Ministry of Economic Development, Labour and Technology

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Unemployment and institutions of the labour market

Unemployment in Poland was in a downward trend between late 2013 and late 2019.

Towards the end of 2019, the unemployment rate was 5.2%, the lowest level in Poland since December 1990. However, the outbreak and rapid spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, and measures taken to curb the fast growth of the incidence rate, caused a supply-demand shock. The economic consequences of the pandemic can be felt almost everywhere around the world, and Poland is no different in this regard.

The unemployment rate was 6.1% at the end of August 2020, 0.9 percentage point more compared with August 2019. Although no drastic increase in the unemployment rate due to the COVID-19 epidemic could be observed between August 202 and August 2019, it is difficult to anticipate how the epidemic will affect unemployment later on in
2020.

Unemployment in Poland has for years been marked by seasonality, growing in months starting and ending the year, and territorially diversified across the country. In August 2020, the unemployment rate remained at a single-digit level in all Polish provinces. The highest rate was reported in Warmińsko-Mazurskie Province (9.9%), and the lowest in Wielkopolskie Province (3.7%).

People from older age groups, poorly educated and without history of employment are among those who remain listed by employment services as unemployed for the longest period of time.

The state's responsibility to promote employment, mitigate the effects of unemployment and enable professional activation is handled by labour market institutions. Actions taken by labour market institutions are aimed at achieving full and productive employment.

These labour market institutions include:

  • public employment services, which consist of employment authorities (the Minister responsible for labour matters, Marshals of Provinces, Heads of Districts, Mayors of cities with the status of a District, and Heads of Provinces) along with District and Province employment offices, the office supporting the Minister responsible for labour matters, and Province Offices;
  • the Voluntary Labour Corps, which is a state unit specialised in activities for youths, particularly the youth threatened by social exclusion, and the unemployed aged 25 and younger;
  • employment agencies, which are non-public organisational units that provide job placement services, recruitment services on behalf of foreign employers, vocational guidance, HR consulting services, and agency services for temporary work;
  • training institutions, which are public and non-public entities that provide off-school education under separate legal provisions;
  • institutions of social dialogue on the labour market, which are organisations and institutions specialised in matters of the labour market, such as trade union organisations, employer and unemployed organisations, as well as non-governmental organisations whose statutory tasks include promotion of employment, mitigation of the effects of unemployment and professional activation;
  • local partnership institutions, which are groups of institutions involved in labour market ventures on a contractual basis.

Being part of the public employment services, Province and District Employment Offices assist the unemployed and job seekers in obtaining appropriate jobs, as well as employers in hiring appropriate personnel.

District Employment Offices (powiatowy urząd pracy) pay out benefits for the unemployed and acquire and manage funds for prevention of unemployment and actions on their local labour markets.

Province Employment Offices (wojewódzki urząd pracy) are institutions competent for accepting and examining applications from the unemployed for issuing documents related to unemployment benefits. They confirm insurance and employment periods completed in Poland to enable submission of the related data to authorities in other EU and EFTA Member States so that citizens can apply for unemployment benefits there. Province Employment Offices issue documents which entitle to transfer a Polish unemployment benefit to another EU or EFTA Member State. They also issue decisions on the right to unemployment benefits when the relevant employment period in a foreign country (an EU or EFTA Member State) has impact on the acquisition, amount or period of receiving the benefit.

Polish public employment services have been a member of the European Employment Services (EURES) since 1 May 2004. In addition, the Volunteer Labour Corps joined the network on 1 January 2015. Province and District Employment Offices and the Voluntary Labour Corps carry out activities within the EURES network, in particular international job placement services complete with advisory services on job mobility on the European labour market. Job placement services within the EURES network may also be provided by entities accredited by the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy. The EURES personnel, i.e. EURES advisers and assistants at Province Employment Offices and the Voluntary Labour Corps, and EURES customer advisers (recruitment agents) at District Employment Offices, assist EU and EFTA Member State citizens in finding appropriate jobs in Poland.


