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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectorial cooperation


The framework for the state's tasks in the field of employment promotion, mitigating the effects of unemployment and vocational activation is set by regulations of Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2 April 1997 (Journal of Laws (Dz.U.) of 1997, No. 78, item 483, as amended)) and Act of 20 April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions (Dz. U. z 2022 r. poz.690). Strategic documents defining priorities for the implementation of the European Employment Strategy and National Employment Action Plans include:  

The Strategy for Responsible Development until 2020 (with a forecast up to 2030) (2017)  

Strategy for Human Capital Development 2030. (2020) 

National Plan for Reconstruction and Resilience Enhancement (2022) 

In current governmental documents, the issues of youth employment and the development of entrepreneurship among young people are a priority. 

The Strategy for Responsible Development until 2020 (with a forecast up to 2030), adopted by the Council of Ministers on 14 February 2017, is a key document of the Polish state in the area of medium- and long-term economic policy. Internal factors hindering sustainable economic growth, which have a negative impact on the stable development prospects of Poland, include some factors directly connected with the employment and entrepreneurship of young people: 

  • unfavourable demographic processes – such as ageing of the population and migration from Poland, which has a negative effect on the prospects of providing appropriately qualified and creative workers; 

  • too few well-paid (and stable) creative jobs, especially in rural areas, guaranteeing professional self-realisation and generating high added value for the economy; 

  • relatively low and inefficient use of available and potential labour resources, a mismatch between qualifications and market needs, etc.; 

  • the growth and competitiveness of businesses is based on cost factors (including low labour costs); 

  • low innovativeness of the economy resulting mainly from insufficient incentives for undertaking innovative activities, low demand for new technologies among Polish companies, low efficiency of co-operation between the academic/research sector, administration, and business. 

The main objective of the Strategy is to create conditions for increasing the incomes of the inhabitants of Poland, while increasing cohesion in social, economic, environmental and territorial terms. The Strategy is oriented towards responsible and solidary development through strengthening entrepreneurship, inventiveness and productivity in the economy. These assumptions create the basis for promotion of employment and entrepreneurship of young people. 

Strategy for Human Capital Development until 2030. (2020) The main objective of the Strategy is to increase human capital and social cohesion in Poland. The Strategy sets the following specific objectives:  

  1. To raise the level of competencies and qualifications of citizens, including digital ones.  


  1. To improve the health of citizens and the efficiency of the health care system.  


  1. To increase and improve human capital potential in the labor market.  


  1. To reduce poverty and social exclusion and improving access to services in response to demographic challenges. 

The National Plan for Rebuilding and Increasing Resilience (2022) is a document that sets out goals for rebuilding and building Poland's socio-economic resilience after the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reforms and investments to implement them. Investments in entrepreneurship, innovation, professional development of workers and companies are a significant part of the planned activities. Examples of programs include: Accelerating robotization, digitization and innovation; Strengthening cooperation between science and industry; Personnel for a modern economy - improving the match between skills and qualifications and labor market requirements in connection with the implementation of new technologies in the economy and the green and digital transformation; Improving the situation of parents in the labor market by increasing access to child care for children under the age of 3; Making forms of employment more flexible, including the introduction of remote work. 


Government policy on employment and entrepreneurship falls under the responsibility of individual ministries. The Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy monitors and coordinates the implementation of the government's economic strategy and is responsible for the use of European funds. In turn, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology works on solutions to support and promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. 

In 2020, a Government Plenipotentiary for Youth Policy was established in Poland (Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 22 September 2020 on establishing a Government Plenipotentiary for Youth Policy). The tasks of the Plenipotentiary include coordinating dialogue between the government administration and social and economic partners, non-governmental organisations and local government bodies on youth policy initiatives. At present, consultations are being held on the development of the government's Strategy for the Young Generation. One of the key areas is the one related to employment and entrepreneurship. 

