Sick pay and sickness allowance

The sick pay and sickness allowance are payable for periods of incapacity for work or isolation as a result of infectious disease.

Sick pay is financed by the employer. It is payable to the employee for the first 33 days of incapacity for work in a calendar year. If the employee has reached 50 years of age, it is payable for the first 14 days in a calendar year (after the year when the employee reached the age of 50 years).

Sick pay is paid in the following amounts (respectively):

  • 80% of the assessment basis (labour regulations applicable for a given employer may provide for a higher remuneration in this respect),
  • 100% of the assessment basis, if the incapacity for work:
    • was a result of an accident on the way to or from work,
    • occurs during pregnancy,
    • was the result of undergoing necessary medical examinations provided for potential cell, tissue and organ donors and the result of undergoing an operation for their extraction.

The right to sick pay is acquired by employees only after 30 days of uninterrupted insurance (the qualifying period).

Outworkers and persons undergoing substitute military service are entitled to sick pay under the same principles as employees.

The sick pay is calculated under the rules used to establish the sickness allowance assessment basis. Sick pay is based on the average monthly remuneration of the recent 12 months preceding the month when the incapacity for work occurred. If the incapacity for work occurred before the lapse of 12 months of employment, the assessment basis is calculated based on the actual employment period for full calendar months.

The assessment basis is established with consideration of the remuneration on which the sickness insurance contribution was calculated, reduced by the deducted social insurance contributions.

The sickness allowance is payable to an employee after cessation of the sick pay period, i.e. respectively from:

  • 34th day of incapacity for work in a calendar year,
  • 15th day of incapacity for work in a calendar year, if the employee has reached the age of 50 years.

The right to sickness allowance from the compulsory insurance is acquired after 30 days of the qualifying period.

Persons who are covered by sickness insurance on a voluntary basis (for example persons running their own business, freelancers/contractors) are entitled to a sickness allowance already from the first day of their incapacity for work. However, the sickness allowance is payable only after 90 days of the qualifying period.

The qualifying period is increased by previous periods of sickness insurance coverage, both on a compulsory and voluntary basis, in the following situations:

  • if the gap between the present and the previous period does not exceed 30 days,
  • if the gap between the present and the previous period was due to:
    • child-care leave,
    • unpaid leave,
    • active military service by a nonprofessional soldier.

Some groups of insured persons are entitled to sickness allowance from the first day of sickness insurance. These are:

  • graduates of schools or tertiary level institutions of education who have been covered by sickness insurance or have joined sickness insurance within 90 days from the date of graduation or obtaining a higher education diploma,
  • persons whose incapacity for work was a result of an accident on the way to or from work,
  • persons compulsorily insured who have earlier completed at least a 10-year period of compulsory sickness insurance,
  • Members of Parliament who have joined sickness insurance within 90 days from the date of the end of their elected term of office.

ZUS or an employer pays sickness allowance for a maximum period of 182 days. The exception is when the incapacity for work is caused by tuberculosis or falls within the period of pregnancy – then the allowance period is 270 days.

The sickness allowance is payable at a rate of:

  • 80% of its assessment basis,
  • 70% of its assessment basis for a period of hospitalisation; however, an employee who has reached the age of 50 years is entitled to sickness allowance for a period of hospitalisation from the 15th to the 33rd day of his/her incapacity for work in a calendar year at the rate of 80% of the assessment basis,
  • 100% of its assessment basis, also during a period of hospitalisation, if the incapacity for work:
    • was a result of an accident on the way to or from work,
    • occurs during pregnancy,
    • is the result of undergoing necessary medical examinations provided for potential cell, tissue and organ donors and as a result of undergoing an operation for their extraction.

If the incapacity for work was caused by an accident at work or by an occupational disease, sickness allowance is payable from accident insurance. It is payable from the first day of the insurance and the first day of the incapacity for work, at a rate of 100% of the assessment basis.

The assessment basis of sickness allowance payable to an employee is an average monthly remuneration on the basis of which the sickness insurance contribution was calculated, paid for the 12 calendar months preceding the month when the incapacity for work had occurred and it is reduced by the deducted social insurance contributions.

The assessment basis of sickness allowance for an insured person not being an employee is the average monthly income for 12 calendar months preceding the month when the incapacity for work had occurred. Account is taken of income, on the basis of which the sickness insurance contribution was calculated, and it is reduced by this contribution.

If the incapacity for work occurred before the lapse of 12 calendar months, the allowance assessment basis is established based on the actual employment or insurance period for full calendar months.

The sick pay or sickness allowance is paid to persons to whom a doctor issues a certificate of temporary incapacity for work. From 1 December 2018, the certificate may be issued only in electronic form (e-ZLA). Until 30 November 2018, it could be done in paper form on ZUS ZLA printout or electronically.

The Social Insurance Institution pays the sickness allowance to employees in companies employing up to 20 employees. In companies employing more than 20 employees the sickness allowance is paid by the employer. In both cases, the allowance is financed from the Social Insurance Fund.

In 2018, PLN 18,444.5 million was paid due to sickness absenteeism, including:

  • in the form of allowances from FUS – PLN 11,532.8 million,
  • in the form of sick pay from employers – PLN 6,910.8 million.

The Social Insurance Fund paid for 149.8 million days of absence due to sickness, and employers paid for 79.8 million days.