In order for periods of employment, insurance or self-employment in Poland to be taken into account when applying for unemployment benefit in an EU, EEA country other than Poland, in the United Kingdom or Switzerland, it’s necessary to present a U1 certificate to the institution competent in matters of unemployment. Such a document is also needed when an unemployed person who provided work in one of the EU, EEA countries, in the UK or Switzerland applies for unemployment benefit in Poland. In this article, we will explain what the U1 certificate is and how to obtain it.
1. Union legislation
According to Article 61(1) of the Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems (Text with relevance for the EEA and for Switzerland) (OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p.1) The competent institution of a Member State whose legislation makes the acquisition, retention, recovery or continuation of the right to benefits conditional upon the completion of periods of insurance, employment or self-employment takes into account, to the extent necessary, periods of insurance, employment or self-employment completed under the legislation of another Member State as though they had been completed under the legislation it applies. However, in the event that the applicable legislation makes entitlement to benefits dependent on the completion of periods of insurance, periods of insurance, employment or self-employment completed under the legislation of another Member State aren’t taken into account unless they would have been regarded as periods of insurance in case of their completion in conformity with the applicable legislation.
The quoted provision establishes the obligation of taking into account the periods of insurance, employment or self-employment in the territory of another country when determining entitlement to benefits for unemployed persons by the institutions competent in matters of unemployment in EU, EEA Member States, in the United Kingdom or Switzerland. It should be done “to the extent necessary”. The document containing information used for the implementation of the obligation in question is the U1 form. It confirms periods on employment, insurance and self-employment that took place in the issuing country. Such an attestation is issued by competent foreign institutions.
In order to facilitate the use of the U1 certificate, the document has been unified. Thereby, it has the same appearance regardless of which country it was issued in.
2. Obtaining the U1 certificate abroad via the voivodeship labour office
The person who has registered with the Labour Office as unemployed and wants to receive unemployment benefit should present documents showing that he/she fulfils conditions for granting this allowance. Such documents are usually employment certificates and attestations from principals. I In the event that the unemployed person worked in one of the EU, EEA countries, in the United Kingdom or Switzerland, he/she should also submit the U1 certificate. The unemployed person should obtain this document during his/her stay abroad, in the State where he/she was employed, insured or self-employed. The internal provisions of each EU, EEA country, of the UK and Switzerland define the rules for applying for the U1 form and the authorities competent to issue the attestation.
If the unemployed person, despite the fact that he/she worked abroad, doesn’t have a U1 certificate, he/she should apply for it via the Voivodeship Labour Office (Wojewódzki Urząd Pracy – abbreviated as WUP) to the institution competent in matters of unemployment. For this purpose, the appropriate application should be completed. It should be accompanied by documents proving periods of employment, insurance, self-employment in the country where the requested institution is located. The type of attached documents depends on the State where the work was performed. For example: in the event of work in France, the following documents should be attached: a copy of the ID card or passport, a copy of the residence permit (if the application is submitted by a non-EU national), a copy of the internship and/or training certificate, a copy of the document on the assignment of a social security number or of the health insurance card (“carte vitale”), a copy of the employer’s certificate (“Attestation employeur”) for each period of employment covered by the application, and in the absence of this certificate: copies of the last 4 payslips, a copy of the proof of employment for each period of employment covered by the application, a copy of the notice of termination or reference from the last employer, or of another document from the last employer indicating the date and reason for termination of an employment relationship. On the other hand, persons employed in Denmark should attach a copy of the document confirming the assignment of the Danish CPR registration number.
WUP sends the completed documentation to the appropriate foreign institution. After consulting this documentation and examining it, the competent foreign institution makes a decision on issuing the U1 certificate.
Unfortunately, the regulations don’t specify the time limit within witch the foreign institution competent in matters of unemployment should respond to a request for a U1 certificate. It happens that it’s necessary to wait even several months for the U1 form to be issued by a foreign institution.
3. Obtaining the PD U1 certificate in Poland
If an unemployed person plans to apply for unemployment benefit abroad, he/she should obtain a U1 certificate in Poland. This attestation is issued, at the request of the person concerned, by WUP competent for the applicant’s last place of residence in the territory of Poland. The application shall be accompanied by documents confirming periods of employment, insurance and self-employment in this country. These include, for example:
- employment certificates – when the applicant worked under an employment contract;
- a certificate from the employer or from ZUS (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych – the Social Insurance Institution) with information on the monthly amounts of salary – if the applicant worked under a part-time employment contract;
- a certificate from the principal or from ZUS with information on the monthly amounts of salary – in case of work performed on the basis of a civil law contract (e.g. contract of mandate, service contract);
- a certificate from ZUS concerning: the period of economic activity, the basis on which contributions were paid, and the actual paid contributions to the Labour Fund – when the work was performed as part of self-employment;
- a certificate from KRUS (Kasa Rolniczego Ubezpieczenia Społecznego – the Agricultural Social Insurance Fund) on the period of compulsory insurance for farmers – in the event that the applicant was subject to insurance in KRUS.
The institutions competent in matters of unemployment of some countries make the amount of unemployment benefit dependent on the earnings received by the applicant. Therefore, it’s necessary to present documents showing the amount of earnings obtained by the applicant. In the event that the applicant performed work under an employment contract or a civil law contract, he/she should provide a certificate of monthly earnings issued by – respectively – the employer or the principal. On the other hand, a person performing work as part of self-employment should present a certificate from ZUS on the basis of the contribution paid.
The attestation is issued within 7 days. It can be picked up directly at WUP. It can also be sent to the address indicated by the applicant.
It’s also possible to apply for a U1 certificate issued by WUP through a foreign institution. It occurs when the person concerned has registered as unemployed with a foreign institution competent in matters of unemployment and applies for unemployment benefit there, but doesn’t have a U1 form covering work in Poland. An unemployed person may submit an application to this institution to confirm on its behalf the periods of employment, insurance and self-employment in Poland. Documents required by this foreign institution must be attached to the application. The foreign institution is obliged to forward the application with attachments to WUP. After obtaining a complete set of documents, the Polish institution will issue the U1 certificate and send it directly to the foreign one.
4. Legal notice
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