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Working life in Poland

Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
25 Jul 2016 #1
What is it like working in Poland? Are employees expected to do lots of overtimes like in the US/Canada? Or more like Germany/France 9-5 and go home?

The company I'm speaking with is offering me a "permanent contract" after a 3-month probation period, which they said is standard. I'm wondering what "permanent" means for a Polish contract. Does it offer the same employment protection as in Germany (for example), where it's extremely difficult to fire anyone after the prob period? Thanks in advance for the input.
Lyzko 25 | 7,009
25 Jul 2016 #2
Alltimegreat1, first and foremost is obviously to learn the language! As in Germany, Poles CAN be arrogant and self-important-sounding if they perceive, rightly or wrongly, that you don't respect their culture enough to bother to learn their mother tongue:-) Unlike in Frankfurt, even in Warszawa or other larger urban centers in Poland, people are usually hard-pressed to speak fluent English, try and try as they may.

Secondly, obtain a work permit and/or working visa throughout your stay. There's been talk about abolishing visas for visitors aka tourists from certain countries, but I'd advise you just to err on the side of caution.

Third, get hold of a fluent English speaker (either an expat Brit or even a Pole living abroad for a while!) to walk you through the ropes regarding daily business. It's likely to get a little sticky otherwise (if you know what I meanLOL)

OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
25 Jul 2016 #3
Thanks, my company will be taking care of all that for me. Any thoughts on the "permanent" employment contract? I just saw some nice apartment ads in Wroclaw offering air conditioning! That's impossible to find in Germany.
Lyzko 25 | 7,009
25 Jul 2016 #4
About the latter, I honestly couldn't say:-)
Nojas 4 | 110
26 Jul 2016 #5
Overtime is hard to say, it really varies on company and role (obviously the more senior role the more overtime can be expected just like anywhere else). Overtime though is paid out or taken out in lieu, so you won't be doing overtime for free for most roles (again, managers and such usually have no paid overtime like anywhere else). For the most part, it's more 9-5 and go home.

Permanent contract does not offer the same protection like Germany (wouldn't know from personal experience) or Sweden. It can be terminated and you have 1 month notice period (if working for a company less than 3 years) and 3 months notice period if working for more than 3 years. However the real job security is that there are an abundant of jobs if you have the right profile, and perhaps you will feel that 1 month notice period is way too long for you... So far I haven't seen or heard of any "illegitimate" terminations, i.e you won't get fired unless you are a total screw up.

You will have either 20 or 26 vacation days a year (and you are required to have 1 two consecutive weeks holiday per year) depending on your "experience".

10 years "experience" grants you 26 days and less than that grants you 20 days. A university degree counts as 8 years, so you need two years work experience after you've graduated (counted from the day of your graduation).
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Jul 2016 #6
So you're saying an employee who has passed the three-month probation period can still be fired or let go for any reason, but the employer has to provide a one-month or three-month notice period? That doesn't sound like very good job security.
26 Jul 2016 #7
Why shouldnt an employer be able to let go of an employee if he chooses to do so. For example useless one? There is one simple way for job safety. Dont suck.
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Jul 2016 #8
Point taken. In other countries with similarly high taxes like Germany, however, simply sucking is rarely sufficient for dismissal. I would expect high taxes and high job security to go hand in hand.

Could someone with experience working in both Poland and Germany give their take on this please?
26 Jul 2016 #9
Well you cannot just fire a long time employee, you have to have grounds i.e. no bonus months, warnings, etc, otherwise emplyer can be sued in "employment" court (i am sure there is a better translation lol), but yeah, it can happen.
cms 9 | 1,271
26 Jul 2016 #10
I worked in US and Germany and Poland so have some comparative experience

Poland sits somewhere between American attitudes and German ones - if you are lower down the company then 9-5 is OK. But if you come in on a high wage, needing people to translate for you and getting an apartment and travel, then leaving at 5 will certainly raise eyebrows with your coworkers. What I normally tell my new hires at mgmt level is that its not 9-5 but it can be 9 - 6.30.

On notice periods then as Nojas says, after the 3 months period you don't have much security. But you will never find anywhere with job security like Germany/France, so if that is your priority then suggest you roll with it and get used to the aircon (BTW, many of your Polish coworkers will also complain about it !). I remember when I was in Germany a guy punching a client at the Oktoberfest and that not being sufficient reason to fire him :)
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Jul 2016 #11
Looks like they'll be making me an offer of around €5,000/month, which everyone keeps saying is like 5 or 6 times what the average Pole earns. Nevertheless, 5k is not really that much in a country like Germany, and especially not in the US. Prices in Poland aren't really that much cheaper than Germany I've found by researching. About 1/3 cheaper I'd say, which is nowhere near enough to justify the low wages being talked about on this forum. I'm really willing to give Poland a shot, but I'd need about €7,500/month to be worth it. We'll see what happens.

I know a guy who passed out drunk in the client's parking garage with a bottle in hand and needed to be taken to the hospital. He wasn't fired.
Lyzko 25 | 7,009
26 Jul 2016 #12
Majkel_temp, your approach to the employment situation of simply hire/fire at will, without giving prior warning, without concern for the employee let go, without standard, along with the philosophy "Don't suck..!" (which I presume in plain English means "Always be certain to do a good job!") makes you a prime candidate for business life in the US!!!:-) What are ya hangin' around ol' socialist Poland for, come over to the States, where anything goes...and anyoneLOL

Screw the other guy, that's the ticket!! (Donald Trump, I hope you're listening)

Lots of luck, dude:-)
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Jul 2016 #13
What the hell is the point of having a 3-month probation period at all if an employee can be fired just as easily thereafter?
It's unlikely that Mr. Trump follows Polish Forums, but if he did, he'd tell you you're hired.
Lyzko 25 | 7,009
26 Jul 2016 #14
......and I him, that HE'S fired!!!

Couldn't agree with you more, Alltimegreat1:-) It's capitalism on steroids and the only thing that can stop it before it continues to infect Poland and other countries like the cancer it is, is for there to be some mega political trainwreck so that people finally wake up:-)

Germany still has rules and regulations regarding hire/fire, "Kuendigungsfrist", they call it, if memory serves me correctly.
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Jul 2016 #15
K├╝ndigungsschutz it's called. K├╝ndigungsfrist is the notice period the employee must provide when quitting.
There are a number of Germans who abuse the rule, taking 6 weeks or more of paid sick leave every year in addition to their 6 weeks vacation. It's nearly impossible to fire some who is lazy but thick skinned and can withstand harassment aimed at making him quit. The system in the US us ok, no protection but really high pay. Poland unfortunately seems to have the worst of both worlds.
Lyzko 25 | 7,009
26 Jul 2016 #16
Precisely, the "Kuendigungsschutzgesetz" goes strictly according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic concerning the period aka "Frist" during which time an employee may be both hired as well as terminated:-)

Much of Eastern Europe since the collapse of the Wall in and around '89-'90 has turned into a nightmare of out-of-control greed as an overcompensation for generations of Soviet-regulated government control. The most egregious example of this problem of course is Russia!!
OP Alltimegreat1 16 | 67
26 Jul 2016 #17
Russia has a 13% flat income tax, one of the best in Europe. Poland has a marginal rate of 32%. That's a huge difference, especially given that both countries are fairly poor.
Lyzko 25 | 7,009
26 Jul 2016 #18
That's because Russian business has been hell-bent on Americanizing, Poland retains a heavy dose of socialism (to her credit, I might add - no pun intendedLOL).

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