- Support for digitalisation
- Support of SMEs
Zakładowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy (ZFS)
Training fund in enterprises
This measure applies to all employees and companies in all sectors.
This support instrument is not mandatory. Training fund in enterprises (zakładowy fundusz szkoleniowy - ZFS) can be put in place a on voluntary basis by the employer and used to finance and co-finance training courses for employees. Until 2014, the procedure for applying for ZFS fund as mentioned in the Act of 20 April 2004 on the employment promotion and labour market institutions also explicitly indicate the provision for the possibility of co-financing the ZFS using funds from the state Labour Fund. In 2014, the act was amended and these provisions were abolished, which in practice means that there are no legal provisions regarding ZFS and that the rules for their creation depend entirely on employers.
At the same time, the institution of the National Training Fund (Krajowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy – KFS) was introduced by the above-mentioned amendment. It is part of the Labour Fund used to co-finance the cost of courses, post-graduated studies and exams for employees. The KFS can finance 80% of costs (100% in the case of micro enterprises) but no more than 300% of the monthly average wage (as indicated by National Statistic Office -GUS) per employee. The rules are contained in the Act of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of 14 May 2014.
It should be noted that, contrary to earlier regulation, there is currently no connection between the existence of ZFS and the possibility of obtaining public funds for training. Also, an employer who does not benefit from ZFS can apply for funds from KFS.
The development of the ZFS largely depends on the access of employers to the funds from KFS. In the Labour Fund plan for 2018, PLN 105,608,000 (€25,144.80) were planned for the expenses of the National Training Fund. The Ministry of Labour, in consultation with the Labour Market Council (Rada Rynku Pracy), decided that approximately 0.5% of the planned funds would be intended for general tasks of the Ministry and province (voivodeships) labour offices, such as examination of job demand, the promotion of KFS, consultations and consultancy for employers and testing the effectiveness of the support provided. 80% of the remaining pool of funds (corresponding to PLN 84,488,400 - €20,116.20) was to be distributed across voivodeships and 20% for the priorities set by the Labour Market Council for 2018 (support for lifelong learning for people over 45 and support for lifelong learning/training to address some professions labour shortages in a given poviat or voivodeship). This is part of the fund from which ZFS can be financially supported but it concerns also any other employer's training activities. The existence of an officially established ZFS is not treated as a bonus when applying for support.
The latest data for 2020 is as follows. The total funds in KFS in 2020 are PLN 197,690,000 (€ 45,446), of which 80% is the so-called 'Ministry pool' which is divided between voivodeship labour offices (according to the algorithm depending on the size of employment and the scale of unemployment). In 2020, these funds are to be used to finance training in response to the following problems:
- Support for lifelong learning for people returning to the labour market after a break related to childcare;
- Support for lifelong learning after the age of 45;
- Support for lifelong learning in shortage occupations identified in a given poviat or province;
- Support for lifelong learning in connection with the development of technology in companies and the use of work tools introduced by companies;
- Support for lifelong learning in key areas/industries for the development of the poviat/province indicated in the strategic documents/development plans;
- Supporting the implementation of trainings for practical vocational training instructors or persons intending to undertake this occupation, apprenticeship trainees and student internship supervisors as well as industry training for vocational education teachers;
- Support for lifelong learning of employees of entities with the status of a social enterprise, indicated on the list of social enterprises maintained by the Ministry of Family of Labor and Social Policy, members or employees of special cooperatives or employees of Professional Activity Establishments.
Priorities of the Labour Market Council (i.e. 20% of the funds referred to as working reserves) PLN 48,806, 000 (€11,219,770).
- Supporting lifelong learning of people with a degree of disability;
- Support in acquiring digital competences;
- Support for lifelong learning of employees of Social Integration Centers, Social Integration Clubs and Occupational Therapy Workshops;
- Support for continuing education of persons who can prove that they have worked for at least 15 years in special conditions or in a special nature and who are not entitled to a bridging pension;
- Support for lifelong learning of people employed by employers who did not use the National Training Fund in 2017-2019.
- Local funds
- National funds
- European funds
- European Funds (ESF)
Legal framework; potential co-funding.
Grants from local authorities.
Public employment services
The refund is provided by the Labour Fund.
Employer or employee organisations
Creation of a fund based on a collective agreement.
Companies (funding); co-funding by the ESF.
The use of this instrument is not monitored on a continuous basis. There is no such obligation for public authorities, and independent research centers do not see such a need either. Only sporadic research is carried out. According to data from the last available research conducted by the Ministry of Labour (2007), very few employers are interested in creating training funds in companies: 4.2% of the respondents declared that they established a training fund within the meaning of the provisions of the Act of 20 April 2004 (which is no longer in force) and 12.9% declared that they had specific resources allocated to training activities as part of their budget (they did not have a separate training fund as such). The vast majority (85%) did not allocate any means in a permanent manner for training. Over 55% of respondents had no knowledge of the training funds and 70% of respondents declared they did not plan to create any training funds in the future. The more recent information is unavailable.
The measure supports lifelong learning as well as long-term professional development of employees. Paradoxically, the lack of legal rules can be helpful in flexible adjustment to the needs of both the employer and the employee.
The instrument is not widely known among employers, and neither is it commonly used by them. According to the above-mentioned research conducted by the Ministry of Labour (2007), over 55% of employers had no knowledge about the existence of the training funds and 85% of companies did not establish training funds. Moreover, 70% of employers declared they had no plans to establish one. The training fund was only established within 4.2% of companies.The more recent information is unavailable.
According to a research conducted by the Ministry of Labour (2014), demand for employees' training among employers is limited as the latter often consider that the employees already possess the skills required to perform their job. The research shows that in the case of lack of competencies, the employers prefer to look for new employees on the labour market rather than improving the qualifications of those already working for them. According to the survey Human Capital Balance - BKL (Szczucka et al, 2014), employers pointed out the following reasons for which they do not invest in employee development: employees have adequate skills (77%), the cost of training is too high (48%), other investments are more important (43%), employees do not have time for training (40%), training needs are difficult to determine (32%), employees have recently been trained and do not need it now (31%), lack of adequate training offer (30%), for other, unspecified reasons (16%).
According to the Polish social partners, the scarcity of funds allocated by the government to the National Training Fund can only have a limited impact on the increase in the creation of voluntary training funds in the enterprises. For this reason, trade unions and employers' organisations (members of the Social Dialogue Council) jointly protested against such governmental approach in 2017 (Resolution No. 46 of 22 September 2017).