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Unemployment benefits in Poland

Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?

If you have worked for at least 365 days in the last 18 months and have been paid the minimum wage, you may be entitled to unemployment allowance. To apply for the allowance you need to register in the labour office situated in the district which you live in. The allowance will be granted if you do not receive any employment, internship or training offer for 7 days from the period of registration.

The allowance is granted regardless of whether you were employed by someone, or self-employed. It is important to pay compulsory monthly contributions to the Labour Fund. Your employer or you yourself, if you are self employed, are responsible for doing this.

You can also qualify for pre-retirement benefit if you were dismissed from work, have a long enough work history, and are near retirement age. However you can only apply for this benefit six months after obtaining unemployment allowance.

What conditions need to be met?

To qualify for unemployment allowance you must:

  • have been employed for at least 365 days in the last 18 months (this period also includes employment in other countries of the European Union)
  • have earned at least the minimum wage during this period;
  • register at the district labour office;
  • not receive in the first 7 days after registration any work, internship or training offer.

To qualify for a pre-retirement benefit, you must:

  • be registered as an unemployed person;
  • have claimed unemployment allowance for at least 6 months;
  • have a long enough employment history depending on the individual case;
  • be nearing retirement age;
  • have lost your work for reasons connected to the employer (removal of the employer or insolvency of the employer);
  • within a period of 30 days starting from when the district labour office issues the document which entitles you to 6 months of unemployment allowance, you must make the required contribution in your local branch of the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS).

What am I entitled to and how do I apply?

Unemployment allowance

To apply for unemployment allowance you have to register in the District Labour Office (a link to the list of labour offices in each district can be found in the "Who to contact" section). It will be paid to you for the next 6 or 12 months. The amount which you receive will depend on the length of your employment.

Unemployment allowance will be paid to you for 12 months if you fulfil one of the following conditions:

  • the rate of unemployment in your district is higher than 150% of the average country unemployment rate;
  • you are over 50 and have worked a minimum of 20 years;
  • you are supporting a child aged over 15 and your spouse is also unemployed but cannot claim unemployment allowance anymore.

If you do not fulfil at least one of the conditions mentioned above, you will be paid benefit for 6 months.

Rates are updated yearly on 1 June. Rates for 1 June 2017 are:

Work experience

Amount for the first three months of claiming benefit (per month)

The amount for the remaining months of benefit (per month)

up to 5 years

664.90 PLN

522.10 PLN

from 5 to 20 years

831.10 PLN

652.60 PLN

at least 20 years

997.4 PLN

783.20 PLN

Amounts given above are gross amounts. A contribution for health insurance and an advance payment for income tax is taken off from these amounts.

Pre-retirement benefit

Amount from 1 March 2017:

The amount of pre-retirement benefits (per month) is PLN 1,040.

A pre-retirement benefit can be obtained until the legal retirement age is reached. It cannot be connected to other benefits e.g. survivor's pension. Just as for unemployment allowance, the amount given above for pre-retirement benefit is the gross amount.

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights:

Who do I contact?

Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy Department of Labour Market (in relation to the unemployment allowance)
ul. Nowogrodzka 1/3/5
00-513 Warsaw
Tel.: +48 225290740
Fax.: +48 225290741

Contact details for local labour offices in Poland.

Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) – Headquarters (in relation to the pre-retirement benefit)
ul. Szamocka 3, 5
01-748 Warsaw

ZUS call centre
Consultation hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on working days. An automatic information system is available 24/7.

number intended for connections with Polish landlines: 801400987

number intended for connections with mobile telephones and fixed and foreign lines: +48 225601600

Skype: zus_centrum_obslugi_tel

Email address for general enquiries:

Search engine of ZUS offices by place name or municipality and postcode

European Commission and national authorities dealing with unemployment insurance.

This page was last updated on February 15, 2020.

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