Job loss and unemployment are one of the most difficult and stressful life experiences. The stress is even higher for foreigners – apart from the loss of income and other unpleasant consequences, such situation may put at risk their further stay in Poland. Therefore, if you find yourself unemployed, you should consider registering at the labour office (urząd pracy) to get access to the support available for unemployed persons and job seekers.
What are the benefits of registering
Once you have registered as unemployed, you will get access to free employment services, such as job placement, counseling, sponsored training opportunities, and so forth. You will also have the right to health insurance and may be entitled to unemployment allowance (zasiłek dla bezrobotnych), if you meet the statutory conditions. According to the Act on employment promotion and labour market institutions, an unemployed is someone who’s not employed, doesn’t have any other paid work, and who is able and ready to undertake employment. However, labour office services are also available to those who do not qualify for regular unemployment status. People who are employed and those who have rental income or annuities, or are no longer entitled to unemployment allowance, may register at the labour office as job seekers. Job seekers are not entitled to insurance and allowance, but they can benefit from job placement and counseling services.
Who can register
Foreigners who have lost their jobs may register as unemployed in Poland, if they have:
- refugee status, subsidiary or temporary protection;
- permanent residence permit;
- EU long-term residence permit;
- temporary residence permit for highly-skilled workers;
- temporary residence permit for research purposes;
- temporary residence permit for those holding an EU long-term residence permit issued by another EU member state;
- residence permit for humanitarian reasons or tolerated stay;
- temporary residence permit for a family member of a Polish citizen;
- a stamp in the travel document confirming the submission of the application for a temporary, permanent or EU long-term residence permit, if they had a temporary residence permit immediately prior to submitting the application;
- temporary residence and work permit or work, if they have been employed in Poland for at least 6 months prior to registration.
Unemployment allowance – conditions and amount
Registering as unemployed doesn’t automatically entitle you to the benefits. The allowance may be granted if the labour office has no suitable job, internship or training to offer, and if you have been employed for at least 365 days in the last 18 months prior to registration. The type of contract or working time are irrelevant, but the amount of salary is important – it cannot be less than the minimum wage (PLN 2600 gross in 2020). The allowance can be granted for a period of 6 to 12 months, while its amount depends on length of service. For example, if you have been employed for 5 to 20 years, you will receive the basic allowance (100%), that is PLN 881,31 gross/monthly for the first three months and PLN 692 for the next months (valid from June 2020). If you have worked for less than 5 years, you will receive the reduced allowance equivalent to 80% of the basic allowance. The increased allowance of 120% applies if you have worked for more than 20 years.
Where and how to register
You can register as unemployed at your district (powiat) labour office. In Warsaw, it’s the Labour Office of the Capital City of Warsaw (Urząd Pracy m.st. Warszawy) located at 171B Grochowska Street and 10A Ciołka Street. Registration is available online. If you have a trusted profile (profil zaufany) or electronic signature, you can go through the entire registration procedure online at praca.gov.pl. If this is not an option, you can fill in the form online at praca.gov.pl to make an appointment at the labour office for completing the registration. During an epidemic, in-person registration is available by prior appointment only (by phone or online).
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