A guide for migrant workers

PRACTICAL HINTS BEFORE YOU START WORKING IN POLAND »

Work legally!

In order to take up a legal job in Poland, you need to make sure your employer has gone through all the necessary formalities.

First and foremost, find out if your documents entitle you to work.

The required documents are: work permit, single work and residence permit or a written statement of your employer that you will be entrusted with performance of work (a simplified version of the permit for the citizens of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Russia, Belarus and Armenia enabling them to work within half- year period during one year, starting from the day it is registered.)

Your employer is obliged to verify whether you meet the requirements needed for legal employment.

You take great risk when you work illegally!

When you work illegally you risk being sent back to your country of origin and prohibited from coming to Poland as well as to the other Schengen countries for up to 3 years. Additionally, you risk paying a fine of at least 1000 PLN.

Such a risk may occur in the following cases:

  • you work without a work permit, single work and residence permit or the employer’s statement that you will be entrusted with performance of work, when the law clearly requires one of those from you
  • you stay in Poland on the basis of the residence permit (or a visa) which does not allow you to work
  • you have a work permit, single work and residence permit or the employer’s statement, but you are working on a different position or under different conditions than the ones defined in these documents.

Make sure you’ve gone through all the formalities!

Finally, when you have made the decision of taking a job, remember to verify if the employer has gone through all the formalities.

Your employer does not have any right of asking you to pay an additional fee in exchange for getting you a work permit or authorizing the statement. Such behavior is subject to a fine. Employer may, however, ask you for a photocopy of the document confirming your that your stay in Poland is legal.

Apart from getting you a permit or authorizing a statement (in case it is required), your employer is also obliged to enter into a contract with you (not later than on the first working day). In the contract he/she should determine the conditions, including the details concerning your pay defined in the permit and also present its translated version in a language which would be comprehensible to you. Moreover, your employer is obliged to provide you with the photocopy of the permit (statement) as well as the contract.

It is advised to take pictures of all the documents and contracts which you are signing while starting your job, as in the future this will serve as a proof that you have indeed signed them, in case they get lost.

Another important thing to remember is finding out who exactly your employer is, for instance by acquiring his/her business card or a picture of the company’s logo. These will get in handy while in court or at the National Labour Inspectorate, in a situation when your employer would not want to pay you.

CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT (“UMOWA O PRACĘ”) »

The most beneficial form of employment for you as an employee is the contract of employment, as it gives you the best protection. If the job is carried out:

  • under the employer’s supervision (for example, your employer advises you as for what should be done and how it should be done)
  • at the time and place set up by your employer

he/ she should sign the contract of employment with you. If the employer does not wish to enter into such a contract, and the above criteria are met, you can demand that your employment relationship was recognized as contract of employment by court or by the National Labour Inspectorate.

WHEN WORKING ON THE BASIS OF A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT:

  • To receive a monthly salary, not lower than 1237,20 PLN net in a full time job (or 1000 PLN in case when it is your first job), paid regularly not later than on the 10th day of every month
  • To lodge a complaint to the Labour Court (free of charge) if the employer has not paid you the salary
  • To lodge a complaint to the National Labour Inspectorate, if the employer has violated your other labour rights
  • To paid holidays
  • To a 40h working week (however, there are some exceptions to this rule)
  • To be treated equally, i.e. you can’t be discriminated during recruitment, in your remuneration, in working conditions and promotion only because you are a foreigner or due to your ethnicity, nationality or religion.
  • To a health insurance
  • To a paid sick leave
  • To receive a translated version of the contract you have signed with your employer, in a language that is comprehensible to you but (only if you work on the basis of the work permit)

CIVIL-LAW AGREEMENTS (“ZLECENIE”/ “DZIEŁO”) »

Another types of employment are civil-law agreements. In this case, you are not protected by the rules of Labour Law. You are not eligible for a minimum wage – for your work you will be paid as much as agreed with your employer.

