Holiday entitlement is possibly one of the most essential benefits of working under a contract of employment (umowa o pracę). The length of paid annual leave in Poland depends on the employee's seniority. A person who is beginning their first job under a contract of employment, acquires the right to 1/12 of their holiday entitlement after completing each month of work in the calendar year in which the employment has started. In the following calendar year, the employee will acquire the right to 20 or 26 days of paid annual leave, depending on their work experience:
- 20 days – receive employees who have worked less than 10 years
- 26 days – receive employees who have worked 10 years and more
Some occupations, such as teachers or academic workers may be entitled to a longer paid leave, which can extend to 36 days a year.
Calculating the years of employment
It should be noted that the employee's seniority includes not only years of employment, but also secondary and higher education. Thus, the employee’s education equals the following number of years worked:
- Basic vocational education – up to 3 years of employment (depending on the school programme)
- Secondary vocational education – up to 5 years of employment
- High school – 4 years of employment
- Post-secondary school – 6 years of employment
- Higher education – 8 years of employment
The stages of education do not aggregate. Therefore, an employee who has just graduated from a university has a seniority of 8 years. Under a contract of employment, they are entitled to 20 days of paid annual leave in their first job. After 2 years of work, they will acquire the right to 26 days of paid holiday.
Employees who do not work full-time, are entitled to paid leave on a pro-rata basis, meaning they receive a proportion of their holiday entitlement calculated on the basis of their weekly working time.
Leave at request (Urlop na żądanie)
The Polish Labour Code allows for taking up to 4 days of “leave at request” (urlop na żądanie) a year, within the annual leave limits. It means that an employee has the right to request a day off without prior notice (the employer should be notified on the same day at the latest).
Recognition of foreign work experience
Records of foreign work experience are fully recognised in Poland and included in the worker’s seniority. However, the employee is required to provide their Polish employer with all the necessary documents translated into Polish.