Retirement pensions in Poland – Ukrainian citizens


All workers and contractors (apart from those involved in an agricultural activity regulated separately) are obliged to pay pension and retirement insurance based on the provisions of the social security system. Except for some cases, these insurances are compulsory for foreigners who work in Poland. 

The Social Insurance Agreement Act between Poland and Ukraine was ratified in 2012. At the time Polish government wanted to provide repatriates from Ukraine with pensions for the period they worked there. The agreement gives Ukrainian citizens legally working in Poland the same pension rights as Polish citizens.

Yet one must fulfil the conditions for acquiring the benefit in both countries. If the law requires a certain insurance period to acquire a pension, the institution determining claims to benefits shall count in the periods completed in the other State PartyThese periods cannot overlapPolish Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) won’t finance pensions of Ukrainian citizens for insurance periods in Ukraine. The Polish-Ukrainian social security agreement was concluded on the same terms as other bilateral agreements. It makes it easier to receive a pension for the people who have worked legally in both countries, both Poles and Ukrainians.

For Ukrainian citizens, it is enough to pay only a few contributions; after reaching retirement age, they get a Polish pension. Of course, it is low, e.g. 20 PLN per month. At the same time, the same Ukrainian citizen will receive a second pension for the insurance period in Ukraine.

To receive at least the lowest Polish pension, Ukrainian citizens must achieve seniority of 20 years – women or 25 years – men, just like Polish citizens. However, working years in both Poland and Ukraine count.

The Polish state pays minimum pensions (currently PLN 1338.44 gross) to anyone who proves that they have worked 20 years (women) or 25 years (men). The agreement provides for the aggregation of working periods in both countries. 

If a Ukrainian citizen has worked 20 years in Ukraine, it is enough that they will only work a month in Poland. The pension is granted only to Ukrainian citizens permanently living in Poland. In addition, Ukrainian citizens are obliged to inform when they receive an increase in their Ukrainian pension. If so, their minimum pension supplement is lowered accordingly.

If someone worked in Poland and Ukraine – which institution will grant a pension?

In this case, you can receive two pensions – from a Polish and Ukrainian insurance institution. However, you must fulfil the conditions for these benefits valid for Poland and Ukraine. Poland will pay a pension for periods of insurance in Poland, while the Ukrainian institution will pay for periods of insurance in Ukraine.

Poles living in Ukraine and other countries with which Poland has concluded agreements and in the European Union and the European Economic Area have similar rights. The principle of aggregation of pension periods allows for periods of employment to be counted when granting entitlements to, for example, a minimum pension. In this case, Polish and Ukrainian insurance periods add together, and the benefit adjustment to the minimum pension is based on the sum of benefits earned in Poland and Ukraine.

Thanks to the provisions of the agreement, it is possible to transfer benefits for people receiving a Ukrainian pension and currently living in Poland to their bank accounts in Poland or, by analogy, a benefit from Poland to a bank account in Ukraine.