Health Insurance, Sick Leave and Parental Leave in Poland (Updated 2020)

The health system in Poland is free. But who pays for your employee when get sick or pregnant? In this article, we explain when and for how long an employer takes health insurance cost on themselves, what are the sick leave and parental allowances, as well as give the cultural overview.

Dramatic sky over the Gdansk Pier, Poland

Plane Team

Published on October 9, 2020

Health Insurance 🏥 (Medical, Dental, Vision)

Every employee on an employment contract has national insurance (NFZ) that allows using a medical, dental and vision help for free.But the reality shows that for an appointment at the specialist doctor employee would have to wait weeks or months. Private health insurance packages are gaining a lot of popularity, and the majority of IT companies and startups offer those packages as the main benefit for their employee. It got so popular these days that some even consider it a standard addition to the salary, not a benefit.The private health sector grows from year to year and companies offer their employees broder offer e.g. health insurence to their families.

Sick Leave 🤒

Everybody under a contract of employment is entitled to public healthcare and sick leave.

Sick leave notification

When sick, an employee should visit a doctor who will decide about the length of the leave and issue a sick leave certificate. Which is automatically sent to Social Security Bureau (ZUS) and the employer. During the ongoing pandeming of COVID-19 the medical appointments are not obligatory anymore and telemedicine is enough for a doctor to issue a leave certificate.The medical statement is issued online, so there is no need from the employee to pass it physically to the employer. But the employee is obliged to notify the employer about sick leave immediately, and its duration no later than on the second day of absence from work.

Who pays for sick leave?

Employer covers sick leave for 33 days in a calendar year and 14 days for an employee over 50 years old. When the sick leave exceeds this period, then the Social Security Bureau (ZUS) takes the payment on them.

Calculation of sickness allowance

During the sick leave, the employee gets the sickness allowance from sickness insurance which can be:
  • 80% of the employee’s salary,
  • 70% of the employee’s salary for a period of hospitalisation
  • 100% of the employee’s salary when absence results from an accident on the way to or from work, and an illness during pregnancy and examination or operation related to being an organ, cell or tissue donor

Parental Leave 🍼

In Poland the costs of maternity and paternity leave are covered by the Social Security Bureau (ZUS).

Maternity Leave

All pregnant employees who work under a contract of employment in Poland are entitled to maternity leave.

Maternity leave - length

20 weeks in the case of giving birth to one child, 31 weeks in the case of giving birth to two children in one delivery, 33 weeks in the case of giving birth to three children in one deliveryAfter giving birth, a new mother has an obligatory 14 weeks maternity leave and has the right to divide it and use it up to six weeks before the birth of the child but she must then submit an application to the employer, including a certificate from the doctor about the expected date of delivery. Six weeks of maternity leave may also be transferred to the child's father only if he is insured. Then the mother can return to work earlier.

Maternity leave - application

Employee who became mother does not have to apply for maternity leave. The only paper work that needs to be done by employee is to deliver the child's abbreviated birth certificateto the employer.

Parental leave

To take the parental leave employee has to fill in application at least 21 days before the leave starts. To cancel some or all of the parental leave, you should ask your employer for permission to return to work early.

Paternity leave

Employee who became a father is entitled to 2 weeks paternity leave that can be taken anytime until the child reaches 24 months of age.

The maternity allowance

During maternity leave, a female employee receives an allowance in the amount of:- 100 percent the allowance calculation basis,- 80 percent the calculation basis for the entire period of maternity and parental leave, if the employee submits an application no later than 21 days after the delivery, for parental leave after the maternity leave.

Maternity leave in reality 🚼

The law behind the materninity leave may sound complicated and confusing but it comes to few important factors for you to know as employer.


Your pregnant employee, when the health issues occurred, can take sick leave from work. During the pregnancy, it is 100% of the employee’s salary that you as an employer pay. Unless the sickness lasts more than 33 days, then the Social Security Bureau (ZUS) takes the payment from you.You can expect that the last two months of pregnancy your employee will be on a sick leave.

After childbirth

After giving birth, your employee has to decide whether to stay with a baby on maternity leave for six months or one year. When they choose to stay for six months, their maternity allowance will equal 100% of the employee’s salary. When they choose one year, their maternity allowance will equal 80% of the employee’s salary. All that will be paid by the Social Security Bureau (ZUS) Nowadays, many companies give their employees additinal paid time off in respect of childbirth. Especially the paterninity leave is extended to several weeks as 2 weeks that new born fathers are enitlted for, seems not enough.

Legal Disclaimer:

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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