GN 01751.015 Coverage and Contributions under the Polish System
A. Introduction to Poland’s Social Security program
Poland has two separate Social Security programs, a general system of coverage under the Social Insurance Institution (Zaklad Ubezpieczen Spolecznych-ZUS) based on laws concerning social security for non-agricultural workers and an agricultural workers program of coverage under the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (Kasa Rolniczego Ubezpieczenia Spolecznego-KRUS), based on the laws concerning farmers.
B. Policy — Compulsory coverage under the Polish Social Security system
The following provides information about compulsory coverage under the Polish system.
1. Social Insurance Institution (Zaklad Ubezpieczen Spolecznych-ZUS)
In general, all non-farmers working in Poland are covered under the ZUS program. Prior to January 1, 1999, the ZUS program consisted of a defined benefits system. On January 1, 1999, ZUS initiated a two-tier retirement benefits system. The first tier is a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) with theoretical defined contributions. The second tier is fully-funded, privately-managed individual account-defined contributions program administered by ZUS.
2. Agricultural Social Insurance Fund (Kasa Rolniczego Ubezpieczenia Spolecznego-KRUS)
Funding and benefits are based on contributions and general revenue subsidies, and are distinct from those of ZUS. Qualifying factors for old-age benefits are also distinct from those of ZUS.
C. Policy — Voluntary coverage under the Polish Social Security system
Coverage under the Polish Social Security system is voluntary for Polish citizens employed abroad by a foreign employer. Coverage is also voluntary for Polish citizens working for a foreign employer at a branch office in Poland; spouses of certain diplomatic, cultural, information organization and institute employees posted abroad; certain persons caring for family members; certain persons engaged in Ph.D. studies; certain members under age 25 of religious organizations; and certain professionals from other European Union states.
Prior to 1999, employers paid all social insurance contributions. As of 1999, this contribution liability equaled approximately 45 percent of the workers’ gross earnings.
Under the new rules (January 1, 1999), self-employed workers opting to make health insurance, sickness and maternity contributions and workers opting for voluntary coverage pay 100 percent of all contributions.