Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology

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Scope

The Polish universal social security system includes: retirement pension insurance, disability pension insurance, sickness insurance, and accident insurance.

The insured person is any natural person who is subject to at least one of the social insurances.

In Poland, there are obligatory and voluntary types of insurance and it is possible to continue insurance.

Retirement insurance and disability insurance are obligatory for 
inter alia employees (excluding prosecutors), members of agricultural production cooperatives, contractors, persons carrying out non-agricultural activities (economic activities, authors, artists, freelancers), clergymen, persons receiving unemployment benefits, persons on childcare leaves or persons receiving maternity benefits.

Persons who are not subject to obligatory retirement insurance and disability insurance are free to join the respective scheme.

Sickness insurance is obligatory for persons who are subject to obligatory retirement insurance and disability insurance and who are: employees (excluding prosecutors), members of agricultural production cooperatives and members of machinery rings, and persons who serve alternative military service. Sickness insurance is voluntary (may be joined upon a request) for persons who are subject to obligatory retirement insurance and disability insurance and who, inter alia, carry out non-agricultural activity, perform work under contracts for services or agency contracts.

Accident insurance is obligatory for persons who are subject to obligatory retirement insurance and disability insurance, e.g. employees, contractors, members of agricultural production cooperatives, persons carrying out non-agricultural activity and persons cooperating with them.


Principle of equal treatment

In accordance with the valid legal provisions, the Polish social security system is based on the principle of equal treatment of all insured persons irrespective of their nationality, sex, ethnic origin, marital status and family status. The principle of equal treatment refers to, in particular: the conditions under which persons may be covered by the social security system, the obligation to calculate and pay contributions to social insurance, the calculation of the amount of benefits, the period for paying out benefits and the retained right to benefits.

Thus, the legal provisions do not make the insurance coverage dependent on citizenship, place of residence, place of stay, etc. In terms of the insurance coverage, the following matters are of importance: the fact that an employment contract or any other contract has been concluded with a Polish employer (entity), a company operating in Poland or its branch in Poland, or for an employer from an EU or EFTA Member State, and that these contracts are covered by the Polish social insurance scheme and that work is performed under these contracts in Poland.

Family members of EU and EFTA Member State citizens who are not EU or EFTA Member State citizens and are employed in Poland are not subject to the Polish social insurance legislation if such obligation is excluded under Community law or under an international agreement Poland is a party to.

Under the Polish law, the compliance with the principle of equal treatment on behalf of retirement pension institutions is supervised by courts. Any insured person who is of the opinion that the principle of equal treatment has not been adhered to in their case has the right to claim compensation for social insurance benefits before common courts.


Social insurance contributions

The retirement, disability and sickness contributions are equal for all insured persons and amount to:

  • 52% of the contribution assessment basis – for retirement insurance contributions (they are paid by the contribution payer and the insured person in equal parts – 9.76% each),
  • 8% of the contribution assessment basis – for disability insurance contributions (the contribution payer pays 6.5% and the insured person pays 1.5%),
  • 45% of the contribution assessment basis – for sickness insurance contributions (the entire amount is paid by the insured person).

The accident insurance contributions may have different amounts and are range from 0.4% to 3.6% of the contribution assessment basis depending on the group or type of activity the contribution payer belongs to in accordance with the Classification of Business Activity. The entire amount of the insurance contribution is paid by the employer.


Performance of tasks under the social insurance system

In Poland, the Social Insurance Institution (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych, ZUS) is the primary authority which implements the provisions on social insurance. It is responsible for inter alia collecting social insurance contributions and distributing benefits (including retirement benefits, disability benefits, or sickness and maternity benefits) in the amount and under the principles specified by law. ZUS manages the Social Insurance Fund which is a special state fund established to finance social insurance benefits.

ZUS keeps accounts for all persons who have been registered under the social insurance system. The accounts are opened on the basis of the first registration document submitted by the payer of contributions for the respective insured person. Accounts of insured persons are used for inter alia registering the amounts of the due and paid contributions to retirement insurance, disability insurance, sickness insurance, accident and health insurance, as well as the amounts of the due and paid contributions to open pension funds. By 31 August each year, ZUS is obliged to send to the insured persons born after 31 December 1948 a report on the balance of their account with ZUS as of 31 December of the preceding year. The insured persons can also check the mentioned data with the use of the ZUS Platform of Electronic Services (Platforma Usług Elektronicznych ZUS - PUE) which provides online access to the data stored on the accounts of the insured persons with ZUS.