When employers hire new employees, employees have to present an up-to-date medical certificate confirming there are no health reasons why the employee should not work. Aside from the initial medical examinations, the employer can refer the employee for regular medical check-ups and cover the cost for it.
The employer also bears any other preventative health care costs that may be necessary for work. Medical examinations' cost depends on the number and type of tests requested and how many specialists are involved. For instance, people working with a computer need to have an eye exam.
Initial medical examinations must be given to:
- New hires
- Young employees transferred to other job positions
- Employees transferred to roles with strenuous conditions or ones where there is a risk of exposure to harmful agents
The following workers do not require an initial medical examination:
- Anyone returning to work in the same position or starting a new one under the same conditions within 30 days of finishing their previous job
- Individuals starting a new job within 30 days of the previous one ending. They will still need to provide an up-to-date medical certificate stating that there are no reasons why they should not work under the conditions of the job. The only exception is made for jobs with very hazardous conditions.
Employees have to undergo a periodic medical examination. Their frequency depends on the employee's position and its health hazards. As a general rule, they should be carried out no more than once a year and no less than once every five years. If an employee cannot work for longer than 30 days due to an illness, they should have a medical check-up to determine their ability to perform work in the current position.
Periodic medical examinations and medical check-ups should be conducted within working hours and employees should be paid for that time.
Allowing an employee to work without the required medical examination is an offence punishable by a fine that ranges from 1,000zł to 30,000zł (ca. €220 to €6,650).
The obligation to conduct periodic medical examinations is suspended for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency and 60 days after. Examinations may take place virtually via telemedicine.
Occupational safety and health training
Employees must undergo occupational safety and health training educating them about general job safety laws and guidelines. They should be given company- and job-specific safety instructions (work health conditions, risks and safety requirements). The overall 'initial occupational safety training' program has two components:
- General training - must be conducted by the employer or an organisation providing training in occupational health and safety. On behalf of the employer, this training may be given by an employee who is either from the occupational safety and health service or has completed the relevant occupational safety and health training.
- Toolbox talk - can be performed by an authorised representative (internal) who has in-depth knowledge about the job, the overall environment and its health risks, and the tools needed to minimise them. They must have completed training on the methods of conducting toolbox talk.
The OHS training is not required if the employee is returning to work in the same position they occupied with the employer. As a rule, OHS training should be repeated periodically. Its frequency depends on the work's type and conditions, and some roles such as administrative and office roles are exempt. The employer covers the costs of OHS training.
Failure to implement appropriate health and safety rules in the company, including failure to provide proper OHS training, may lead to a fine of 1,000zł to 30,000zł. In certain situations, if the breach of health and safety rules and regulations at the workplace exposes employees to immediate danger of loss of life or serious harm to health, the individual responsible for the breach may be subject to criminal liability.
Note: All employees must confirm, in writing on the appropriate form, that they have completed OHS training mentioned above.
The obligation to conduct periodic OHS training is suspended for the duration of the COVID-19 state of emergency and 60 days after. Initial OHS training may be conducted virtually.
Company social benefits fund & holiday funds
Also known as ZFŚS (Zakładowy Fundusz Świadczeń Socjalnych), this benefit funds employer's social activities that include: cultural and educational activities, sports and recreation, care of children in nurseries, children's clubs, day carers or nannies, kindergartens and other forms of pre-school education, providing material assistance - in-kind or financial, as well as repayable or non-repayable assistance for housing purposes under the terms of the agreement.
As a rule ZFŚS is mandatory for employers with at least 50 full-time employees in a given year. Employers may opt-out from establishing the Company Social Benefits Fund, but their remuneration regulations must include a provision in case they decide to do it. They should consult an employee representative before drafting the text of the amendment.
The ZFŚS allowance is calculated based on the average number of employees, and it's usually around 37.5% of the average national monthly salary.
The employer must transfer at least 75% of the allowance by 31 May and the full amount by 30 September to the Social Benefits Fund's bank account. Employers can voluntarily pay a holiday subsidy. The maximum amount of vacation pay cannot exceed the amount of the basic allowance defined in art. 5 sec. 2, 2a and 3 of the Act on ZFŚS.
The ZFŚŚ subsidy depends on the life, family and material situation of the person entitled to use it.
