10 min czytania 12 July 2023

Disability certificate and work

Having a disability can affect seeking and maintaining employment. This presents a challenge for many people, but there are also solutions that can help you find a balance between health and work. What does this look like from a legal perspective? Who is a person with a disability? What working conditions should an employer provide for a disabled person? What are the privileges of a disabled person? What are the job opportunities for people with disabilities? We invite you to read the article.

Disability certificate and work


Who is a disabled person?

A person with a disability is a person whose physical, mental, sensory, mental or emotional faculties have a long-term severe or moderate limitation compared to other persons. The definition of a disabled person is set out in the Act of 27 August 1997 on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and the Employment of Disabled Persons. In practice, in order to be considered a disabled person, it is necessary to have a certificate issued by the competent adjudicating bodies, such as the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRON) or the medical committees of the Social Insurance Institution. The certificate confirms the presence of a disability and specifies its degree and type.

A person with a disability is entitled to certain forms of support and safeguards, including access to vocational rehabilitation, tax benefits, preferential employment conditions and other benefits and entitlements to facilitate his or her participation in society and the labour market.

Disability assessment and work – what are the degrees of disability?

There are three degrees of disability:

  • Significant degree – this is the total inability to work, often also to live alone. It is called group I disability.
  • Moderate degree – this is a partial or total inability to work. It is called group II disability.
  • Light degree – is partial inability to work. It is called group III disability. The person has a physical impairment.

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Disability certificate and work

Employment of a disabled employee

The employment of a disabled employee in Poland is regulated by the Labour Code legislation, which aims to promote equal opportunities and the integration of persons with disabilities into the labour market. There is no prohibition of work or order to work under certain conditions in Polish law with regard to persons with disabilities.

Working time for a person with a disability

  • Persons with a degree of disability may not work more than 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. The working time standards for an employee with a moderate or severe disability are 7 hours per day and 35 hours per week.
  • A person with a disability may not work at night or overtime. However, the prohibition does not apply in two cases: if persons are employed to watch and if, at the request of the employed person, the occupational physician agrees.
  • A person with a disability degree is entitled to an additional break of 15 minutes at work. It can be used for rest or improvement exercises.
  • Other working time standards for disabled employees do not result in changes to the wages of disabled employees.

Right to additional annual leave

A person acquires the right to the first additional leave after having worked for one year from the date of the granting of a severe or moderate disability. Such a person is entitled to an additional leave of 10 working days per calendar year.

This leave shall not accrue to a person who has more than 26 working days of annual leave

Wage subsidy for a disabled person

If an employer employs disabled employees in his workplace, he is entitled to a monthly wage subsidy. This is paid by PFRON and only applies to persons who are included in the register kept by the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons.

Employers employing persons with a disability certificate are eligible for various forms of subsidy. The following are eligible for subsidy

  • any employer who employs a disabled person
  • a person who runs a sheltered workplace
  • employers who employ at least 25 full-time employees are required to achieve an employment rate of at least 6% of disabled persons
  • employers who do not have any obligations towards PFRON.

Subsidies are not available to employers who employ a disabled employee if:

  • they are employed on the basis of civil law contracts: contract of mandate or contract for specific work,
  • have a light or moderate degree of disability and have an established right to an old-age pension,
  • if the disabled employees are employed in a manner which provides for the payment of their remuneration from public funds, the subsidy may be granted only for the remaining part of the remuneration not covered by this funding.

The amount of the wage subsidy depends on:

  • The working time of the disabled employee – the subsidy is proportional to the working time of the employed employee.
  • Degree of disability – the higher the degree of disability, the higher the amount of funding.
  • Specific illnesses of the employee – in the case of disabled persons diagnosed with mental illness, mental retardation, holistic developmental disorders or epilepsy, and blind persons, the amount of co-financing is increased by 40% of the lowest salary.
  • Type of employer – sheltered workshops receive higher co-financing than companies from the open labour market.

The amount of subsidy depends on the degree of disability:

  • significant degree – PLN 1950
  • moderate degree – PLN 1,200
  • mild degree – PLN 450

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Disability certificate and work

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Job opportunities for people with a disability certificate

There are a wide variety of job offers for people with a disability certificate that take into account their specific skills, needs and abilities. Here are some examples:

  • Sheltered work – there are organisations that specialise in creating jobs for people with disabilities in what is known as sheltered work. They offer a variety of positions such as assembly, packaging, catering services or cleaning. Sheltered employment provides adequate support and adaptation of the workplace to the individual needs of employees.
  • Positions with adapted working conditions – some companies adapt working conditions, such as the accessibility of ramps, lifts, computer support programmes, to enable people with disabilities to perform a variety of jobs. These may include positions in administration, customer service, marketing, information technology, or many other fields.
  • Remote working – with the development of technology, many companies are offering remote working opportunities. For people with disabilities who find it difficult to travel to a traditional workplace, remote working can be an attractive option. They can perform a variety of tasks, such as writing, graphic design, translation, technical support, etc., while working from home or another convenient location.
  • Specialised employment programmes – in some cases there are special programmes or government initiatives that support the employment of people with disabilities. They may offer additional training, internship programmes, grants to employers or other support to facilitate access to work.

It is worth remembering that job opportunities for people with a disability certificate may vary depending on their individual skills, experience and preferences. It is important to use different sources of information, such as employment agencies, recruitment portals, work integration organisations or support programmes, to find offers that match one’s needs and career aspirations.

In conclusion, a disability rating can be a challenge for jobseekers, but should not be a barrier to career progression. There are many opportunities and support for people with a disability certificate that enable them to find rewarding employment. Through various programmes, tax credits, as well as specialised organisations and initiatives, people with disabilities have the opportunity to actively participate in working life. It is important to take advantage of the resources available, as well as to develop their skills and use their strengths in the job search process. A disability rating does not have to define one’s capabilities, and overcoming challenges can lead to professional success and satisfaction.

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