National insurance and being self-employed in Poland

First of all, you need to be aware that in Poland paying the national insurance contributions is the legal obligation of every person who is self-employed or is running a business. The Institution responsible for managing this process is called ZUS (the Polish Social Insurance Institution) and you can read more about it here.

ZUS will be aware of your business as soon as you fill out the CEIDG-1 form when you apply to be self-employed. A copy of this form will be automatically sent to the organisation so you don’t have to do anything else just to make sure you pay ZUS on time. Before we focus on when to pay ZUS let’s look closer at the contribution split, rates and how the calculations are managed.

Polish national insurance contributions & rates

The national insurance contribution consists of:

  • Social insurance fee
  • Retirement fee
  • Health insurance fee
  • Disablement benefit fee
  • Sickness fee
  • Emergency fee
  • Labour fund fee

The self-employed social insurance rate is adjusted every year based on the average monthly income of all self-employed citizens in Poland. Then ZUS calculates the rates by taking 60% of the monthly average. In 2018 the estimated average monthly income was set at 4 443 PLN which gives us 2 665,80 PLN (60%) base.

Standard national insurance rates

Insurance contribution Percentage of the contribution Without the voluntary sickness fee With the voluntary sickness fee
Social insurance fee 31,77% 781,61 PLN 846,92 PLN
Retirement fee 19.52% 520,36 PLN
Health insurance fee 9% 319,94 PLN
Disablement benefit fee 8% 213,26 PLN
Sickness fee 2,45% 0 PLN 65,31PLN
Emergency fee 1.80% 47,98 PLN
Labour fund fee 2,45% 65,31 PLN
Together 1 166,87 PLN 1 232,18 PLN

Preferential national insurance rates

The Polish government, in order to support entrepreneurship and growth of small businesses, offers small companies 2-years national insurance preferential rates, however not all new business are eligible to receive this support.

You can benefit from the preferential contributions only if you:

  • Launched economic activity not earlier than 25 August 2005;
  • Do not run or within the last 60 calendar months before the date of commencement of the business did not carry off-farm activities;
  • Do not do business with a former employer, for which before the commencement of business in the current or preceding calendar year,
    performed similar activities as part of employment relationships or cooperative employment activities within the scope of its business operations;
  • The maximum period of the concession is 24 calendar months, calculated from the date of commencement of business.
Insurance contribution Percentage of the contribution Without the voluntary sickness fee With the voluntary sickness fee
Social insurance fee 31,77% 184,72 PLN 200,15 PLN
Retirement fee 19.52% 122,98 PLN
Health insurance fee 9% 319,94 PLN
Disablement benefit fee 8% 50,40 PLN
Sickness fee 2,45% 0 PLN 15,44 PLN
Emergency fee 1.80% 11,34 PLN
Labour fund fee 2,45% 0 PLN
Together 504,66 PLN 520,09 PLN

How to optimise the eligibility to pay the preferential rates as long as possible

You can make sure that you get the most out of the preferential rates if you register your company on the 2nd and any later day of the month as ZUS calculates the rates based on the business status on the 1st day of the given month. For example, if you register your business on the 1st of June 2018 you will pay the preferential rate for the 24 months until the 31st of May 2020. However, if you register your company on the 2nd of June 2018 the preferential period extends until the 30th of June 2020.

How and when to pay the Polish National Insurance contributions

Until 2017 in Poland business owners had to make three different bank transfer into three different ZUS accounts in order to pay for the National Insurance contribution. Thankfully that has been changed and from 2018 there is only one bank account that the payment has to be made to.

Every self-employed person has it’s own bank account number that the contribution should be transferred on. As a part of the business set up process, ZUS will send you a mail with your number. However, if you haven’t got it or you lost it you can always go to your local ZUS office to confirm it or alternatively, call the helpline (phone number: 22 560 16 00). Your individual bank account will be made of 26 numbers and it will include your National Insurance ID number and your NIP number (the last 10 numbers).

If you are self-employed your ZUS contribution has to be paid by the 10th of every month.

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