Sick pay and sickness allowance

The sick pay is payable to an employee 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 periods not exceeding 33 days in a calendar year, or – if the employee has reached 50 years of age – not exceeding 14 days in a calendar year1.

Sick pay is paid in the following amounts:

  • 80% of the calcualation basis; however labour regulations binding a given employer may provide for a higher remuneration in this respect,
  • 100% of the calculation basis, 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.

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

Contractors and persons undergoing substi tute military service are entitled to sick pay under the same principles as employees.

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

The calculation 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. from the 34th day of an incapacity for work in a calendar year or from the 15th day if the employee has reached the age of 50 (respectively). The right to a sickness allowance 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 fi rst day of their incapacity for work, i.e. they are not entitled to sick pay. They are entitled to the sickness allowance after 90 days of uninterrupted insurance (the qualifying period).

The qualifying period is increased by previous periods of sickness insurance coverage, both on a compulsory and voluntary basis, if the gap between them does not exceed 30 days, or was due to child-care leave, unpaid leave, or active military service by a nonprofessional soldier.

Besides, from the first day of sickness insurance the right to sickness allowance is acquired:

  • by 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,
  • if incapacity for work was a result of accident on the way to or from work,
  • by persons compulsorily insured who have earlier completed at least a 10-year period of compulsory sickness insurance,
  • by Members of Parliament who have joined sickness insurance within 90 days from the date of the end of their elected term of office.

The maximum allowance period is 182 days, and in the event of an incapacity for work being tuberculosis – maximum 270 days. Insured women have been also granted the right to a sickness allowance in a period not exceeding 270 days if incapacity for work occurred during pregnancy.

The sickness allowance from sickness insurance is payable at a rate of:

  • 80% of the sickness allowance calculation basis,
  • 70% of the calculation basis for a period of hospitalization, with the exception of an employee who has reached the age of 50 years and who is entitled to sickness allowance for a period of hospitalization from the 15th to the 33rd day of their incapacity for work in a calendar year – at the rate of 80% of the calculation basis,
  • 100% of the allowance calculation basis, also during a period of hospitalization, 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 from accident insurance is payable. Sickness allowance in respect of an accident at work or occupational disease is payable from the first day of the insurance and the first day of the incapacity for work. It is payable at a rate of 100% of the calculation basis.

The calculation 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, reduced by the deducted social insurance contributions. The calculation basis of sickness allowance for insured persons not being employees is the average monthly income, on the basis of which the sickness insurance contribution was calculated for the 12 calendar months preceding the month when the incapacity for work had occurred, reduced by 13.71%. If the incapacity for work occurred before the lapse of 12 calendar months, the allowance calculation basis is calculated based on the actual employment or insurance period for full calendar months.

The proof certifying the right to sick pay or sickness allowance from 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2018 is a medical certificate of temporary incapacity for work (ZUS ZLA form) issued in paper form or electronically. Since 1 July 2018 a medical certificate will be issued only in electronic form.

ZUS pays sickness allowance to employees in companies employing up to 20 employees. In workplaces employing more than 20 employees sick pay is paid by the employer. In both cases, the sickness benefit is financed from the Social Insurance Fund.

The total amount paid in 2016 for sickness related absence equalled PLN 16,283.5 million, including PLN 10,615.2 million paid from FUS in the form of allowances, and PLN 5,667.6 million paid by employers in the form of sick pay. The number of days of sickness related absenteeism financed by FUS was 146.0 million, while the number of days of sickness absenteeism financed by employers’ funds was 74.2 million.

1 This concerns incapacity for work after the calendar year when the employee reached the age of 50 years.


(Note: 1 EUR = ca 4.26 PLN)