During a stay abroad, an employee may become ill and therefore receive a sick leave. Both sick pay and sickness benefit are payable for the period of sick leave taken abroad. In order to receive these benefits, it doesn’t matter whether the stay abroad was related to work or leisure.

1. Documents which constitute the basis for the granting and payment of social security benefits in the event of sickness and maternity

The legal act which specifies documents constituting the basis for the granting and payment of social security benefits in the event of sickness and maternity is the Act of 25 June 1999 on cash benefits from social security in case of sickness and maternity (i.e. Official Journal of 2021, item 1133, as amended), hereinafter referred to as the Act. In accordance with Article 53(1) of the Act, when determining the entitlement to allowances and their amount, the evidences which confirm temporary incapacity for work due to illness, stay in a hospital or in other health care institution of a medical entity pursuing medical activities such as stationary and 24-hour health services or the need for personal care of sick family member are the medical certificates referred to in Article 55(1) and Article 55a(7) or a printout of the medical certificate referred to in Article 55a 6. The quoted provision concerns the following documents:

  • a medical certificate issued in accordance with a fixed formula, via the ICT system, in the form of an electronic document, signed with a qualified electronic signature, a trusted signature, a personal signature or using a method of confirming the data origin and integrity (Article 55(1) of the Act);
  • a medical certificate drawn up on a medical certificate form, printed out from the ICT system, signed and stamped by the doctor (Article 55a(7) of the Act);
  • a printout of the medical certificate issued from the ICT system, signed and stamped by the doctor (Article 55a(6) of the Act).

The above-mentioned provisions apply to medical certificates issued in the territory of the Republic of Poland.

2. Certificate of incapacity for work issued abroad

A medical certificate issued abroad also constitutes the basis for the payment of sick pay and sickness benefit in Poland. According to ZUS on its website, a certificate from a foreign medical institution or a foreign doctor must be submitted in order to receive sickness benefit in Poland. This document should contain the following data:

  • name of a foreign medical institution or first name and surname of a foreign doctor,
  • date of issue,
  • doctor’s signature,
  • starting and closing dates of the incapacity for work.

At this point, it should be noted that an employee who has become ill abroad should try to get a sick leave issued by a doctor. After the return to the country, it may be very difficult or even impossible to obtain this document from abroad.

3. Should the certificate issued by a foreign medical institution or a foreign doctor be translated into Polish?

As a general rule, a medical certificate issued abroad should be translated into Polish by a sworn translator. The lack of such translation may result in the refusal to pay the sickness benefit.

It’s not necessary to provide a translation of the certificate into Polish in the event of its issuing in the territory and in the official languages:

  • of the Member States of the European Union,
  • of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member States – parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, parties to international agreements on social security to which the Republic of Poland is a party.

A medical certificate issued in one of above-mentioned countries, in its official language, may be translated if it helps to determine whether this document has been properly issued and what its content is.

4. Legal notice

The study is a work within the meaning of the Act of 4 February 1994 on Copyright and Related Rights (OJ 2006, No. 90, item 631, consolidated text, as amended). Publishing or reproducing this study or its part, quoting opinions, as well as disseminating in any other way the information contained therein without the written consent of Crede sp. z o.o. is prohibited.

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