The Ministry of Family and Social Policy is, on the other hand, responsible for the preparation of the National Employment Action Plan (Krajowy Plan Działań na Rzecz Zatrudnienia) and co-ordination of its implementation; co-ordination and development of Public Employment Services; promotion of employment, including policies to counteract unemployment, mitigate the effects of unemployment and stimulate professional activation of jobless people; development of human resources; as well as ensuring uniform application of law; and co-ordination of social security systems. 

A detailed legal framework for the labour market policy in Poland is set out in the Act of 20 April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions (Journal of Laws 2022, item 690, as amended). 

The tasks of the state in the area of employment promotion, mitigation of the effects of unemployment and professional activation are implemented on the basis of the National Employment Action Plan passed by the Council of Ministers, which encompasses the principles of implementation of the European Employment Strategy and is based on the initiatives of the local governments of communes (gmina), districts (powiat) and provinces (województwo) as well as social partners. 

The labour market policy at national level is consulted by social partners (including representatives of trade unions, employers’ organisations, and NGOs), as well as by representatives of local governments and educational institutions. At the national level the consultative body of the Minister is the Labour Market Council. At the provincial level, the body that provides province marshals (marszałek) with opinions and advice is the Provincial Labour Market Council, and at the district level, district governors (starosta) are consulted by the District Labour Market Council. 

The state’s tasks pertaining to the policy of employment promotion, mitigation of the effects of unemployment and professional activation are performed by Public Employment Services, Voluntary Labour Corps (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy - OHP), employment agencies, training institutions, social dialogue institutions, and local partnership institutions. 

The Act on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions provides for additional forms of support to foster employment of young people (in addition to the standard forms of support available to all categories of the unemployed). Public employment services are equipped with the following tools and labour market instruments dedicated to young people: 

  • Those who are unemployed under the age of 30 are considered to have “special” status on the labour market and are given priority in referral to dedicated schemes (Article 49). 

  • Those who are unemployed under the age of 25 should be presented with an offer by the district Employment Office within a period of up to 4 months from the date of registration (Article 50(1)). This offer should be in the form of employment, other paid work, training, internship, job skills training for adults, intervention works or public works or other forms of assistance specified in the Act. 

  • Additional instruments targeted at the unemployed under the age of 30 include training vouchers, internship vouchers, employment vouchers, and housing vouchers (Chapter 13d, Articles 66k to 66n). 

The activities of the state aimed particularly at youth at risk of social exclusion and the unemployed under the age of 25 are implemented through the Voluntary Labour Corps (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy, OHP). OHP are government-financed entities supervised by the minister for labour that specialise in youth action (Chapter 5, Articles 11 to 17). 

Regarding the education and training of young people, OHP conduct activities aimed at: 

1)    enabling young people who have not completed primary or lower secondary school, or who have not stayed in education after graduating from those schools, to acquire professional qualifications and to complete their primary or lower secondary education; 

2)    enabling young people to complete their general and vocational upper secondary education. 

Within the field of employment and prevention of the marginalisation and social exclusion of youth, OHP undertake the following actions: 

1)    act as job centres and organise employment for: young people over the age of 15 who have not completed primary or lower secondary school or have not stayed in education after graduating from those schools; unemployed persons under the age of 25; pupils; and students; 

2)    provide career guidance for young people and Mobile Career Information Centres; 

3)    initiate international co-operation and youth exchange programmes; 

4)    refund the costs incurred by the employer for the salaries and social security contributions of young workers employed on the basis of an employment contract for the purpose of job skills training. 

OHP, as labour market institutions, provide free services in the following formats: job centres; career guidance and vocational information services; active job search workshops; organisation of training; labour market schemes. 

