Social security

Working in Europe | Pension rights | Poland

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

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.

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:

  1. You never "lose" your contributions – it means that contributions paid on your income in each country are summed up;
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


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