Education of doctoral students – Labor law

Labor law plays a very important role in the life of PhD students. Income resulting from the work performed helps in the implementation of the research vision, and also covers the current expenses related to everyday life. Due to the complicated nature of the Polish labor market, it is definitely more difficult for PhD students to get a well-paid job during their education. Moreover, doctoral students who are foreigners may find it difficult to assimilate many provisions that de jure should protect them, but in practice do not protect their interests.         One of the biggest problems with the Polish labor market may be the division into foreign doctoral students who are citizens of the European Union and people from outside the European Union. Citizens of the European Union. Undoubtedly, the legislator wanted foreign doctoral students to be able to work in Poland without the required work permit[1]. This is evidenced by the provisions allowing participants of full-time doctoral studies to undertake work without the need to obtain a work permit. As you can see, there is no mention of doctoral students from doctoral schools, extramural doctoral studies or doctoral students in extramural studies. This seems to be an oversight by the Polish legislator.        

The Act of July 20, 2018, the Law on Higher Education and Science  (ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce, Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn.)[2] provided foreigners with the opportunity to work as an academic teacher without a permit (Article 325 of The Act of July 20, 2018, the Law the Law on Higher Education and Science). However, it should be remembered that doctoral students from doctoral schools who receive a scholarship cannot be academic teachers. Therefore, this provision is only slightly applicable to foreign doctoral students. Only foreign doctoral students writing their doctorate externally could derive legal consequences from this provision.          

In conclusion, foreign PhD students are not treated equally on the Polish labor market. Not only the difficulties with mastering the provisions of the Polish Labor Code[3], but also the unequal treatment of individual groups of doctoral students may discourage them from studying in Poland. The Polish legislator should provide foreign doctoral students with better protection of their rights when it comes to labor law.     

Witold Pawełski

Local Ambassador for PhD Students’ Rights

Bibliography

Ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce,  Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn zmianami, https://isap.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20180001668/U/D20181668Lj.pdf, ostatnie wejście 12.11.2021

Ministerstwo Edukacji i Nauki. (2020), Konstytucja dla Nauki w języku angielskim. Retrieved from https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja-i-nauka/konstytucja-dla-nauki-w-jezyku-angielskim. last entrance: 15.11.2021

Ustawa z dnia 26 czerwca 1974 r. Kodeks pracy, Dz. U. 1974 Nr 24 poz. 141, z późn. Zmianami

Rozporządzenie Ministra Pracy i Polityki Społecznej z dnia 21 kwietnia 2015 r. w sprawie przypadków, w których powierzenie wykonywania pracy cudzoziemcowi na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej jest dopuszczalne bez konieczności uzyskania zezwolenia na pracę, Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn. zmianami

The article was written in connection with the project „Local Ambassador for Doctoral Students’ Rights” which is organised by the Polish National Association of Doctoral Candidates with funding from the Ministry of Education and Science as part of the public task „Organising and animating activities for the academic community” in 2021.


[1] Rozporządzenie Ministra Pracy i Polityki Społecznej z dnia 21 kwietnia 2015 r. w sprawie przypadków, w których powierzenie wykonywania pracy cudzoziemcowi na terytorium Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej jest dopuszczalne bez konieczności uzyskania zezwolenia na pracę, Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn. zmianami

[2] ustawa z dnia 20 lipca 2018 r. Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce,  Dz. U. 2018 poz. 1668, z późn zmianami, https://isap.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20180001668/U/D20181668Lj.pdf, ostatnie wejście 12.11.2021

[3] Ustawa z dnia 26 czerwca 1974 r. Kodeks pracy, Dz. U. 1974 Nr 24 poz. 141, z późn. zmianami