During the times of the Second Polish Republic the civil servants, teachers, the military, postal and railway workers were not covered by the universal social insurance, because before the social insurance act came into force, they were covered by pension systems guaranteeing more advantageous benefits. Persons working in state administration had a privileged position compared to the employees in general, both in terms of the scope and level of the benefits and their entire coverage by the State. The level of the pensions depended on the years of service and after 10 years of service amounted to 40% and was increasing every year by 2.4% or 3% up to 100%. The civil servants acquired the right to the pension already after 10 years and as of 1934 after 15 years of civil or military service. In special cases they were entitled to pension after 5 years already.
The history of old age has only relatively recently become explored as a research topic in Poland. This sketch focuses on the relationship between old age and poverty in People’s Republic of Poland. Old age, however, was a significant object of interest of the PRL authorities in at least two aspects. The first was the social security system, particularly in relation to old age and disability pensions, and the second, social care for the aged.
In the period of the Second Polish Republic, social policy became an important field of activity for public authorities. It was distinguished by a high level of awareness of the prevalent social problems, progressive legislation, and advanced management. The only missing element was sufficient financing. In the budgetary policy of the Second Polish Republic, social expenses were of minor importance. For the most part of the period, they amounted to approximately 3% of all expenses. The Ministry of Social Care was underfunded, which was evident in nearly every aspect of its activity. Hence, if one wonders if the origins of the Polish welfare state can be traced back to the Second Polish Republic, the answer must be “no”. Although extra funds (spent on tackling unemployment, pensions, or disability benefits) were found outside of the ministerial budget, the arguments presented in this article only confirm the hypothesis presented above.