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Annual Leave in Poland: How does it work?

Last updated on January 14, 2019

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As some of you might know I have not been so active in this blog recently. I am sure my dear readers that you have missed me a lot ;). After 7 years leaving abroad, I moved back to Poland. I have never really worked in my home country and then suddenly I ended up accepting a job offer. I was lost with many things… Today I will write you about one of them and that is ….. Annual Leave in Poland! I guess quite an important one for many of us 🙂

Let try to explain to all of you a bit about vacation days in Poland.

Annual Leave – how many vacation days am I actually entitled to?

In Poland, you can get either 20 or 26 days of annual leave (working days). You, as an employee, are obliged to prove to your employer which one should you receive. If you do not submit the right documentation you would automatically be set into lower category.

So let me explain how  it works. You can fall onto two different categories:

  • 20 days – if your “work experience” is less than 10 years
  • 26 days – if your “work experience” is at least 10 years

It is important to know that under “work experience” we do not only consider proper professional experience but also time that you spend studying etc.

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So trying to get to your minimum of 10 years you should count

  • high school – 4 years
  • university (bachelor/master) – 8 years
  • technical school – 5 years
  • etc

Few items to bear in mind when calculating the “work experience” years

  1. You cannot add up two of the items mentioned above! So for example if you went to high school and then university, your work experience is not 4 years + 8 years but instead you choose only one of them. In this case that would be 8 years as it is more beneficial for you.
  2. Your studies and work experience will not be added up if they overlap. So for example if you were studying at the university and working at the same time only one of the items will count. So in the example above, let’s assume you went to university (counts as 8 years). In order to get to your 10 years necessary for 26 days of annual leave you will need to prove 2 years of professional experience that you gained at different time than the period of your studies.

For me exactly the second example happened.

Documents I needed to give to my employer

  1. copy of my university degree (I gave my polish Bachelor degree but if you have international one you would probably need to get it translated)
  2. proof of my professional experience – I had to contact my old employer in order to get a written confirmation of the time I worked there as well as I had to get it translated onto Polish. So if you do not have one or if you change jobs frequently I highly recommend you getting it as you never know when you need it 🙂

In such way I secured my 26 days of annual leave 🙂

There are few other interesting things that you need to know about how annual leave works in Poland:

  1. You are obliged to take at least once a year holidays of 10 working days at once
  1. Normally you have to inform your employer about your holidays in advance however there is something called “urlop na żądanie” which in direct translation means holiday on demand. It gives you opportunity to take holidays last minute and informing your employer just before your actual work day starts. So let’s say you normally start your work day at 9am, you should send a message to your employer by 8.59am 😉 You can use this excuse for 4 days during a year and these days will be discount from your vacation days. Theoretically your employer can still reject your request if the business operations depend on your presence however in fact it rarely happens. I have never heard of anyone being rejected this right so far.
  1. You can use your vacation days however you want. You can take 1 day randomly or 5 days at a time.
  2. 26 days allowance are week days! In direct translation that means you have 5 weeks and 1 day of annual leave allowance !
  3. Some of you asked me about public holidays whether they count on top or not. I have some good news for you 🙂 they count on top of your annual allowance. In addition to that, if the public holiday happens to be on Saturday and you are employed on a full time basis your employer is obliged to give you extra day of holiday. Remember it does not apply if public holiday happens to be on Sunday. As it was in my case the employer gave me recently an exact date of when I could use this extra day 🙂

I hope this post gave you answers to at least some of your questions. If you have more, do not hesitate writing comments underneath this post and I will try to help you get answers.


  1. David David October 22, 2017

    Interesting! When are you moving? Bettina and I are going to Krakow and Warsaw next week!

  2. Lucas Lucas October 28, 2017

    Hi, great article. Do you know if is possible take the 26 days in one shot?

    • Moving around and travelling Moving around and travelling October 28, 2017

      It depends whether you employer approves it but I haven’t heard of anyone taking that many at once 😉 I took 15 days last year at once

  3. Manos Manos October 28, 2017

    Hello, it is a solid article about the annual holidays that we are entitled to receive here in Poland. What it would possibly worth to mention too, would be the “interconnection” that some official public holidays have with the annual total of holidays, as well as the “what if” I travel for business reasons abroad during either weekend or a public holiday.
    Thank you.

  4. david david May 30, 2019

    Thank you for this article. I love your blog !!

    I have a question…
    One does the holiday can start ? I mean, for example I start a job today, how long should I wait to get my holidays ?
    I’m looking for a job at the moment in Poland and i’m already thinking about planning some travel haha.

    • Dagmara Dagmara Post author | May 30, 2019

      Glad you are liking the blog !!! Haha have you had a job in Poland before ? Generally, in the first year after each month of work you get 1/12 of your allowance. So if you are eligible for 26 days after 1 month you can take 1/12 multiplied by 26. However, you can try to talk to youd boss and ask for some advance holidays 🙂 good luck in your job search !

  5. WAJAHAT WAJAHAT November 14, 2019

    Hi, what about the scenario when an employee didn’t use all of their 26 leaves in a year? What happens to the balance? Are they carried forward over to the next year?
    Is there a limit to the number of leaves that can be carried forward?

    • Rafael Rafael November 19, 2019

      Hi Wajahat, yes, the balance is carried forward to the next year. But I confess don’t really know if there’s a limit to that number of days.

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