A CONTRACT OF MANDATE (“UMOWA ZLECENIE”)

The contract of mandate consists in the commissioning an appropriate work in an appropriate deadline – for this he has to pay you your loan. A classic contract of mandate does not concern the performance of work but the performance of an action for the benefit of someone else. In practice, contracts of mandate are usually concluded as contracts for the performance of services.

WHEN WORKING ON THE BASIS OF THE CONTRACT OF MANDATE

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT:

  • To be treated equally – i.e. you can’t be discriminated during recruitment, in your remuneration, in working conditions and promotion only because you are a foreigner or due to your ethnicity, nationality or religion.
  • To receive the agreed remuneration.
  • To file a lawsuit against your employer if he/she has not paid you the agreed remuneration.
  • If your relationship with the employer resembles a contract of employment (see above), you have the right to apply to the Labour Court or to the National Labour Inspectorate for the recognition of your agreement as an employment contract. Then you will be protected just as if you were employed on the contract of employment.
  • To get a translation of your contract into the language that you understand – if you have a work permission.
  • You’ve got right to a health insurance – unless you are insured on the basis of another contract.

A task- specific contract (“Umowa o dzieło”)

The least favourable form of employment is a task-specific contract , because it does not provide a person with health insurance or social insurance. It is the agreement to perform clearly specified tasks (work). This work you are performing on your own – i.e. at the time and place of your choice.

WHEN WORKING ON THE BASIS OF A TASK-SPECIFIC CONTRACT

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT:

  • To be treated equally – i.e. you can’t be discriminated during recruitment, in your remuneration, in your working conditions and promotion only because you are a foreigner or due to your ethnicity, nationality or religion.
  • To receive the agreed remuneration.
  • To file a lawsuit against your employer if he/she has not paid you the agreed remuneration
  • If your relationship with the employer resembles a contract of employment (see above), you have the right to apply to the Labour Court or to the National Labour Inspectorate for the recognition of your agreement as an employment contract. Then you will be protected just as if you were employed on the contract of employment.
  • To receive a translated version of the contract you have signed with your employer, in a language that is comprehensible to you but (only if you work on the basis of the work permit)

IF YOU WORK IN POLAND BUT HAVE NO RESIDENCE PERMIT OR A VISA »

IF YOU WORK IN POLAND BUT HAVE NO RESIDENCE PERMIT OR A VISA

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT:

  • To be treated equally at work, for instance as far as your salary or work conditions are concerned. You must not be discriminated against for any reasons, including your nationality, ethnic origins, citizenship, race or religion.
  • To be treated with due respect and consideration of your dignity by the employer
  • To receive a remuneration for your work. If your work terms and conditions are similar to those used in an employment contract (see above) you have the right to be paid not less than PLN 1 237, 20 net (or PLN 1 000 if it is your first job).
  • To receive your salary abroad if you have left Poland (at the employer`s expense)
  • If you have not been paid for your work by the employer – you have the right to file a lawsuit to the Labour or Civil Court. Legal provisions make it easier for you to win the case against your employer at court. It is assumed that you have worked for the employer longer than 3 months and it is in the employer’s own interest to prove that the case was different (f.i. that you worked for him only a few days). If your work resembles the contract of mandate or the task-specific contract, it is assumed that you should receive a remuneration amounting to PLN 3711,60 net. It is the employer’s interest to prove at the court that you had agreed to a different amount.
  • You have the right to be paid back your unpaid remuneration also if you have left Poland and cannot come back to sue the employer. In order to do this, you can authorise a practicing lawyer or find an NGO which will bring an action against the employer so that you can get your money back.
  • If your employer violates your rights you may also lodge a complaint against him/her to the National Labour Inspectorate. But keep in mind that they have a legal obligation to inform Border Police about your lack of a residence permit. There may even come to a joint inspection at your workplace (the labour inspectors will be accompanied by the Border Police). As a result you might face deportation to your country of origin.

If you have doubts whether you perform your work legally or if you feel that your rights have been violated, please come to our office in Warsaw at Siedmiogrodzka 5/51
call us: tel. 22 629 56 91
or e-mail us: biuro@interwencjaprawna.pl

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