Employee of another religion and public holidays


According to research conducted by CBOS in 2011, 95% of respondents in Poland declared Catholic religion. It is therefore not surprising that as many as 9 of the 13 statutory holidays apply to church holidays. However, every year there are more and more employees of a different religion among the employed people. Does an employee of another religion have the right to a day off to celebrate his / her religion?

Public holidays

As proved in the conducted research, Poland is a Catholic country. Therefore, the law defines public holidays, most of which are church holidays. Statutory holidays are public holidays for all employees, regardless of religion, therefore it is not possible to delegate an employee to work on the grounds of religion.

The Labor Code guarantees equality

Freedom of conscience and religion are one of the fundamental human rights, and failure to respect them is open religious discrimination. Discrimination for any reason in Poland is prohibited and risks consequences. Article 42 of the Act of May 17, 1989 on the Guarantees of Freedom of Conscience and Religion (consolidated text Journal of Laws of 2005, No. 231, item 1965, as amended) indicates that persons belonging to churches or religious associations may request to receive a day off for the purpose of celebrating holidays of your faith that are not a statutory day off.


An application for an additional day off due to their denomination may be submitted by persons belonging to religious groups with the status of a church or religious association. The register of churches and other religious associations is kept by the Ministry of the Interior and Administration.

How can a worker of another religion get a day off?

An employee of another religion, in order to receive a day off from work for the purpose of celebrating his religion, should submit an application to the employer for a day off. Detailed guidelines are specified in the Regulation of the Ministers of Labor and Social Policy and National Education of March 11, 1999 on exemptions from work or education for persons belonging to churches and other religious associations for the purpose of celebrating religious holidays that are not public holidays. The regulation indicates that the employee is obliged to submit the application at least 7 days before the planned day off. In turn, the employer should inform the employee about the conditions of making the payment on that day no later than 3 days before the start of the dismissal.


The employer is under no obligation or right to require the employee to confirm his / her religious affiliation!

Day off and pay

An employee of another religion does not retain the right to remuneration for a day off. He is obliged to make up for that day on a different date, after agreeing it with the employer, without the right to additional remuneration for work on public holidays or overtime work. It is incorrect to perform work on public holidays in exchange for holidays on other dates.

Holidays for every day of the week

The above regulations apply to holidays that fall once a year. If the employee's religion imposes on them holidays that are periodically celebrated, e.g. once a week (e.g. for the followers of Judaism, the Sabbath begins every Friday after sunset until Saturday after sunset), an individual working time system should be established.

Can the employer refuse to grant a day off?

The employer has the right to refuse the employee a day off, but only for objective reasons, which are governed by the organization of work in the workplace or the interest of the employer.In reality, however, refusing to grant an employee a day off to celebrate his religious holiday is a simple way to judge the employer of religious discrimination.