End of disability certificate - what next?


Employing a person with a disability is associated with the obligation to meet certain conditions. If a disabled employee receives a disability certificate only for a specified period of time, the employer must remember that the expiry of the disability certificate has certain consequences. What should not be forgotten? What does the end of a disability certificate involve? We explain in the article!

Disability - adjudication proceedings

Pursuant to the Act on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons, disability means permanent or temporary inability to fulfill social roles, in particular resulting in inability to work. There are three degrees of disability:

  • significant - the person is incapable of work or needs a workplace adapted to his or her illness, requires care and is a dependent person;
  • moderate - the person is unable to work or needs to adapt the workplace;
  • light - a person has great limitations in functioning, has problems with performing current activities and needs devices that help him / her on a daily basis, e.g. prostheses, implants.

The following decides about issuing a judgment:

  • poviat / city disability adjudication teams - as the first instance;
  • provincial disability adjudication teams - as the second instance.

These authorities conduct judicial proceedings and issue decisions in this regard. Importantly, the degree of disability of the person concerned is determined for a fixed period or permanently. The decisive factor is whether the person submitting the application has a prognosis to improve functioning. A certificate of the degree of disability is issued to a person who is 16 years of age or older.

Disabled worker

An employee who has a disability degree and presents it to the employer is entitled to additional privileges. The most important of them concern working time:

  • a disabled person cannot be employed at night and overtime (except for supervising employment);
  • the disabled employee additionally receives another 15-minute break, which he can use for rehabilitation exercises or rest;
  • the working time of a person with a severe or moderate degree of disability may not exceed 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week;
  • a disabled person with a significant or moderate degree of disability receives additional annual leave of 10 working days in a calendar year;
  • a person with a certificate of severe or moderate disability has the right to be dismissed from work while retaining the right to remuneration in the case of a rehabilitation stay or for the purpose of performing specialist examinations, curative or rehabilitation treatments.

In addition to employment privileges, a disabled person also receives a number of social and care allowances, e.g. help with shopping and dealing with official matters, cleaning, cooking, or may take advantage of tax allowances and numerous subsidies.

Statement expiration

Disability certificates are issued for an indefinite period or for a specified period. In the event that the employee's certificate of disability has expired, then from the next day after this date he should be treated on the same terms as other employees. Thus, the employer should:

  • deregister an employee with the old insurance code and then register him with the new insurance code;
  • remember that the employee retains the right to unused additional leave, but does not acquire any more;
  • remember that the employee may work in the same time range as other employees, including work at night and overtime from the day after the end of the decision (unless it is impossible for other reasons);
  • remember that an employee should no longer be included in the employment status as a disabled person - which means that you must take into account an increase in contributions to PFRON.

Example 1.

The employer employs an employee with a moderate degree of disability. The decision was issued for a specified period until March 31, 2021.The committee decided that the decision would not be continued, so the employee should be deregistered on April 1 and re-registered on the ZUA form without indicating the degree of disability.

The situation seems clear when the decision has ended and the employee does not appeal against the decision. However, there are situations when the decision process is prolonged and then it is necessary to decide how the employee should be accounted for.

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End of disability certificate - dismissal of the employee

Very often, despite a negative decision regarding the continuation of the disability certificate, the employee appeals against it. Working time between consecutive disability certificates should, however, be calculated on the basis of the last decision of the authority.

Example 2.

The employee's certificate of moderate disability expired on March 18, 2021. The employee applied for another ruling on March 19. From that day on, he works 8 hours a day and an average of 40 hours in an average five-day working week. On May 25, the employee submitted a judgment that he had a moderate disability. Therefore, the employer is obliged to include him in the employment status of people with disabilities from the date of submitting the application, in addition, he should pay the employee overtime for work exceeding 7 hours a day and 35 hours a week performed in the period from March 19.

As a rule, in the period between the expiry of the previous decision and the issuance of a new decision, this person does not have the status of a disabled person, and therefore should be treated as a non-disabled worker, both in terms of working time and other benefits, e.g. holiday benefits.

Certificate of disability - extended deadlines

An important disability certificate is important both for the employee himself, who can enjoy numerous rights and reliefs, and for the employer who employs a person with a disability, because thanks to this he can obtain additional financial support from the funds of the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRON). The coronavirus epidemic made issuing judgments much more difficult, which in turn caused the legislator to extend their validity. On the basis of the Act of March 31, 2020, i.e. of the anti-crisis shield, the validity of the decisions on disability and the degree of disability issued by poviat and voivodeship teams has been extended. Pursuant to this Act, a certificate of disability or a certificate of the degree of disability issued for a specified period of time, the validity of which:

  • expired up to 90 days before the effective date of this Act (i.e. in the period from December 9, 2019 to March 7, 2020), provided that another application for a ruling was submitted within this period - remains valid until the 60th day from the day recalling the state of epidemic threat or state of the epidemic, but not longer than until the date of issuing a new certificate of disability or a certificate of the degree of disability;

  • expires from the date of entry into force of this Act (i.e. from March 8, 2020) - remains valid until the 60th day from the date of cancellation of the state of epidemic threat or epidemic state, but no longer than until the date of issuing a new disability certificate or certificate about the degree of disability.

Thus, the provision introduced the principle of continuity of validity of certificates on disability and the degree of disability until the 60th day from the date of cancellation of the state of epidemic threat or state of epidemic. Importantly, this principle is complied with provided that an application for another decision is submitted within this time limit.

Summary - end of disability certificate

The end of the disability certificate involves several obligations for the employer. First of all, from the day following the expiry of the decision, the employee should be treated like any other, i.e. he can perform work in the same time range as other employees, including work at night and overtime. The coronavirus epidemic and the provisions of the anti-crisis act, however, introduced the principle of continuity of validity of disability certificates until the 60th day from the date of the epidemic's cancellation - however, it is necessary to submit the application itself for the extension to take place by law.