Registering as an unemployed person

To register as an unemployed person:

  • use the electronic registration system at a District Employment Office; the system is addressed to all people who have access to the Internet. You can choose either of the following options:
  1. The so-called pre-registration, in which you fill in an electronic application to be registered as an unemployed person. The form is available online on electronic services portal of Employment Offices. When completed, the application must be sent the competent District Employment Office.

After the required data has been submitted, the District Employment Office schedules an appointment for you within 7 working days to deliver all documents must be registered and to complete the registration process. If you fail to appear on the date set by the Office, the data you have submitted is deleted from the its computer system;

or

  1. Electronic registration at a District Employment Office, in which you:
  • fill in an electronic application form to be registered as an unemployed person. The form is available online on electronic services portal of Employment Offices,
  • attach documents issued electronically and scans of documents issued in paper form, as required for registration,
  • sign your application and attached documents as well as a declaration
    that the data you have provided is true and that you have been familiarised with the conditions for retaining the status of an unemployed person (which you submit (subject to criminal liability for making false statements) with a qualified electronic signature, a trusted signature or your personal signature, and
  • send your application with the declaration and attachments to the competent District Employment Office,

or

  • visit the District Employment Office of your place of permanent or temporary residence; if you have not registered your place of residence, visit the District Employment Office within whose operating area you are currently staying (a list of District Employment Offices can be found on the Public Employment Services Vortal in the section "Go to your Office"/"Przejdź do swojego urzędu").

You will acquire the status of an unemployed person on the day you:

  • visit your District Employment Office – after you have authenticated your data with your handwritten signature and submitted a declaration that the data provided is true and that you have read the conditions for retaining the status of an unemployed person (the declaration is made in the presence of an officer of the District Employment Office and you may be subject to criminal liability if the declaration is false); or
  • submit your electronic application – after signing it as well as the attached documents and the declaration referred to in Point 1 (Subject to criminal liability for making false statements) with a qualified electronic signature, a trusted signature or your personal signature.

Employment support provided by Employment Offices

Persons who register with District Employment Offices as unemployed persons or job seekers may use various forms of assistance provided by the Offices in accordance with applicable provisions of law.

In the first place, such persons may receive appropriate job offers as part of job placement services provided by Employment Offices. If there are no appropriate job offers, the Employment Office will provide assistance to facilitate finding a job as part of its vocational guidance services.

Unemployed persons and job seekers may also receive assistance in their further professional development, in particular through different types of training.

Moreover, there is a range of instruments dedicated to the unemployed which enable them to:

  • gain professional experience through referrals to internships or vocational preparation for adults conducted by employers,
  • take up subsidised employment,
  • start a business, or
  • take initiative in the field of professional activation through a system of vouchers which guarantee that the Employment Office will cover the expenses related to training, internship or employment, including outside of the current place of residence, provided that they are taken on the unemployed person's initiative.

An unemployed person is offered various forms of professional activation by his/her District Employment Office which are included in the Individual Action Plan.

EU and EFTA Member State citizens, as well as their family members who are not EU or EFTA Member State citizens, registered with a District Employment Office may receive assistance under the same conditions as Polish citizens.


Unemployment benefit

A persons who registers with a District Employment Office as an unemployed person may receive financial support in the form of an unemployment benefit.

The right to receive such a benefit is granted to persons who had worked for 365 days in the 18 months immediately preceding the registration at a District Employment Office (or provide evidence that they have completed 365 days of other "eligible" period6).

The right to the unemployment benefit is established on the basis of documents submitted during the registration process.  The right to the unemployment benefit is valid for 180 days from the date of registration (or 365 days in special situations listed in the relevant Act).

