Right to paid special leave – days-off for people with disability – Part II


Pursuant to Act. 20 of the Act on professional and social rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons, an employee with a certificate of severe or moderate disability is entitled to special leave of 21 working days in a calendar year with retained right to remuneration.   

Type of medical certificates on Persons with Disability 

According to Art. 1 of the a/m Act, the said entitlement refers to persons with confirmed disability with a medical certificate: 

  • on qualification made by non-pension authorities for one of the three degrees of disability, namely mild, moderate and severe; or 
  • on complete or partial inability to work under separate regulations (Social Insurance Company, Agricultural Social Insurance Fund).  

Types of special leave 

  1. Leave for the duration of up to 21 working days for the purpose of participation in a rehabilitation stay; not more often than once a year; 
  2. Leave for the purpose of specialist examinations, medical and healing procedures as well as acquiring orthopedic equipment or repairs thereof, if such activities cannot be performed outside working hours.   

Leave for the purpose of participation in a rehabilitation stay 

The employer grants leave for the purpose of participation in a rehabilitation stay based on the physician’s petition i.e., the referral to a rehabilitation stay. In the said petition, the physician specifies the type and duration of the stay. The employee must present the referral to the employer in advance, to allow maintaining the normal workflow at the workplace.   

The right to special leave is completely independent from the entitlement to holiday leave, including additional holiday leave. In other words, the employer must not demand the employee with certified disability to go to a rehabilitation stay during their holiday leave.   

After the rehabilitation stay, which usually lasts for at least 14 calendar days, the employee should provide the employer with a proper document e.g., a discharge note issued by the organizer of the rehabilitation stay. The document will serve as the basis for pay of the remuneration calculated in the same way as the cash equivalent for holiday leave.  

Important note! Persons referred to a health resort by a physician of the National Health Fund or under pension prevention of the Social Insurance Company are not entitled to such special leave. 

Leave for the purpose of undergoing special examinations, medical or healing procedures, as well as acquiring orthopedic equipment or repairs thereof 

The special leave can be granted based on a referral to treatment or another document confirming that the particular activity cannot be carried out outside working hours. The absence in such case may last the whole day or several hours. The employer must not demand from the employee to use their holiday leave for that purpose. The employer is also obligated to determine the rules for granting of the leave when regulations do not specify detailed rules in that scope.   

The employer must not make any assessments whether the disabled person actually needs the specific examination, medical procedure, equipment or repairs thereof. 

Important note! The following must be taken into consideration in the case of special leave: 

  • The duration of the leave depends on the duration of the examination, procedure, etc. (and the eventual travel time); 
  • The special leave is granted under the condition that the activities in question cannot be carried out outside the working hours;  
  • The employer has the right to request for evidence – e.g., referral for the examination, a doctor’s note on the visit during working hours, report on repairs of the equipment during working hours or a treatment record with scheduled hours;  
  • The remuneration for the duration of special leave is calculated in the same way as the cash equivalent for holiday leave.  

The total duration of additional holiday leave and special leave of a disabled person must not exceed 21 working days in a calendar year. When determining the total duration, the order in which the above-mentioned entitlements are used does not matter. It means that the employer, when calculating e.g., the duration of special leave for a rehabilitation stay granted in the same calendar year, must bear in mind the duration of the previously used additional holiday leave.   

Example: In the calendar year, the employee used special leave for 14 working days to participate in a rehabilitation stay; in such a situation, they are entitled only to 7 days of additional holiday leave.  


Author: Magdalena Tomczyk, Junior Accountant at the accounting office in Warsaw