Government approves extra pay for social care workers

Poland’s government has approved a bill granting additional payments to social care workers, who often earn minimum wage.

If approved by parliament and the president, the legislation will allow almost 200,000 people employed in the sector to receive an additional 1,000 zloty (€230) gross each per month starting from July. For those on the minimum wage, that would boost their earnings by almost 25%.

“Social workers perform a difficult job that requires specialised knowledge and competences and they do so on a daily basis with full dedication and must be rewarded accordingly,” said Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, the minister for family, labour and social policy.

🌐 #RadaMinistrów przyjęła projekt ustawy o zmianie ustawy o pomocy społecznej, przedłożony przez Ministrę @AgaBak. Pracownicy zatrudnieni w jednostkach pomocy społecznej mają zarabiać o 1 tys. zł brutto więcej. ⤵️

— Ministerstwo Rodziny, Pracy i Polityki Społecznej (@MRPiPS_GOV__PL) March 19, 2024

The measure will cover those working in the foster care and family support system, social care units – such as social assistance centres, crisis intervention centres and support centres – as well as childcare facilities for children up to the age of three – such as nurseries – that are run by local governments.

“Over the last two years, I have very often met social workers in Polish local authorities. They are mainly women, with higher education,” said Prime Minister Donald Tusk. He noted that they undertake “very hard work” but it is “sometimes humiliating” because they earn less than those they are helping.

He highlighted that an “overwhelming majority” are paid the minimum wage, which, as of January, stands at 4,242 zloty (€980) per month. “I insisted on preparing a solution for them,” he added.

❗Pracownice i pracownicy opieki społecznej otrzymają dodatek, tak naprawdę będzie to podwyżka. Dodatek w wysokości 1000 zł brutto – Premier @DonaldTusk.

— Kancelaria Premiera (@PremierRP) March 20, 2024

The proposed bill would provide subsidies to local governments in order for them to make the extra payments to social care workers. Dziemianowicz-Bąk’s ministry estimates that around 190,000 people working in the sector would be covered.

The bill will now be sent to parliament, where the government has a majority in both chambers. It must also then be signed by President Andrzej Duda, who is an opponent of the government but during his term in office has been supportive of measures to boost pay and social support.

“I am counting on very quick work in parliament and a very quick signing by the president. I don’t think he will be opportunistic here,” Tusk added.

The policy announcement comes just over two weeks before local elections.

Thousands of public sector workers have gathered in Warsaw for a “March of Rage” to demand pay rises.

Their unions say that by next year half of public sector employees will be earning only minimum wage

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) September 15, 2023

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Main image credit: MPRiPS (under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 PL)

Agata Pyka is an assistant editor at Notes from Poland. She is a journalist and a political communication student at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in Polish and European politics as well as investigative journalism and has previously written for Euractiv and The European Correspondent.

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