Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Poland - Health cash benefits

In this section, we describe all the cash benefits granted to you in the event of illness and rehabilitation. You can also read about the allowance you receive if you are compelled to look after a child or a sick family member.

The benefits described are:

  • Sickness allowance and sick pay (zasiłek chorobowy i wynagrodzenie chorobowe)
  • Rehabilitation benefit (świadczenie rehabilitacyjne)
  • Compensation allowance (zasiłek wyrównawczy)
  • Caregiver allowance (zasiłek opiekuńczy)

Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?

All workers are covered by compulsory sickness insurance. Other persons may also apply for voluntary insurance (e.g. self-employed or person working based on civil-low contracts).

Sick pay or sickness allowance is granted to insured persons for each day of illness during which they are unfit for work.

Rehabilitation benefit is granted to insured persons who, following the coverage period of the sickness allowance, are still unfit for work, but further treatment or rehabilitation would help them recover fitness for work.

Compensation allowance may be received by a worker who is in rehabilitation and is only partially fit to work and the employer has consequently lowered their wages.

Caregiver's allowance is granted to people who need to stop working for a certain period of time in order to look after a sick family member or child (or a healthy one).

Maternity allowance is also paid as part of sickness insurance - for more information, see the "Parenthood" section.

What conditions need to be met?

Sickness allowance and sick pay: People covered by compulsory insurance (e.g. workers) gain the right to these benefits 30 days after they receive insurance (called the qualifying period). For individuals who have voluntary insurance, the qualifying period extends to 90 days.

In some cases, the sickness allowance and sick pay are payable from the first day of the insurance. This affects, among other things:

  • school or upper education graduates who signed up for health cash insurance within 90 days of finishing school;
  • insured persons who have had an accident on the way to or from work;
  • persons who have been compulsorily insured for at least 10 years (does not concern those insured voluntarily).

Rehabilitation benefit is granted to people who are still unfit for work after a period receiving sickness allowance.

It can be claimed for 12 months at most. People who are entitled to claim other benefits, including old-age pension, invalidity pension, unemployment benefit and early retirement benefits, shall not be granted this benefit.

A ZUS-certified doctor assesses whether someone is to receive a rehabilitation benefit (see the Jargon busters).

Compensation allowance is granted exclusively to workers whose remuneration has decreased following professional rehabilitation, so that they may adapt or retrain for a specific job.

The decision about who should undergo rehabilitation is taken by a certified doctor in a local medical centre or, as with the awarding of rehabilitation benefits, by a ZUS-certified doctor.

Caregiver allowance is granted to insured person who are dismissed from work because they must look after a healthy child of up to 8 years of age, a sick child of up to 14, or a sick family member.

Caregiver allowance is granted to people looking after:

  • a spouse;
  • parents or parents-in-law;
  • grandparents or grandchildren;
  • siblings;
  • children up to 14 years of age;
  • one's own children or those of a spouse, as well as other children raised and supported by the insured person or his/her spouse.

Caregiver allowance is granted to you on the condition that you are the only person in the household able to look after the child or other family member. That principle does not apply when looking after a sick child of up to two years of age.

What am I entitled to and how do I apply?

Sickness allowance and sick pay:

  • Sick pay is disbursed by the employer and granted to an employee for the first 33 days of the illness in the calendar year (or 14 days if the worker is 50 or over).
  • Sickness allowance is paid by the Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) and granted to a worker after a period covering their sick pay has expired, i.e. from the 34th day of their incapacity to work during the year (or the 15th day if the worker is 50 or over).

Both benefits are granted for each day of incapacity for work, including days on which leave has been granted. For each day of illness, 1/30 of the monthly wage is granted.

People with voluntary sickness insurance are entitled to the benefit from the first day of the illness (they are not entitled to sick pay).

Sickness allowance is paid for the entire period of incapacity for work, but no longer than 182 days; if the incapacity for work was caused by tuberculosis or occurs during pregnancy, then for no more than 270 days.

The amount of the sickness allowance and sick pay is, in most cases, the same and depends, among other things, on the reason for the incapacity.

