Care allowance

The care allowance is granted to an insured person for the duration of a period of leave resulting from the necessity to take personal care of family members.

The insured person receives care allowance when he/she takes personal care of his/ her family members:

  • a healthy child under 8 years of age if:
    • the institution (nursery, kindergarten, school or children’s club), attended by the child, has been unexpectedly closed,
    • one of the spouses or parents of a child who is constantly taking care of him/her is not able to take care of the child because of sickness, childbirth or hospitalisation,
    • a day carer or nanny, with whom parents have concluded an activating agreement, falls ill,
  • a child with disabilities (i.e. a child who has a certificate of severe degree of disability or a certificate of disability together with the following indications: the need for permanent or long-term care or assistance of another person in connection with a significantly limited ability to independent existence and the need for permanent participation of the child’s carer in the process of his/her treatment, rehabilitation and education on a daily basis) who is under 18 years of age, when one of the spouses or parents of the child who constantly cares for him/her is not able to provide care due to sickness, childbirth or hospitalisation,
  • a sick child with a disability who is under 18 years of age,
  • a sick child under 14 years of age,
  • a sick family member other than a child.

The following persons shall be considered as children:

  • the insured person’s own children or his/her spouse’s children,
  • adopted children,
  • children accepted for upbringing and maintenance.

The following shall be considered as family members: persons who remain with the insured person in the common household during the period of care over the insured person:

  • husband or wife,
  • parents,
  • other parent of the child,
  • stepfather,
  • stepmother,
  • parents-in-law,
  • grandparents,
  • grandchildren,
  • siblings,
  • children over 14 years old.

The right to the care allowance is acquired by the insured person from the moment of sickness insurance coverage.

The care allowance is granted to the mother and father of the child on an equal basis. However, it is paid only to one of the parents – the one who takes care of the child and requests payment of the allowance for a given period. Every person who is covered by sickness insurance (both compulsory and voluntary) is entitled to the care allowance.

The person insured is awarded the allowance only in absence of other persons in the common household who could take care of the child or of other family member. The exception is care for a sick child under 2 years of age. If this is the case, the care allowance is due even if other members of the family can look after the child.

The following persons (among others) living in a common household who could provide care are not considered as family members:

  • persons completely incapable of work,
  • sick persons or persons who due to age are physically or mentally disabled,
  • persons running a business.

The care allowance is granted for a maximum of:

  • 60 days per calendar year if the insured person takes care of a healthy child up to the age of 8 years or of a sick child up to the age of 14 years, including a disabled child at that age,
  • 14 days per calendar year if the insured person takes care of a sick family member,
  • 30 days per calendar year if the insured person takes care of:
    • a sick child with a disability who is 14 years old but is under 18,
    • a child with a disability who is over 8 years old but is under 18 if the spouse of the insured person or the parent of the child who is permanently looking after the child cannot take care of him/her due to sickness, childbirth or hospitalisation.

If in a calendar year the insured person takes care only of a disabled child and other sick family members (and there are no other children under 14 years of age), the care allowance is granted for a maximum of 30 days in a calendar year, including a maximum of 14 days for taking care of sick family members.

The total allowance period in respect of care of children and other family members may not exceed 60 days in a calendar year. It does not depend on the number of persons entitled to the allowance, number of children or family members who require care.

The insured father of the child or another insured member of the closest family (e.g. the child’s grandmother) may also be entitled to an additional care allowance. It may be granted for a maximum of 8 weeks (56 days) after the birth of the child. Such an allowance is granted to the father or another member of the closest family if he/she personally takes care of the newborn child and has stopped working for this purpose, because the child’s mother:

  • is in hospital at the time,
  • has a decision on incapability to independent existence or a decision on severe degree of disability,
  • has abandoned the child.

The period of receiving the additional care allowance is not included in the limit of 60 days and 14 days in the calendar year for which the care allowance is due.

In order for the insured person to be entitled to the care allowance for a sick family member, a doctor must issue an electronic certificate (e-ZLA), which confirms the sickness of the family member. The paper certificate on ZUS ZLA printout could be obtained until 1 December 2018.

The care allowance is payable at the rate of 80% of the assessment basis of sickness allowance. The assessment basis of this allowance is established in the same way as the assessment basis of the sickness allowance.

The expenditure on care allowances in 2018 amounted to PLN 963.9 million.

The Social Insurance Institution pays care allowances to employees in work establishments that employ up to 20 persons. And in work establishments with higher employment the care allowance is paid by the employer. In both cases, the allowance is financed from the Social Insurance Fund.