Minimum Wage in Poland - Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a separate legislation relating to minimum wages in Poland?

In Poland the national minimum wage is set annually in accordance with the minimum wage Act of 10 October 2002. Each year, it is announced by the government in "Monitor Polski" (http://monitorpolski.gov.pl/) before 15 September.

Do one or more minimum wages exist that is/are determined by law?

There is only one national minimum wage in Poland; it covers all the employees.

Is the minimum wage set at national, regional, sectoral, occupational and/or skill level?

Minimum wage in Poland is determined at the national level - there are (as yet) no differences per region and/or sector of national economy. Minimum wage might be also determined according to seniority but only with respect to those in their first year of employment (should not receive less than 80% of minimum wage announced in "Monitor Polski").

On what basis is minimum wage calculated?

For most of the full-time employees the minimum wage is calculated monthly on the basis of "basic remuneration" that encompasses the wage/salary as well as other supplements and benefits related to employment and included by the Central Statistical Office in the so-called "personal wage". Those who are remunerated monthly but who because of their working schedules or the timing of the payment of some of the elements of their remuneration earn in that specific month a wage/salary below the minimum wage, get the wage supplement for every hour they have worked. The minimum wage of employees working part time is proportional to the number of hours they work. Employees paid per hour get a supplement [=wage equalization] for every hour they work that brings their hourly wage to the level of hourly minimum wage (calculated by dividing the legal minimum wage by the number of hours the employee should have worked on the basis of full-time employment).

Is the monthly minimum wage based on any fixed number of hours?

The "minimum wage" Act mentions "full monthly working time", without specifying any number of hours. According to Polish labour law, the working time should not on average exceed eight hours per day and 40 hours per five-day-long working week; a weekly working time, including the overtime hours, should not exceed 48 hours (Art. 129, §1 & Art. 131, §1).

Are governmental bodies, employer and/or trade union representatives involved in minimum wages setting?

The level of minimum wage is adjusted (yearly) by the so-called Tri-partite Commission for Socio-Economic issues. The Tri-partite Commission consists of: The Minister of Labour and Social Policy & a number of appointees; four employers organisations: Konfederacja Lewiatan, Pracodawcy RP, Związek Rzemiosła Polskiego & Business Centre Club; three trade union organisations: NSZZ "Solidarność", Ogólnopolskie Porozumienie Związków Zawodowych & Forum Związków Zawodowych. As advisors only: representatives of territorial self-government, the President of the National Bank of Poland & the President of the Central Statistical Office.

How are upratings (adjustments) of minimum wage decided upon?

The upratings/adjustments in the minimum wage are decided jointly by the government, the employer and the trade union organisations (the so-called Tri-partite Commission for Socio-Economic issues). If the committee does not manage to agree on a (new) minimum in the upcoming year before 15 July, the government has to announce it (unilaterally) before 15 September. The minimum wage the government then sets cannot be lower from what it had suggested to the Tri-partite Commission at the beginning of the negotiation process i.e. before 15 of June).

What are the components of minimum wage in Poland?

The legal act on minimum wage says "the wage of the employee is calculated including the elements of basic remuneration and other benefits/supplements related to employment", the minimum wage cannot be lower that the above mentioned wage. The basic remuneration & other benefits/supplements form the so-called "personal wage" that includes, among others: seniority supplements, wage supplements related to the possession of special skills, wage supplements related to specific working conditions, (annual) rewards, end-of-the year benefits, material benefits, insurance benefits, etc. Excluded are: remuneration for overtime, jubilee reward, gratuity or retirement pay.

How frequently is the minimum wage updated?

Minimum wage (as a sum of all components) is in principle updated once a year (the new rate becomes effective from the 1st of January). Yet if the price index, which constitutes one of the determinants of the minimum wage, is too high (105% or higher), the minimum wage is adjusted/updated twice a year (effective from 1st of January and 1st of July).

What is/are the yardstick/s on which minimum wage upratings are based?

According to the "minimum wage" Act, the adjustments to minimum wage are based on information provided by the government with respect to, among others: price index, price prognoses for the upcoming year, information about average household spending & information on the standard of living of various social groups.

What is National Poverty line?

Click here to know the national poverty line in context with Minimum Wage, living wages and actual wages. Select the currency (Euro or national currency) to know national poverty line.

What is the incidence of minimum wages(s) in the national labour force (wage earners only)?

The incidence of minimum wages in the national labour force is 8.6%. The figure constitutes a "proxi" based on the information on wages and salaries for the year 2010 published by Central Statistical Office (2012). However, since in the statistical yearbook all the wages up to the level of 1417PLN (which is 100 PLN above the minimum wage in 2010) are "lumped" together and also no distinction is made between full-time and part-time employees, the actual incidence of minimum wage in Poland shall be (considerably) lower.

How is minimum wages compliance regulated?

The (minimum) wage compliance is regulated by the National Labour Inspectorate [=Panstwowa Inspekcja Pracy]. Proceedings against an employer who has paid to his employee a salary that is lower than the fixed minimum can be initiated at the request of the injured employee or as a consequence of a routine inspection by NLI.

Which legal sanctions can be applied if compliance is lacking?

There seem to be no special sanctions for not paying the minimum wage. Applicable here are the general sanctions (a fine between 1.000 and 30.000 PLN) for the non-payment or delay of payment of the full wage/salary the employee is entitled to. However, the non-payment or not-timely payment of salary/wage can be classified as either an "offence" or a "crime". If it is classified as a crime (i.e. when it is "persistent" and/or "malicious") higher fines, the restriction of liberty and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years may follow (Penal Code, Art. 218, § 1a). If the late or non- payment of salaries take place for reasons beyond the control of the employer, he/she cannot be held criminally responsible for it.

Are sanctions often being applied?

In 2012, National Labour Inspectorate, ordered the payment of wage/salary arrears to 158 800 employees (per ca. 15 500 thousand employees) (NB this the number of all payment orders, not only the minimum wage).

Are employer and/or trade union representatives involved in compliance procedures?

Employer and trade union representatives are not involved in compliance procedures.

To whom/where can individuals complain, if they think they are earning less than minimum wage?

Individuals can complain to National Labour Inspectorate [=Panstwowa Inspekcja Pracy] if they think they are earning less than the minimum wage and/or are not paid their wage on time.