Reasons for incapacity for work.

Amount of sickness allowance and sick pay

illness or accident (unconnected with work)

80% of wages

illness or accident requiring hospitalisation

70% of wages (80% in the case of sickness allowance)

work-related accident

100% of wages

accident on the way to or from work

100% of wages

occupational disease

100% of wages

illness or accident during pregnancy

100% of wages

situation connected with being an organ donor

100% of wages

The amount of the benefits is calculated as the average monthly wage paid over the 12 months preceding the start of the incapacity period (or less if 12 months have been worked).

A registered doctor confirms the incapacity for work. The certification of temporary incapacity for work is in an especially print document used as the grounds for paying the sick pay or sickness allowance.

The insured person must then deliver the document to their employer (or directly to the ZUS office) no later than 7 days from the date that it is received. Failure to carry out this obligation will result in a 25% reduction in the sickness allowance from the eighth day from the day that the certificate is received until the date that it is delivered.

Rehabilitation benefit

Rehabilitation benefit is a maximum of 90% of the existing wage for the first 90 days covered by the benefit. In the remaining period (no more than 12 months), it amounts to 75% of the wage.

If the incapacity for work is brought about by an accident at work, occupational disease or if it occurs during pregnancy, the benefit paid is 100% of the wage (calculated in a similar way to the sickness allowance, as an average for the past 12 months of work).

To apply for rehabilitation benefit, the relevant documents must be sent to a Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) branch office and a health certificate issued by a doctor.

Compensation allowance

The compensation allowance is granted and paid during the rehabilitation period, and for no longer than 24 months.

The compensation allowance is the difference between an average monthly wage (calculated over the previous 12 months) and the reduced monthly salary during rehabilitation.

The decision about who should undergo rehabilitation is taken by a certified doctor in a local medical centre or a ZUS-certified doctor.

Caregiver's allowance

Caregiver allowance stands at 80% of wages (established as an average over the previous 12 months).

The number of days during which it is possible to apply for it depends on the type of care.

Type of care

Maximum number of days for paying the allowance

for a healthy child of up to 8 years of age

60 days in a calendar year

for a sick child of up to 14 years of age

60 days in a calendar year

for a sick child over 14 years old

14 days in a calendar year

for other sick family members

14 days in a calendar year

The total period for paying caregiver allowance for the care of children and other family members may not exceed 60 days in a calendar year.

The basic document for proving entitlement to the caregiver allowance is the specially printed medical certificate. For the care of a healthy child of up to 8 years of age, a caregiver certificate can be sufficient (e.g. in the event of the unexpected closure of the school or preschool which the child attends).

Jargon busters

A ZUS-certified doctor is the body which assesses the level of incapacity for work caused by the accident or illness. It also assesses the duration of the incapacity for work. It is possible to appeal the decision of the certified doctor before the ZUS medical commission. Its decision forms the basis of the payment of some benefits, e.g. rehabilitation benefit or disability pension.

The district medical centre is an institution run by the local government of each voivodship (district), which is concerned with the broad coverage of medicine in the workplace. Workers in the centre are tasked, among other things, with evaluating the need for rehabilitation after an illness, which is necessary in the case of applications for compensation allowance.

Documents to be completed

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights. They are not European Commission sites and do not reflect its opinions:

  • European Commission websites and publications:

Welfare benefits: your rights abroad as EU residents

Who do I contact?

Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy - Department of Social Insurance
ul. Nowogrodzka 1/3/5
00-513 Warsaw
Tel.: +48 226611738 / 226288597 / 226216772
Fax: +48 226611736
Internet: www.gov.pl/rodzina
Email: info@mrpips.gov.pl

Social Insurance Institute (ZUS) – Headquarters
ul. Szamocka 3, 5
01-748 Warsaw
Internet: www.zus.pl

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

connections with mobile telephones and fixed and foreign lines: +48 225601600
Skype: zus_centrum_obslugi_tel
Email address for general enquiries: cot@zus.pl
Search engine of ZUS offices by place name or municipality and postcode

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