Employee capital plans (PPK)
PPK is a mandatory type of retirement savings plan financed jointly by the employee, the employer and the government and operated by a third party financial institution.
The employer pays a basic contribution of 1.5% of the employee's gross remuneration, while the employee contributes 2%. The state gives a welcome package of 250zł and an annual subsidy of 240zł.
PPK is voluntary for employees. However, if they are between 19 and 54 years of age, they are enrolled in PPK by default, which they can opt-out of. If employees are between 55 and 69 years of age, they must apply to join. Employees over 70 years of age cannot join PPK.
Exemption from the PPK for employers: If employers implement an Employee Pension Plan (PPE), which matches the PPK requirements, are exempt from setting up PPK. However, if they cease to fulfil the requirements through the PPE, they will need to implement PPK.
Mandatory benefits for certain groups of employees
Employers, depending on the type of work performed by employees and compliance of employees with other requirements, have to provide certain benefits to specific employees such as:
- Co-finance the purchase of corrective eyeglasses for employees working in front of a monitor for at least half of their working time if an occupational doctor recommends this
- Provide drinks and recovery meals for employees employed in particularly demanding conditions
- Provide work or protective clothing for each employee whose private clothes may be damaged or soiled during the work
- Pay an allowance for work clothes laundry
Additional days off
Some companies give employees 27 to 30 days off per year instead of the statutory 20 days per year. A few companies go a step further and offer an extra day off for an employee's birthday.
Many tech companies reimburse employees for the cost of taking public transport to and from work. Although less common, some companies provide high-level employees with a company car and/or reimburse fuel costs.
Additional PPK contribution
Employers may pay an additional contribution of up to 2.5% of employee's gross salary to each employee who decides to participate in PPK.
In addition to PPK or, in certain situations, instead of PPK, employers offer an additional Employee Pension Plan (PPE). PPE contributions are primarily paid by the employer, with the beneficiary sometimes contributing. To encourage employees to participate, some employers increase their contribution according to their length of service.
Supplementary health insurance
Private medical insurance is becoming more and more common in Poland, especially for senior personnel. Coverage often includes dependents and, sometimes, dental and vision coverage.
There are two ways of offering private healthcare to employees:
- Under a single contract with an Occupational Medical Center of the employer's choice
- By providing an allowance toward a private insurance policy (usually 150-300zł per month)
Note: The employer may finance in full or co-finance the costs of private health insurance. If the employer funds private health insurance in full, this cost is considered income and is subject to standard social contribution payments and tax. However, if the employer co-finances private health insurance costs, this cost is exempt from taxation and social security contributions.
Supplementary life insurance
Life insurance is a very common benefit in the tech industry.
Bonuses for employee's performance and quality of work are common across multiple industries, granted at the discretion of the employer. There are no rules regarding the amounts and forms of the bonus. The bonus's value constitutes income for the employee and is subject to taxation and social security contributions.
Employers who do not meet the criteria of employing 50 full-time employees may establish the ZFŚS voluntarily.
Most tech companies offer employees flexibility in regards to hours and location (home office). More and more companies are starting to offer fully remote options or optional office attendance, while others provide a hybrid model of 2-3 days at the office.
Some companies reimburse employees' mobile expenses (also used for private purposes).
Tech companies often provide employees with the latest hardware and software products when it comes to equipment and also the option to choose their kit.
More and more tech companies offer fitness support, such as gym memberships, to their employees. Multisport membership is a widespread benefit in the industry.
Most tech companies allocate an allowance per employee to be spent on training and conferences desired by the employee. At the same time, others reimburse employees spending on professional development.
Many companies provide a variety of wellness support to employees, such as an Employee Assistance Programme.
Many tech companies offer free in-office lunches (from 1 to 5 days a week), snacks and drinks or lunch cards/vouchers.
Many tech employers provide employees with relocation support, visa sponsorship and sometimes language lessons.
Some companies offer a bonus for employees that refer others to work in the company.
Some startups offer share options to employees.
Business travel insurance
According to Polish law, employers who delegate employees abroad must cover the costs of any medical treatment that occurs. That is why most companies offer business travel insurance covering medicines and transport costs, which is a cheaper solution.