Poland is the only European Union member nation that hasn’t been struck by the recession. As such, there has been a steady stream of foreign investment into the country and employment opportunities for foreigners have increased. Since Poland is a EU country, members of other EU and EEA countries do not require a special work permit for employment here. Only non-EU nationals are required to have a work permit to legally work in Poland.The applicant’s future employer must request this permit, and it is valid only for the duration specified by the employer. Employment law in Poland is mainly regulated by the Act of 26 June 1974 Labor Code, which governs all rights and obligations of both employees and employers.
We asked Szymon Książkiewicz from CareersinPoland.com whether it’s easy to find a job as an expat in Poland:
“It is definitely easy to find a job in Poland as a foreigner due to a very dynamic growth of its economy, especially of the BPO/SSC (business services) sector. It currently employs over 130.000 people and many of them are expats. There are more and more open positions for native speakers and companies like Capgemini, Citi, Infosys or Shell are massively searching for foreigners. There are vacancies for both easier jobs like customer service and more specialized ones, especially in the finance & IT sector. What is interesting: companies in Poland not only search for English or German speakers, they are ready to hire Dutch, Swedish, Hebrew or even Chinese speaking people, too.
On the other hand, Polish law needs some adjustments regarding visa and work permit issues. We hear from CareersinPoland.com users outside the European Union that it is not so easy to get a visa or appropriate work permit in Poland. So, I would say that it is quite easy nowadays to find a job in Poland and apply, but there can be some formal difficulties with legal documents.”
So what do you need to consider if you’re looking for employment in Poland? Below are a few tips for job-hunting expats.
On the basis of an employment contract, the employee agrees to personally perform certain work for the employer. This must be done under the employer’s supervision and at the location and time specified by the employer. In turn, the employee will receive a specified remuneration for the work. There are different kinds of employment contracts that are recognized legally. A trial contract is one that may continue for up to three months. Many employee-employer relationships may begin with a trial contract, followed by a more permanent solution later on. There are also definite term contracts and if three such contracts have been signed consecutively, without passage of more than a month between intervals, it is deemed to constitute an indefinite term contract. It is mandatory for an employment contract to be drawn up in writing and signed no later than the employee’s first working day.
Fixed-term contracts end automatically after the specified duration is over. However, the contract may be terminated by mutual agreement of both parties at any time. An employment contract may also be terminated by one of the parties after giving prior notice. Employers must furnish justification and in many cases, also consult trade unions, if they desire to discharge an employee on an indefinite employment contract. Employment contracts can also be terminated if there has been a serious breach by one party or if employment is unable to continue for some other reason.
The notice periods depend on the nature of the employment contract and the specified duration of employment. Fixed term contracts usually require a two-week notice period for termination. In case of indefinite term contracts, two weeks’ notice is sufficient if the employee has worked for less than six months; a month’s notice if the employee has worked for more than six months and less than three years, and three months’ notice if employment has continued for three years or more.
It is possible for an employer to dismiss an employee without notice if there has been a serious breach of the basic duties, such as absenteeism without proper cause or consuming alcohol at work. Dismissal can also take place if a crime has been committed, or an employee’s occupational credentials have expired. Employers are not allowed to terminate an employment contract during vacation, pregnancy, maternity leave, sick leave or during the period shortly before retirement.
Working hours in Poland generally amount to 40 hours per week. The average workweek consists of five days with eight hours of work a day. The total weekly working hours plus overtime are not allowed to exceed 48 hours per week. Overtime, in particular, must not go beyond 150 hours in a year. The law stipulates that employees must receive double remuneration for overtime work at night, on public holidays and on Sundays. Employees are also entitled to a minimum of 11 hours of undisturbed rest in every 24-hour cycle.
Holidays and leave
Sundays and bank holidays are deemed as work-free days. Employees are also entitled to paid vacation. Those who have been working for under ten years are entitled to 20 days off, while those who have worked for at least ten years receive 26 days of leave.
Since January 1st 2015, the minimum wage in Poland has been increased to PLN 1750 (around EUR 400) gross. The remuneration must be paid at least once every month, usually on a fixed date.
Szymon shares a couple of final pieces of advice for people who are moving to Poland:
“I would recommend creating an account on the most popular job boards in Poland (so that recruiters can contact you) and contacting recruitment agencies here. There are many agencies which search for native speakers for their clients and approaching them could be an idea to get a job quickly.
Regarding setting up your life in Poland it is worth to remember that not everyone in this country speaks English. It is always helpful to go with aPolish friend while dealing with formal issues (e.g., opening a bank account, visiting public offices etc.).”
Have you lived and worked in Poland? Share your experiences in the comments.