What can companies in Poland employing Ukrainian citizens do in the face of the humanitarian crisis in our region - employer’s perspective

According to official sources, currently there are almost 800k Ukrainian citizens living and working in Poland. In the face of military activity, their families, relatives and friends are now seeking refuge in Poland.

In addition to providing support and participating in public initiatives (such as public collections of vital goods for those in need), employers can apply several organizational and financial instruments to enable their employees to take care of themselves and their relatives. 

Specific measures that employers may implement and address to their Ukrainian employees in Poland include:

  • Granting additional paid time off (PTO) (e.g. for time to travel to the border or even return to Ukraine); 
  • Providing additional days of paid leave to care for children and other relatives; 
  • Creating additional workplaces, even if only temporary; 
  • Providing financial support in the form of loans, advances or donations, including loans granted within companies under the so-called Company Social Benefits Fund (ZFŚS), if such funds are in operation and their regulations provide for granting loans, material or financial assistance, subsidizing kindergartens or other forms of care; 
  • Extending medical care coverage to newly-arrived family members; and 
  • Providing access to necessary legal and immigration assistance. 

Employers can also arrange work to allow employees to take unscheduled leave under their current leave entitlement instead of any pre-scheduled leave plan, if they so request. 
In addition, HR departments should be aware of what to do if an employee or other co-worker becomes a victim of conducted operations and what benefits his or her family members (whether in Poland or abroad) are entitled to.

Finally, it is also important to ensure that all employees feel a sense of stability and support in the current situation regardless of their background or citizenship. While employers are under no legal obligation to do so, pandemic realities have already proved that employers cannot disregard their employees’ mental health. 

In view of Poland’s broad-spectrum involvement in helping refugees, employers can also grant paid time off work to people involved in such social activities, or preferably join them in their efforts as volunteers. 

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