One of the elements of the Polish social security system is a scheme of financial payments, financed within the social insurance framework from the Social Insurance Fund (Fundusz Ubezpieczeń Społecznych). Their scope depends on the type of employment contract.
The most common type of a work contract is a regular employment contract, which comprises several types of compulsory contributions.
Types and rates of contributions in 2016:
Type of contribution
Total contribution rate (%)
|Employer (%)||Employee (%)|
|Accidents at work*||0.40-3.60||0.40-3.60||-|
* the rate depends on the type of the activity you perform, according to the Polish Classiﬁcation of Activity
There are also 2 types of civil-law contracts:
- In case of a free-for-task agreement, there are 3 types of compulsory contributions: old-age pension, disability and accident. Sickness contribution is not obligatory.
- Specific-task contract does not oblige your employer to pay the above-mentioned contributions. However, you can contribute on a vountary basis.
The exact amount of contributions is calculated on the basis of the above-mentioned rates multiplied by your gross salary. The employee’s contributions are subtracted directly from your salary. The rest is paid by the employer, who calculates it on the basis of your salary and pays from his/her own funds.
Each month, your employer informs the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) about the amount of your paid contributions (using a special form: ZUS RCA, ZUS RZA and ZUS RSA). Once a year, he/she is also obliged to provide the employees with the same information, in writing. However, you have the right to require it once a month. The information is given to you on the ZUS RMUA form or a different document containing the same information.
Apart from the above-mentioned contributions, there are several others, calculated in a different way or applying to other than social security aspects of employment. These are e.g. health insurance or Labour Fund contributions. See all types of contributions
In the European Union, European Economic Area (EU + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and in Switzerland there is a coordination of national social security schemes which prevents from situations when a person moving across several countries is subject to social security legislation of more than one country or no country. Since Poland is a member state of the European Union and the European Economic Area, Polish citizens have the right to the free movement within the EU countries.
The European coordination of social security schemes gives you the following benefits:
- You never "lose" your contributions – it means that contributions paid on your income in each country are summed up;
- You do not pay double contributions towards insurance systems in each of those countries.
Remember that due benefits are not subject to any kind of reduction, change or suspension on the grounds that the beneficiary or their family lives in a different Member State than the one in which the institution responsible for the payments is located. The principle of equal treatment grants you and the citizens of the country you live in equal rights.
The European coordination of social security schemes in practice:
- If you do not have social insurance in your country, you have to pay social security contributions in Poland in the same way as Polish employees. Of course, your contributions paid here will be summed up with all the contributions paid before and after in other EU countries.
- If you are employed in your country and you arrive in Poland for the purpose of employment, you can still pay social security contribution in your country if you bring an A1 form with you. The A1 form is a document confirming that you are an employee covered by the social security system of another country. The standard form can be obtained from your employer in your country and its validity is certified in the national social security institution. The A1 form is available in each language of the EEA countries.
- If you are employed in your country and your employer delegates you to a Polish institution for a predictable period not exceeding 24 months, you will still pay social security contributions in your home country. In this case the A1 form is obligatory.
If your stay needs to be prolonged, your employer can apply for an extension of the possibility of paying contributions in your home country. In such case he/she should apply to a proper institution in your country on your behalf to get a permission. If you do not obtain the permission, you are obliged to pay contributions in Poland.
If you are delegated for a period exceeding 24 months, you have to contribute towards social security scheme in Poland from the beginning of your stay.
Moving within Europe?
As far as non-EU countries are concerned, Poland concluded bilateral social security agreements with: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine, United States of America, Canada, South Korea and Australia. The aim of such an agreement is to avoid paying double contributions to social security schemes (in your home country and in Poland) and to settle the transfer of the paid contributions. Even though the general rule (the principle of territoriality) indicates that the obligation of social security arises in the country where the employment takes place, always pay attention to certain exceptions resulting from the bilateral international agreements.
In other cases, foreigners employed in Poland have to pay full social security contributions in Poland according to the national rules. All the paid contributions "stay" in Poland and cannot be transferred to your home country or withdrawn from the Social Security Institution after you finish employment in Poland.
Also note that PhD students from non-European countries are not covered by social security system in Poland. This is because Polish universities are not obliged to cover PhD students’ contributions. It is especially important when it comes to health insurance which is compulsory. Therefore, PhD students should buy their health insurance individually (preferrably in the Polish National Health Fund).
Only those PhD students who study and work simoultaneously (based on a regular employment contract) can have their social security contributions paid by their employer.