In this chapter you will read about the retirement pensions system in Poland. We explain when and how to apply for a retirement pension (emeryturę) and the conditions which must be met to apply for it.
Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?
Retirement pensions in Poland are paid to each person who are part of a retirement scheme. It is compulsory for all workers and a few other social groups (e.g. soldiers, clergy - a full list can be found here). Voluntary insurance is also available.
Retirement pensions are paid out by the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) - (see Jargon busters below). They are financed from employer and employee contributions made by the employer on behalf of the employee.
The conditions for obtaining retirement pensions and determining the amount depend on what age group the person belongs to. Certain occupational groups have different rules for granting retirement pensions (e.g. miners, uniformed services).
What conditions need to be met?
The conditions for claiming a retirement pension depend on the insured person’s date of birth.
Born before 1 January 1949
Retirement pensions for insured persons born before 1 January 1949: individuals born before this date are entitled to a pension as soon as the following two conditions have been met:
- they have reached the pensionable age: 60 years for a woman and 65 years for a man;
- they can document a contributory period covered amounting to 20 and 25 years respectively.
The retirement pension will be increased if it emerges that the amount of the pension is lower than the minimum state pension.
Individuals who have reached the required age are also entitled to a pension if they can document at least a 15 year contributory and non-contributory period for women, and at least a 20 year contributory and non-contributory period for men. However, in this case there is no guarantee that the pension will be increased to the amount of the minimum pension.
Born after 31 December 1948
Retirement pensions for insured persons born after 31 December 1948: individuals born after this date have the right to a retirement pension upon reaching retirement age.
Since 1 October 2017, the retirement age has been reduced to 60 years for women and 65 years for men, irrespective of the date of birth.
The amount of the retirement pension for individuals born after 31 December 1948 depends first and foremost on the amount of contributions collected.
Insured person can decide on one of two options to collect contributions:
- the full contribution goes to the individual retirement account in the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS);
- the partial contribution goes to the insured person's account in the Open Pension Fund (see Terms (glossary), which invests it in the capital market. The rest of the contribution goes to the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS).
In the case of insured individuals born after 31 December 1948, there are also certain groups of people who can apply for an early retirement pension. You can find them listed here.
What am I entitled to and how do I apply?
For individuals born before 1 January 1949 the amount of the retirement pension depends on:
- the number of contributory and non-contributory periods which the insured person is able to document;
- the compulsory base rate on the day on which the right to a pension is acquired;
- basis for the amount.
For individuals in this age group the retirement pension amount is not dependent on the sum of contributions made.
For individuals born after 31 December 1948, the pension base rate is equivalent to the total contributions made by the insured person. This amount encompasses the aggregated contributions for the retirement insurance as well as the initial capital, that is, contributory and non-contributory periods starting from the period of insurance before 1 January 1999.
Those who were born after 31 December 1948 and before 1 January 1969 are an exception to the rule mentioned above. If they possess a long enough employment history, they can opt for an early retirement pension. If they opt for this, the amount of their pension will be calculated according to the rules relevant to employees born before 1 January 1949. If they do not opt for an early retirement pension, they will fall under the same system as those born after 1948.
The retirement pension cannot be higher than its base rate and cannot be lower than the amount for a minimum pension. At present, this stands at:
minimum state pension (figures valid from 1 March 2019)
PLN 1,100 gross per month
The decision to grant the retirement pension is made by the appropriate department of the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) - (see Jargon busters below) depending on the place of residence of the person applying for the pension. The process of deciding whether to grant a pension begins once the application has been made.
Retirement pensions are adjusted each year on 1 March. The adjustment is made ex officio. Applications need not to be made in this respect.
The Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) collects all the social insurance contributions and forwards them to the appropriate institutions. ZUS and its regional branches are responsible for sickness and maternity benefits, retirement pensions, disability pensions, survivors' pensions, accidents at work and occupational disease benefits.
Open Pension Fund (OFE) - pensions funds headed by private financial institutions which invest money on the capital market. Insured person do not pay contributions directly to pension funds but pay them to ZUS together with other contributions for social insurance. ZUS is responsible for forwarding part of the pension scheme contributions to the retirement fund chosen by the insured person in question. The funds are closely monitored and overseen by the state.
Documents to be completed
- Retirement pension application - form ZUS Rp-1E
- Questionnaire on contributory and non-contributory periods - form ZUS ERP-6
Know your rights
The links below set out your rights; they are not European Commission sites and do not reflect its opinions:
- A detailed description of the procedure for awarding benefits through ZUS;
- Calculation of the predicted retirement pension amount - pension calculator ZUS
- Rules for coordinating the retirement pension between European Union countries.
European Commission websites and publications:
Who do I contact?
Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy - Department of Social Insurance
ul. Nowogrodzka 1/3/5
Tel.: +48 226611738 / 226288597 / 226216772
Fax: +48 226611736
Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) - Headquarters
ul. Szamocka 3, 5
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 mobile telephones and fixed and foreign lines: +48 225601600
Email address for general enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org