Disability in the workplace

May 22, 2024

Employing a disabled person is part of vocational rehabilitation for these people. This requires the employer to meet certain conditions and criteria, and also provides for benefits in the form of subsidies for them. 

There are three degrees of disability:  

  • mild – people with a reduced ability to perform work   
  • moderate – people unable to work or able to work under conditions of protected labour or temporary or full care of others  
  • severe – people unable to work or capable only in conditions of protected labour or long-term care of others 

Workplace of a disabled person 

The Ordinance of September 26, 1997, regulates health and safety regulations for the workplace of people with disabilities. The conditions applicable to the workplace take into account equipment that protects a disabled person from inconveniences or dangerous places. The employer is also obliged to adapt the facilities in the bathroom, such as the sink or toilet, and the means of access to them, taking into account the regulations of the building. The 2002 Ordinance of the Minister of Infrastructure on technical facilities for the disabled in buildings stipulates:

  • use of doors without thresholds, 
  • guaranteeing a manoeuvring space of 1.5 × 1.5 m,  
  • equipping the room with handles to facilitate the use of hygienic and sanitary facilities,  
  • fixing a suitable toilet bowl and sink, as well as a shower spray, if provided.  

Facilities for access and entry to the building are also extremely important. Parking spaces for the disabled should be properly marked and located at the very beginning of the car park. Buildings with stairs should have an additional ramp for people in wheelchairs. 

Working time of a disabled person

Pursuant to Articles 15 and 16 of the RZSON Act, the working time of a disabled person may not exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. People with a severe or moderate degree of disability can work no more than 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week.

Overtime or night work in the case of disabled people does not apply. When a disabled person starts working fewer hours, the employer increases the hourly wage according to their duties and position. However, there are exceptions: 

  • regarding persons employed in guarding,
  • if, at the request of the employee, the doctor who conducts preventive examinations of employees agrees.

In addition, there is time for a break or gymnastics for people with disabilities. The break time is set at 15 minutes, and this is the time included in the working time of a disabled person. 

Annual leave 

Disabled employees, with a moderate or severe disability, are entitled to an additional holiday leave of 10 working days for a given calendar year.   

A disabled person receives additional leave when they work for one year after the date of qualifying them to the previously mentioned degrees of disability. 

Who is not entitled to additional leave? 

Additional leave is not granted if the person is entitled to a holiday leave for a period longer than 26 working days, or to other additional leave based on specific regulations. If the amount of such additional leave is lower than 10 working days, then a disabled person with a moderate/severe degree of disability will be entitled to the entire 10-day additional holiday leave. 

Additional privileges 

Disambeld employees s have a leave from work with the right to remuneration: 

  • up to 21 working days, through participation in a rehabilitation camp, participation is granted once every year,
  • in order to perform specialist examinations or medical treatments that cannot take place outside working hours. 

Remuneration for dismissal from work is determined as a cash equivalent as part of annual leave. The employee is required to submit a medical certificate specifying his or her degree of disability. 

What are the benefits for the employer? 

An employer employing people with disabilities may receive a subsidy for the salaries of these people. 

The conditions for receiving funding are:  

  • running a sheltered workshop,
  • employing a minimum of 25 employees, and the employment rate of people with disabilities is at least 6%,
  • with fewer than 25 employees. 

The maximum amounts that an employer can receive when employing a disabled person full-time are: 

  • 1950 zł per employed disabled person with a severe disability, 
  • 1200 zł per employed disabled person with a moderate degree of disability, 
  • 450 zł per employed disabled person with a mild degree of disability. 

The employer may also receive reimbursement of costs related to the adaptation of rooms for the disabled. The condition is that such people are employed for a period of at least 36 months.   

The reimbursement of costs is also covered by PFRON (State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons). All the employer has to do is submit an appropriate application. Reimbursement includes: 

  • expenses related to the adaptation of the premises of the workplace, 
  • purchase of equipment to improve the functioning and work of a disabled person, 
  • adaptation of software and devices for employees with disabilities,  
  • determination of the needs of people with disabilities by occupational health services. 


Text based on: https://poradnikprzedsiebiorcy.pl/-zatrudnienie-osoby-niepelnosprawnej-korzysci-i-uprawnienia-osob-niepelnosprawnych

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