The duties of OHP are carried out through (as of 2017/2018): 

  • Mobile Career Information Centres (Mobilne Centra Informacji Zawodowej) (49 units), 

  • Youth Employment Offices (Młodzieżowe Biura Pracy) (49), 

  • Job centres (Punkty Pośrednictwa Pracy) (78), 

  • European Social Fund Vocational Training Centres (Ośrodki Szkolenia Zawodowego EFS) (34), 

  • Regional Vocational Training Centres for Young People (Rejonowe Ośrodki Szkolenia Zawodowego Młodzieży) (24) 

  • Youth Career Centres (Młodzieżowe Centra Kariery) (221). 

Those entities are supervised by Centres for Youth Education and Work (Centra Edukacji i Pracy Młodzieży) (49). 

Schemes for the education and employment of disabled youth are supported by a special purpose fund created from contributions paid by employers who do not employ people with disabilities – the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (Państwowy Fundusz Rehabilitacji Osób Niepełnosprawnych, PFRON). The policy of supporting employment of the disabled is defined in the Act of 27 August 1997 on vocational and social rehabilitation and the employment of disabled people (Journal of Laws (Dz.U.) of 2021, No. 573). 

The funds from PFRON to support vocational activation and employment of young people with disabilities are funnelled to public, private and non-governmental entities as well as to individuals. 

On the other hand, the Act of 13 June 2003 on social employment (Journal of Laws (Dz.U.) of 2003, No. 122, item 1143, as amended) regulates the processes of social and occupational reintegration of persons with the lowest chances on the open labour market due to their low qualifications, or lack thereof, and also those having problems with full participation in social and professional life. This applies in particular to homeless people, alcohol or drug addicts, mentally ill people, long-term unemployed, former inmates, refugees, and disabled people. Persons from those categories may participate in activities run by social integration centres and clubs (operated by local government units or by non-governmental organisations appointed to do so by the former) and receive various forms of assistance and support from public funds to aid employability (e.g. funds to establish a social co-operative). 

The new legal act is the Act of August 5, 2022 on social economy (Journal of Laws 2022, item 1812), regulating the activity of social economy entities for the benefit of the local community in the field of social and professional reintegration, creation of jobs for people at risk of social exclusion and provision of social services, implemented in the form of economic activity, public benefit activity and other paid activity. This is a long-awaited law by the circles of non-governmental organizations that implement many activities for the benefit of young people at risk of social exclusion and marginalization in the labor market in local communities. 

Cross-sectorial cooperation

The placement of employment and labor market issues in the government's strategic documents confirms that it is a multifaceted policy and complementary to public policies implemented in other areas, requiring the cooperation of many ministries and implementers. The preparation of the National Action Plan for Employment for the next few years is the result of complementary cooperation between a number of ministries and subordinate institutions, as well as local government units. Opinions on the NAPE and consultations on employment and labor market policy involve social partners gathered in the Labor Market Council. It is composed of: representatives of organizations of trade unions and employers' organizations, non-governmental organizations and local government. 

The basic instrument for the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy by the Member States are the National Reform Programmes. The Government of the Republic of Poland has declared the achievement of the following values in terms of the three social targets in 2020 (National Reform Programme for the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy (updated 2019/2020):  

- to achieve an employment rate of 71% for people aged 20-64;  

- to reduce the proportion of early school leavers to 4.5% and to increase the proportion of people aged 30-34 with tertiary education to 45%;  

- to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 1.5 million.  

The National Employment Action Plan operationalises the policy directions set by the National Reform Programme (NRP) for the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy in the area of the labour market and in other sectoral strategies of the socio-economic development of the country. A draft National Employment Action Plan is prepared by the minister for labour affairs (at the moment, the Minister of Family and Social Policy) in consultation, in particular, with the minister for economy, the minister responsible for education and science upbringing, the minister for higher education, the minister for rural development and the minister for regional development. On the basis of laws adopted by local governments, the authorities of a province are responsible for its development policy (there are 16 provinces in Poland), while each district is responsible for a policy of counteracting unemployment and activation of the local labour market (in 2017 there are 343 district Employment Offices, and together with their branches and service desks they make up more than 440 locations nationwide). 

