Employment rights of people with disabilities

Employment rights of people with disabilities

Additional labor rights for people with disabilities are regulated in Chapter 4 of the Law of August 27, 1997. on vocational and social rehabilitation and the employment of disabled persons, as well as in the executive orders to this law.

Employee entitlements are granted to a person with a disability from the date on which he or she is included in the employer’s disabled employment status. A person with a disability is included in the employment status of persons with disabilities, starting from the date of presentation to the employer of a certificate confirming the disability (when it is the first certificate presented to the employer).

When the employer receives a subsequent disability certificate, the person in question is counted as a disabled employee from the date of the certificate application (if the certificate shows that the person was incapacitated during this period, and the application was filed no later than the day after the expiration date of the previous disability certificate). If, on the other hand, the application for a subsequent certificate was submitted after the expiration of the previous certificate confirming disability, the disabled person shall be counted in the employment status for up to 3 months preceding the date of presentation of the subsequent certificate to the employer, if the certificate shows that the person was disabled during this period.


According to current regulations, the working hours of a disabled person must not exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. On the other hand, disabled people classified as having a severe or moderate degree of disability can work a maximum of 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week. A person with a disability may not be employed at night and overtime.

Shorter working hours for a person classified as severely or moderately disabled does not reduce the salary to which he is entitled. A person who received a salary at a fixed monthly rate and presented a certificate of severe or moderate disability is entitled to a salary at the existing rate. On the other hand, for an employee moving to reduced working hours, whose salary is determined at an hourly rate (corresponding to the personal classification or grading of the work performed), the rate of basic salary should be increased accordingly (in the ratio of his previous working hours to the reduced time).


The aforementioned restrictions on the working hours of people with disabilities do not apply:

  • towards those employed in guarding and
  • when agreed upon, at the request of the employee, by the doctor conducting preventive examinations of employees or, in the absence of such a doctor, by the doctor caring for the person.


Na podstawie art. 134 of the Labor Code, all employees whose daily working hours are at least 6 hours are entitled to a break of at least 15 minutes. A disabled person – regardless of the daily working hours – is also entitled to an additional 15-minute break for improvement gymnastics or rest. The time of both breaks mentioned above is included in working time


A person with a severe or moderate disability certificate is entitled to additional vacation leave of 10 working days per calendar year. The person becomes entitled to the 39th first additional leave after working for one year after obtaining a certificate of one of these degrees of disability.

However, an additional leave is not granted to a person entitled to a leave of absence of more than 26 working days or to an additional leave of 10 days under separate regulations. If a disabled person is entitled, under separate regulations, to an additional leave of less than 10 working days, he or she shall be entitled to an additional leave of 10 days for disability instead of this leave.


A person with a significant or moderate degree of disability is also entitled to up to 21 working days off work to attend a rehabilitation camp, no more often than once a year. An employee seeking to participate in a rehabilitation camp should obtain an application for referral to such a camp from the physician in charge of his care. In this application, the doctor specifies the type of turn and its duration. The employee should submit a referral for a rehabilitation camp at such a time as to enable the employer to ensure the normal course of work at the workplace. The basis for payment of remuneration for time off from work in connection with a stay at a rehabilitation camp is a document submitted to the employer confirming participation in the camp (usually an invoice), issued by its organizer. For the time of the discussed leave of absence, disabled employees are entitled to remuneration calculated as if it were cash equivalent for annual leave.

According to the Law on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities, the total amount of additional leave and time off from work to attend a rehabilitation camp cannot exceed 21 working days per calendar year.


A disabled employee with a severe or moderate disability certificate is entitled to time off from work for the purpose of:

  • to perform specialized tests,
  • To undergo treatment or improvement,
  • obtaining orthopedic supplies or their repair, if these activities cannot be performed outside working hours.

For the time off from work, the employee retains the right to remuneration calculated as if it were cash equivalent for annual leave.


An employed person who, as a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease, has lost the ability to work in his or her current position, the employer is obliged to assign or organize another suitable workstation with basic welfare facilities, no later than within 3 months from the date of the person’s notification of his or her readiness to join the workforce. Notification of the person’s readiness to join the workforce should be made within one month of the date on which the person is recognized as disabled.

If the sole cause of an accident at work was a violation of health and safety regulations by the employee through his fault or as a result of his intoxication, the employer is relieved of the above-mentioned obligations.


A significant or moderate degree of disability does not exclude the possibility of employing a disabled person with an employer who does not provide protected labor conditions. This is possible under the condition that this employer adapts the workplace to the needs of a disabled person or in the case of employment in the form of telecommuting .

Inspection of the adaptation of the workplace to the needs of a disabled person is carried out by the State Labor Inspectorate.


The employer must provide the necessary reasonable accommodation for the disabled person:

  • remaining in an employment relationship with him,
  • participating in the recruitment process or undergoing training, internship, vocational preparation or apprenticeship or graduate training.

Necessary reasonable accommodation consists of carrying out changes or adjustments necessary in a specific situation to meet the specific needs (notified to the employer) resulting from a person’s disability, provided that the realization of such changes or adjustments does not result in the imposition of a disproportionate burden on the employer.

The burden mentioned above is not disproportionate if it is sufficiently compensated by public funds. Failure to make necessary reasonable accommodation shall be considered a violation of the principle of equal treatment in employment (within the meaning of Article 183a § 2-5 of the Labor Code of June 26, 1974 ).


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