As a rule, to receive the unemployment benefit in Poland you must meet the following requirements:

  • you must be registered with a District Employment Office as an unemployed person;
  • there are no suitable offers of job, internship, vocational preparation for adults, training, intervention work or public work;
  • you can provide evidence that in the 18 months immediately preceding the date of your registration, you completed at least 365 days of:
  1. employment for which you received remuneration in the amount equal to at least the minimum remuneration for work which is subject to the obligation to pay contributions to the Labour Fund,
  2. working under a tolling contract for which you received an income equal to at least the minimum remuneration for work,
  3. providing services under an agency contract, contract of mandate or other form of a contract for services which is subject to the provisions of the Civil Code on awarding such contracts or cooperating in their execution (the basis of assessment of social insurance contributions and contributions to the Labour Fund must be the amount equal to at least the minimum monthly remuneration for work),
  4. paying social insurance contributions from non-agricultural activity or cooperation (the basis of assessment of social insurance contributions and contributions to the Labour Fund must be the amount equal to at least the minimum remuneration for work),
  5. working during the period of provisional detention or when serving a prison sentence (the basis of assessment of social insurance contributions and contributions to the Labour Fund must be the amount equal to at least the minimum remuneration for work),
  6. working for an agricultural production cooperative, a cooperative of agricultural machinery rings or a cooperative of agricultural services while being a member of that cooperative (the basis of assessment of social insurance contributions and contributions to the Labour Fund must be the amount equal to at least the minimum remuneration for work),
  7. paying contributions to the Labour Fund in the amount of 9.75% of the average remuneration for each month of work in connection with employment or performing any other paid work in another EU or EFTA Member State,
  8. employment abroad if you have come to Poland as a repatriate,
  9. employment, service or any other paid work for which you received remuneration or income which was subject to the obligation to pay contributions to the Labour Fund.

The period during which the unemployment benefit may be claimed depends mainly on the situation on the local labour market and is equal to:

-       180 days – for the unemployed who reside in a given District while claiming the unemployment benefit, provided that the unemployment rate in that area did not exceed 150% of the average unemployment rate for the entire country as of 30 June of the year preceding the day on which the right to the unemployment benefit was acquired,

-      365 days – for the unemployed who:

  • reside in a given District while claiming the unemployment benefit, provided that the unemployment rate in that area exceeded 150% of the average unemployment rate for the entire country as of 30 June of the year preceding the day on which the right to the unemployment benefit was acquired
  • are 50 or older and have completed a period of at least 20 years entitling to receive the unemployment benefit, or
  • support at least one child aged 15 or younger, and whose spouse is also unemployed and has lost the right to the unemployment benefit due to its expiry (after the date the unemployed person acquired the right to the benefit), or
  • are single parents who bring up at least one child aged 15 or younger.

The amount of the unemployment benefit depends mainly on the completed period of employment and amounts to:

-       basic benefit (100%) – for the unemployed who have between 5 and 20 years of employment history:

  • PLN 1200(ca. EUR 276) a month for the first 90 days after acquiring the right
    to the benefit,
  • PLN 942.30 (ca. EUR 216) a month throughout the rest of the period in which the right to the benefit is held;

-       reduced benefit (80% of the basic benefit) – for the unemployed who have below 5 years of employment history:

  • PLN 960 (ca. EUR 221) a month for the first 90 days after acquiring the right
    to the benefit,
  • PLN 753.90 (ca. EUR 174) a month throughout the rest of the period in which the right to the benefit is held;

-       increased benefit (120% of the basic benefit) – for the unemployed who have
at least 20 years of employment history:

  • PLN 1440  (ca. EUR 331) a month for the first 90 days after acquiring the right
    to the benefit,
  • PLN 1,130.80 (ca. EUR 260) a month throughout the rest of the period in which the right to the benefit is held.

The period required to acquire the right to the unemployment benefit in Poland includes also periods of employment completed in other EU/EFTA Member States.

The unemployment benefit acquired in another EU or EFTA Member State may be transferred to Poland.

 

 


6 For full information visit http://psz.praca.gov.pl/-/14263-zasilek-dla-osob-bezrobotnych