The National Employment Action Plan 2019 (Krajowy Plan Działań na rzecz Zatrudnienia na 2019 rok) aims mostly at: 

increasing overall employment: at the extremes of age groups, the long-term unemployed, women and people with disabilities, while ensuring high job security. 

Its specific objectives are:  

  • to tailor activities of labour offices to the changing labour market,  

  • to increase adaptability of the unemployed, employed and NEET persons on the labour market,  

  • to increase professional activity of persons connected with agriculture towards non-agricultural labour market,  

  • to develop vocational education and lifelong learning,  

  • to increase job security 

The main and specific objectives trigger many actions for employment and entrepreneurship of young people, such as:   

  • creation of a model of analysis of demand for professions (in order to predict trends of demand for jobs, education and professional development); 

  • implementation of programmes of social and professional activation and support for young people at risk of social exclusion, including disabled persons (e.g. by OHP, PFRON); 

  • implementation of programmes at universities aimed at improving competences of persons participating in education at the tertiary level, corresponding to the needs of the economy, labour market and society (e.g. programmes Didactic Initiative of Excellence, PhD Implementation); 

  • development of work placements in higher education. 

The COVID-19 epidemic contributed to significant modifications of previously prepared reform plans. The National Reform Programme for the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy (adopted by the Council of Ministers on 28 April 2020) was supplemented by a set of measures aimed at solutions for the direct fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and counteracting the widening economic impact. The adopted solutions within the so-called "anti-crisis shield" concerning the sphere of employment included measures aimed at increasing the security of employees (extended childcare allowances, subsidies for employment, including salaries, parking benefits for the self-employed and those working on civil law contracts) and various forms of support for entrepreneurs (exemptions and deferrals of payment of contributions and taxes, loans and bank guarantees, reliefs in payment of rents, changes in the scope of flexible working time). 

The National Employment Action Plan for 2021 focused on the following lines of action in the labour market:  

  1. Mitigating the negative effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on the labour market. 

  1. Increasing labour market balance (as a result of demographic changes - ageing population and territorial disparities). 

  1. Creation of quality jobs. 

  1. Better adjustment of workers' competencies and qualifications to the requirements of the labour market of the future 

  1. Effective management of economic migration. 

Particular attention was paid to actions aimed at young people from the so-called risk groups on the labour market. This includes young people aged 15-24, whose employment rate in Poland remains at a very low level (26.8% in the fourth quarter of 2020, CSO LFS) and the NEET category: people who do not work, learn or further their education (the rate for the age group 15-24 was 8.6%). The document stresses that supporting young people in entering the labour market is an important task of the state, especially in the light of the ageing Polish society and occurring staff shortages in an increasing number of economic sectors. The worse situation on the labour market of this category of young people is often related to the fact of employment on the basis of contracts based on the civil code (contract for specific work, commission) and for a specified period of time. These contracts are easier for employers to terminate in a state of crisis in comparison to permanent employment contracts. 

The National Employment Action Plan for 2022 sets the following priorities for national policy:   

  1. Better fit of human resource skills with labour market requirements.  

  1. Improving the quality of employment and labour productivity in Poland.  

  1. Effective and equitable use of Poland's human resource capital.  

  1. Modernizing the functioning of the Public Employment Service and increasing the effectiveness of active labour market policies.  

  1. Effective and targeted management of labour migration.  

The program stressed that due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been some increase in youth unemployment, so further measures aimed at supporting youth labor activation are necessary. Among other things, it was announced to continue efforts to promote youth employment through the implementation of the Decent Work for Youth program, consisting of:  

- a new edition of the Youth Guarantee, in accordance with the updated Plan for the Implementation of the Youth Guarantee in Poland;   

- programs aimed at young people, including internship programs in the public sector;   

- new institutional and legal solutions to forms of support, as part of a package of laws modernizing the labour market (including the establishment of the function of youth employment counsellors, the creation of youth service points, assessment of digital competencies of young people and their completion).