Understand the types of contracts in Warsaw and in Poland

Before starting applying to jobs opportunities in Warsaw or in the polish market, it is important to understand what you should expect as type of contracts that you can expect. You may find some similarities with other european countries. Let’s understand the possible legal relationship between an employee and an employer.

Internships in Warsaw

If you are a student willing to make a mandatory or not internship, willing to get an international experience in the growing east pearl of Europe, Warsaw is definitely the right choice. Or, you just want to gain experiences in a startup or a company before starting a full-time job as employee, you may be wishing to start an internship.

So, first of the first, how do you say “internship” in Polish? There you go: “staż”. The frenchies around will understand it quite easy as it is in French “stage”.

Types of internships / staż

Short term internships and summer internships

Between university semester or right after graduation, a short term or summer semester internships could be a good beginning to start gaining experiences in a field or in a branch. It is always good to discover and to help companies / departments to deal with summer actions. Mostly, the staż can be between 2,3 and 4 months. Sometimes it is possible to get hired after those staż.

Long-term internships

Long-term internships in Warsaw are another type of getting closer to the working world. With longer period of internship you get chance to learn more skills and to apply them concretely. You can find offers between 5 and 12 months, and mostly, you can find them for 6 months, like a semester.

Paid vs unpaid internships

Though there is some paid internships and they offer a greater motivation, you will find also more unpaid internships that could be a great door for getting an employment contract afterwards. Maybe you will encounter less competition in the unpaid internships. We recommend you to check with attention the missions and ask proper questions at the interview to understand well what you will do. Sometimes unpaid internships in Warsaw will be more interesting for experiences than paid staż. In the long term, you can get better full-time jobs in the near future.

Trainee opportunities

In Warsaw, as the polish capital, you will find institutions, corporations or startups that are recruiting trainees. As a recent form of first jobs after graduations, you can start to find in already well-established companies.

Work as an employee

When you start your career in startups or corporations in Warsaw, you will get a contract. At this step, it is important to read, to understand and to master the regulations and the laws around this type of polish contract.

Full-time vs Part-time in Poland

There are many different types of employment ranging from Corporate and Private Law to Debt Collections, Personal Data Protection, International trade, Construction, Infrastructure, IT/eCommerce, Transportation and many more opportunities that can be referenced on local Polish job websites.


There are different working time systems employers utilize to set the times to be worked. This can be a 5 day/40 hour work week though sometimes the system has been known to have a 12 hour or even 24 hour shift with a total of 40 hours in a work week still set.

Part-time / temporary work

These agreements are more set within definite time frames and deadlines since it is temporary work. Hours are set by the employer and specified in the agreement. Further information can be found online.

Contract minimum

An employment agreement should specify the parties involved within the agreement, the type of terms agreed upon as well as the date of conclusion, work and remuneration conditions along with the type of work involved, place the work is performed, amount of time worked each day and also the employment start date. The employer must provide in writing within 7 days the standard and weekly time binding the worker, the frequency of remuneration payments, the length of annual leave and length of notice required if employment is to be terminated.

2 main types of contract

Polish contracts for employees consist of two main types as listed below:

There are Regular Employment contracts which are an employment agreement basis between employer and employee
There is also Civil law agreement basis which is where persons working under Civil Law agreements are considered temporary, not employees.

Regular Employment contracts (Umowa o pracę)

Civil law contracts

Umowa zlecenie
Umowa o dzieło

Working times and vacations in Warsaw Poland

Poland offers ideal work hours at a maximum of 8 hours per day and no more than 40 hours per week under a 5 day work period. Those that exceed the average 5 day work week and/or 40 hours are entitled to additional compensation for the time worked over the specified amount. Under certain circumstances, employers have been known to provide a working system for their workers to allot additional time worked within a day or week when applicable as indicated in the Polish Labour code.

Regarding paid time off, an employee is entitled to paid leave consisting of 20 days if they have worked at the same employment for under 10 years. Employees are entitled to 26 days of paid leave when they work for over 10 years at the same employment.

Periods of previous employment are considered/counted regardless of intervals in the employment or how the relationship ended when determining the right to leave and the amount the employee is entitled to.

If an employee attends school while being employed, the amount of time most favourable will be considered at that point.

In the event of changing the employer during the year, the employee is entitled to paid leave as follows:
With the current employer an amount proportional to the period worked in a calendar year up until the relationship ends the employee is entitled to their leave unless it was used up prior to the relationship ending.

More information for eligibility of paid leave and time off can be found online.

Ways of ending a work relationship – contract terminations

There are three ways of terminating an employment agreement in Warsaw, Poland.

  • The first is a termination by mutual consent between both parties
  • The second is a termination with advanced notice
  • The third is a termination without any advanced notice

For instance if an employee commits a severe violation of their duties or commits an offence that would prevent further occupation within their position of employment. Also if an employee loses a license necessary to perform their job duties.

If an employee is unable to work due to an illness for more than 3 months but has been employed less than 6 months their current employer has the right to termination without notice.

An employee has the right to terminate their employment agreement without notice if they receive a medical certificate stating that their work duties are harmful to recovery and/or overall health. They also have the right to immediate termination if the employer has violated the basic duties of the employee.

Further information can be found online about the time frames and requirements of terminating an employment agreement.