Employment of a foreigner under a contact of employment

An employment contract is a legally binding agreement between an employer and employee. It defines the working relationship and can be used to outline the employee’s role and responsibilities within the business. It can also outline compensation and any benefits that the employee might receive under it.

In Poland an employment contract takes the form of a written document that the employer and employee both sign. There are two popular types of contracts regulating work performance – the employment contract and the contract of mandate. They both apply to Polish citizens and foreigners coming to Poland to work.

Employment contract

The employment contract regulates the mutual cooperation between the employee and the employer. It is defined in Art. 22 of the Labour Code: By entering into an employment relationship, the employee undertakes to perform work of a specific type for the employer and under his direction, and at the place and time designated by the employer.

Despite the definition, the contract also defines duties and responsibilities of the employer. As such, the employment contract is considered as the most important agreement regulating working relationship and conditions of its possible termination.

Employment contract: What does it include?

Since the contract is the most basic – and often – the only agreement signed by the employer and employee it ought to contain all the details referring to:

  • work responsibilities: employee’s responsibilities as well as employer’s ones,
  • duration of employment: it can be a fixed-term contract or a permanent contract,
  • schedule: expectation of hours/days employee will work,
  • compensation: itemization of salary,
  • benefits: any additional benefits that are being offered.

In practice the employment contract:

  • takes the form of a written agreement and is not consider as valid, as long as is not signed by both parties,
  • states that the person performing the employment contract is compulsorily covered by social and health insurance,
  • is payable – you cannot waive the right to the payment,
  • states that the employee is obliged to perform the work in person and to follow the employer’s instructions,
  • proves that the employee agreed to fulfil certain obligations at the designated place and time,
  • defines duties and responsibilities of the employer.

Employees employed under the contract are entitled to a pension (pension contributions are paid), sick leave, holidays, maternity leave and childcare leave.

Contract of mandate: An alternative for the employment contract

The contract of mandate is the second most common agreement regulating working relationship in Poland. It is a civil law contract. That means the provisions of the Labour Code do not apply. The consequence of this is the fact that the worker is not really an employee of the company, and most often does not receive any benefits or rights on this account. The biggest disadvantage of a contract of mandate is the fact that the contractor is not entitled to sick leave, holidays, maternity leave and childcare leave.