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/employment contract in poland (umowa o pracę). what to know when signing an employment contract?

Employment contract in Poland (Umowa o pracę). What to know when signing an employment contract?

Many foreigners migrate to Poland specifically for the reason of employment. This is because Poland has decent European salaries and a developing economy. However, not all foreigners know what documents they need to sign when applying for a job and whether it is possible to work illegally.

Today we will tell you about the different types of employment contracts in Poland and share some tips that will definitely help you in finding a job. Here we go!


Employment contract (Umowa o pracę) - what is it and who needs it?

Simply speaking, Umowa o pracę is the most reliable type of labor contract in Poland concluded with foreign nationals. Such an employment contract cannot contain conditions less favorable than those stipulated in the Polish Labour Code (Kodeks Pracy).

According to the current Polish legislation, the existence of a labor contract is a mandatory clause. Therefore, from here we can give an answer to the question «Who needs to sign Umowa o pracę»? It is simple - those who are not suitable for other types of contracts.


Why do many employers choose other forms of contracts?

Actually, everything is very logical - when employing foreigners, employers often use such forms of labor contracts as Umowa zlecenie and Umowa o dzieło. As these contracts do not fully comply with the Labor Code and allow employers to use their employees to the maximum.


What are the types of employment contracts (Umowa o pracę) in Poland in 2023?

→ Probationary period (Umowa na okres próbny)

  • Umowa na okres próbny is signed when the employer wants to check whether the required qualifications of the employee are met and when the employee wants to try whether the job is suitable for him.

  • The maximum term of the contract is 3 months.

  • It is not possible to extend this type of employment contract, as it is a trial contract.

  • The contract terminates on the date that is spelt out in the contract.

  • It is possible to terminate this contract beforehand if both parties agree.

→ Replacement contract (Umowa na zastępstwo)

  • This contract is arranged for the duration of a labor shortage.

  • It automatically ends when a permanent employee returns to work.

  • This type of employment contract can be unilaterally terminated by the employer.

→ For a certain amount of work (Umowa na czas wykonania określonej pracy)

  • This contract is signed when a certain amount of work needs to be done.

  • It is signed when it is not possible to say exactly how long it will take to complete the tasks.

  • The end of the contract is considered to be the complete fulfilment of the tasks.

→ Permanent employment contract (Umowa o pracę na czas nieokreślony)

  • This contract gives employees the best terms and conditions, but employers don't often want to use this particular contract format.

  • The contract is not limited by time or the amount of work performed.

→ For a specified time (Umowa o pracę na czas określony)

  • It means that the employment relationship is fixed for a predetermined period of time.

  • The term of the employment relationship is set out in the contract and the contract can be extended no more than twice.

  • It is possible to terminate this contract in advance if both parties agree, but there is still one option for the employee to terminate the contract - if the contract is concluded for a period of more than six months.

  • This is the most popular form of labor contract among foreigners in Poland.


What data is written in the employment contract (Umowa o pracę)?

Umowa o pracę employment contract of any type must be signed by two parties: the employee and the employer. An example of a labor contract can be found here. The contract is concluded either before work or on the first working day. The contract itself must include the following information:

  • Name of the employee and contact details of the employer

  • Term of the contract (the day the contract comes into force and the day it ends)

  • Labor conditions (place of work, tasks assigned, etc.)

  • Duties and rights of both parties

  • Payment information (payment is in gross format, before taxes)


Is it possible to make amendments to an existing employment contract?

Spoiler - yes, it is possible to amend the contract. But all amendments must be agreed upon by both parties and must not violate the law. That's why for amendments either an addendum to the contract is drawn up or a new one is signed, and the old one is canceled by mutual agreement.


What taxes must be paid by an employee under an employment contract (Umowa o pracę)?

When receiving payment, the employee is required to deduct from their salary for fees such as:

  • Pension fund

  • Insurance

  • Health fund

  • Disability payment

  • Income tax advance

For example, if you receive a salary of 2500 PLN gross, after deducting taxes you will only have 1800 PLN left on your hands.


Is it possible to work in Poland without signing any contract?

If you did not sign any employment contract when applying for a job, you should know that this is a violation of Polish law. Moreover, in such a case, not only you, but also the employer will be guilty. To make matters worse, illegal employment can result in a heavy fine or even deportation to your home country. Therefore, we recommend that you work honestly.

Some employers may specifically ask you not to sign any employment contract. Why? To avoid paying social security taxes for you. So be careful not to fall for this trick.



Well, here we have dealt with each type of employment contract in Poland. Remember that illegal employment is illegal and has negative consequences for you. Also, before signing an employment contract (or any other document), it is worth reading everything carefully and familiarising yourself with the terms and conditions of the contract. Also, if you are a foreigner, we do not recommend you to work through labor agencies, and it is better to look for a job on well-known resources: praca.pl., gowork.pl. and others. We hope that our article helped you to make the right choice and successfully start your labor activity in Poland!


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