breach of essential employer obligations. In such a case, the employee is entitled to compensation in the remuneration amount for the notice period

Disciplinary procedure

Termination of an indefinite period contract with notice must state the valid reasons for ending it and is subject to trade union control (if the employee is covered by trade union protection). The reasons for termination must be real and not of a general nature, so the employee can easily understand the grounds for their dismissal.

The Labour Code does not have a catalogue of events that lists justifiable reasons for employee dismissal. However, a Supreme Court ruling outlines some possibilities:

  • Inability to work in a team
  • Repeated and long / short-lasting absences caused by sickness that disturbs work
  • Lack of employee cooperation
  • Improper performance of employee duties, lack of competence required for the position

That said, there are basic requirements that every employer must follow to dismiss someone legally and limit the risk of questioning from the Labour Court, such as:

  • The employer must have a specific, valid and justified reason for the dismissal
  • The reason must be objective and should genuinely exist, as the burden of proof is with the employer
  • The employer must present their reasoning in writing to the employee (it is also a good idea to explain the grounds for the dismissal)

The employee can challenge the investigation's outcome within seven days of receiving the verdict by writing a letter. If the employer still does not amend their decision, the employee has a right to turn to the Labour Court, which they should do within 14 days of receiving the company's final decision.

Unfair Dismissal in Poland

Employee termination protection

Under Polish law, selected employee categories are protected against employment termination with notice, such as:

  • Employees on vacation, maternity leave, parental or unpaid carer's leave
  • Employees on sick leave with a doctor's certificate
  • Employees who have less than four years to retirement
  • Pregnant employees
  • Employees who are members of or have a specific function in a trade union, both at the company or above-company level

Resignation Procedure

Employees who would like to resign must present the employer with a written, dated statement confirming their intention to leave. Employees must respect the appropriate notice period in the employment contract. The notice becomes effective on the last day of the month, regardless of the day, the employee expresses their wish to resign.

Redundancy Pay & Entitlement in Poland

Redundancy rules and regulations apply to companies that employ over twenty employees. Redundancy is viewed as the end of employment by the employer for reasons not attributable to employees, such as reorganisation, restructuring, and closing a particular position. In those cases, employees are entitled to severance pay regardless of whether the redundancy is collective or individual. Employees in companies with less than 20 people are not entitled to severance.

Redundancies are collective if during 30 days they impact:

  • At least ten employees in companies with fewer than 100 employees
  • 10% of employees, if the employer has between 100 and 299 employees
  • Thirty employees, in companies with 300 employees or more

These limits include employees whose employment contracts are terminated by mutual agreement at the employer's initiative if that applies to at least five employees.

An employer making collective redundancies should prove that they applied objective, fair criteria in selecting the employees for dismissal and considered all employees affected by the reasons for redundancy.

The employer must consult with the company trade unions operating in the employer's company about the intention of collective redundancies, and when there is no trade union - with employee representatives.

Employees dismissed due to group dismissal are entitled to a severance payment of:

  • One month's salary if the employee has worked for less than two years
  • Two months' compensation if the employee has worked between two and eight years
  • Three months' payment if the employee has worked for more than eight years

Employers should also pay severance to employees dismissed individually if the reasons are solely attributable to the employer, and they are employing at least 20 people. Examples include the employer's unfavourable financial situation, liquidation of specific jobs, declaration of bankruptcy or liquidation of the employer. The severance pay cannot be more than 15 times the minimum wage (39,000zł in 2020).

Other End of Employment Guideliness

Notice period

The notice period's length depends on the type of contract and employment period with a given employer. During the notice period, the employee receives a regular salary.

Trial period contract
  • Three working days if the contract was signed less than two weeks ago
  • One week, if the contract was signed less than three months ago
  • Two weeks, if the trial period was three months
Fixed and permanent employment contracts
  • Two weeks, if the employee has worked less than six months
  • One month, if the employee has worked for at least six months but less than three years
  • Three months, if the employee has worked for at least three years

The employer may ask the employee not to work during their notice, however, they must continue to pay them.

When the employer is ending the employment, within a notice period of at least two weeks, the employee is entitled to time off to seek other employment. The employer should still pay their salary.

During the notice period, the employer may also require the employee to take their statutory leave. If the employee does not use it, the employer should pay out the equivalent.

Termination is effective at the end of a calendar month if the notice period is specified in months or on a Saturday if specified in weeks.

Severance

Employees are entitled to severance pay according to their length of service:

  • One month's pay for a tenure of fewer than two years
  • Two months' compensation for a tenure ranging between two and eight years
  • Three months' pay for a tenure of over eight years

Companies have to pay severance if employing more than 20 people, and they initiate the termination.

Unemployment funds

Employees who have worked at least 365 days in the last 18 months are entitled to an unemployment allowance for 6 or 12 months if terminated.

The unemployment allowance will be paid for 12 months if the individual fulfils one of the following conditions:

  • The rate of unemployment in the district is higher than 150% of the average country rate
  • The person is over 50 and has worked a minimum of 20 years
  • The person is supporting a child aged 15 or over, and their spouse is also unemployed but cannot claim unemployment allowance anymore

If the individual does not fulfil one of the conditions mentioned above, they will receive the benefit for six months.

Unemployment pay rate

As of June 1 2020, the gross amount rates are as follows

WORK EXPERIENCEFIRST 3 MONTHS OF BENEFIT (PER MONTH)AFTER 3 MONTHS OF BENEFIT (PER MONTH)
Up to 5 years960zł753.90zł
From 5 to 20 years1,200zł943.20zł
Over 20 years1,440zł1,221.40zł

The health insurance contribution and advance payment for income tax are subtracted from these amounts.

To apply for the allowance, the employee needs to register in the Labour Office near them. The employee cannot receive any employment, internship or training offer for the first seven days after registering to be granted the allowance.

Employees with a long work history near retirement age may qualify for a pre-retirement benefit if dismissed from work. They can only apply for this benefit six months after receiving an unemployment allowance. Starting from March 1, 2021, the gross monthly allowance is 1,260.99zł, which will be in place until February 28, 2022.

An employee can get access to a pre-retirement benefit until they reach the legal retirement age. It cannot be granted alongside other benefits, such as a survivor's pension.

This page was last updated on 
22 September, 2022,
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