What are ZUS contributions? Why are there so many possibilities? Are Health Insurance and Sickness Insurance the same?

ZUS insurances is divided into 2 groups:

  • health insurance (one)
  • social insurances (several)

Below is a full table:

Type of insurance / contribution (2021)Health Contribution“Small ZUS”“Small ZUS+”“Big ZUS”
descriptionthe first 6-7 monthsfrom the beginning or after 6-7 months and for a maximum of 2 yearscalculated individually – after exhausting the previous reductions, you can still apply for a small ZUS+ if the income in the previous year did not exceed PLN 120 000 per year (limit calculated on the basis of proportions).after exhausting all exemptions
retirement0,00 zł163,97 zł615,93 zł
disability0,00 zł67,20 zł252,43 zł
accident0,00 zł14,03 zł52,70 zł
Labor Fund
(Fundusz Pracy)
0,00 zł0,00 zł77,31 zł
sickness0,00 zł20,58 zł77,31 zł
health (for many years a fixed annual contribution changed every year, from 2022 depending on earnings)381,81 zł381,81 zł381,81 zł381,81 zł
SUM without sickness381,81 zł627,01 złcalculated individually1 380,18 zł
SUM with sickness381,81 zł647,59 zł1 457,49 zł

Health Insurance

Health Insurance is our basic insurance. It should be paid by anyone operating in Poland. There are exceptions where there is no legal obligation to pay for this insurance, but it is worth arranging this insurance in some way. Why? Because:

  1. When you become a victim of an accident and, for example, go to a hospital, no one asks you if you pay this insurance. The service is performed and then you are checked – if you are not insured, the hospital will bill you. It is worth remembering about this, especially in times of a pandemic, when you can go to the hospital despite your will.
  2. When you then join this insurance (voluntarily or under statutory obligation), ZUS may find that you have not paid contributions and count the arrears for the period in which you were not insured together with interest.

The amount of the health insurance contribution is the income minus the social insurances and we multiply what will come out by 9%. In the case of business activity, it is also 9%, but multiplied to amount calculated for a given year. This year you pay PLN 381.81. In 2020, it was PLN 362,34. Every year it is a higher rate, but in 2022 it is to change completely for sole proprietorships – the contribution will be calculate on earnings too. Whether it will be 9% or less – it is not known yet. At the moment, the monthly contribution is constant. Remember that even if your business is active only for 1 day in a given month, you pay the entire health contribution.

Social Security

Social security is calculated in proportion. If your buisness is active for 1 day in a given month, you pay only a part of it (1 / number of days in a month). By paying for them and after meeting the relevant conditions, you can acquire the right to a retirement pension, disability pension or sickness benefits. The insurance you pay for yourself as a sole proprietor is:

  1. Retirement Insurance (compulsory for small and large ZUS) – the right to benefits that you can get after 20/25 years of working and reaching the appropriate age
  2. Disability Insurance (compulsory for small and large ZUS) – the right to benefits that you may receive if you have partially or completely lost the opportunity to work due to your health condition
  3. Accident Insurance (compulsory for small and large ZUS) – the right to benefits that you can get in the event of an accident at work
  4. Sickness Insurance (voluntary) – the right to benefits that you can get when you are sick (details below).

Sickness Insurance. Is it the same as Health Insurance?

Not the same. Some people get it wrong, so I will try to explain it. Health Insurance allows you to use the public health service free of charge and is rather compulsory – as I wrote above. Sickness Insurance, after meeting certain conditions, pays you for the period in which you are sick, so that you have some income at that time. You cannot use it when you pay only for health insurance (for the first 6-7 months), but when you pay small or large ZUS, you can apply for this insurance and pay PLN 20.58 or PLN 77.31 per month. You acquire the right to benefits under this insurance after 3 months of pay contributions. However, it is important to pay on time (by the 10th day of the month for the previous month). If you are late even one day, you lose the right to insurance. You can then submit a document for restoration, but this is an additional unnecessary occupation, and ZUS may reject it – it is better to pay immediately on time. When everything is fine, on the basis of a sick leave, you will get from ZUS about PLN 680 per full month with a small ZUS and about 2 500 PLN per full month with a large ZUS.

Other contributions to ZUS

There are several others that must be paid under ZUS. You only pay extra for the Labor Fund (Fundusz Pracy), but only if you pay a large ZUS. This year it is PLN 77.31 monthly. The Labor Fund is an institution whose aim was to mitigate the effects of unemployment. There are many more complications when you hire an employee, but more on that maybe next time.

Arek Ozimek, JustAskPoland, SmartNumbers.eu

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