Social security

Working in Europe | Pension rights | Poland

The national welfare policy in Poland is the responsibility of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy and the Social Insurance Institution (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych, ZUS) acts as its executive agency. ZUS is responsible for collecting contributions and paying benefits to the entitled persons.

The social security contributions are divided into 4 categories:

  • old-age pension,
  • disability pension,
  • sickness, including maternity insurance
  • work accident insurance

The security contributions may be compulsory or voluntary, depending on your status - an employee or doctoral student - and also on the type of your work contract.


As of the academic year 2019/2020 the PhD education is run in doctoral schools and all the PhD candidates receive a monthly scholarship which covers obligatory: old-age pension isurance, disability and accident insurance.


The sickness insurance is not covered but can be obtained voluntarily from ZUS. Its monthly contribution of 2.45% will be subtracted from the scholarship. Note that during the period of sickness/illness when you do not attend the classes, your scholarship is paid so there is no point in having the sickness insurance.


This insurance can be useful, though, in case of maternity when you suspend the education. Then the scholarship can be suspended too and you can receive the monthly maternity&parental benefit. The PhD scholarship is paid for max 4 years in total (whole PhD education period).


More about maternity leave in Pregnancy & Family section.


Note: PhD students who started their education before the 2019/20 academic year (in the "old" mode) are not covered by the above insurances.


However, all PhD candidates, including those who started before 2019/20, are covered by the health insurance, unless they are insured on other basis e.g. as family members or due to employment. Thanks to this, as a PhD student you can use public healthcare services for free.

More about Health insurance and care



Useful links

See also:

Health insurance and care

Pregnancy and Family