Refugees from Ukraine—What Challenges Do Polish Employers Face?

By Anna Golenia and Renata Dluska © Osborne Clarke May 6, 2022
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Warsaw, Poland's old town

​The war in Ukraine has caused millions of inhabitants of Ukraine to leave their homes. Many of them have come to Poland. The influx of refugees from Ukraine undoubtedly affects the Polish labor market and poses new challenges for Polish employers.

Challenges in the Workplace

One of the main challenges of Polish employers is the loss of employees. This is especially true for those entities that employed foreigners from Ukraine. Such workers, who were mostly men, returned to Ukraine due to the war.

The arrival of refugees has also caused a new type of worker to appear on the Polish labor market—female citizens of Ukraine, often with young children in their care. This situation is causing businesses to consider changes in workplaces and jobs they offer in order to accommodate them for the new female job candidates.

Polish employers, particularly those with a mixed-nationality workforce, are facing increased workplace tensions and conflicts between co-workers resulting from employee attitudes toward the situation in Ukraine.

In some companies, particularly those with business or trade relations with Russia or Belarus, employee revolts are occurring. Some employees refuse to work for Russian or Belarusian clients.

Actions Taken by Polish Employers

Employers can actively help their employees from Ukraine and employees who support refugees from Ukraine.

Below is a list of sample actions:

  • Financial support from the employer's funds or within the company's social benefits fund.
  • Material and organizational support in bringing the family of an employee from Ukraine.
  • Granting additional days off to bring a family from Ukraine or for activities on behalf of refugees.
  • Providing psychological, health and social assistance.
  • Providing child care facilities, such as day care centers, for employees' children.

Anna Golenia and Renata Dluska are attorneys with Osborne Clarke in Warsaw, Poland. © 2022 Osborne Clarke. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.

How can you help?
The International Committee of the Red Cross remains active in Ukraine, saving and protecting the lives of victims of armed conflict and violence. Its neutral and impartial humanitarian action supports the most vulnerable people, and your donation will make a huge difference to families in need right now. Donate here.

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