Employment 24. March 2020

Poland: Shielding business from crisis. Revision of COVID-19 special-purpose act – labour law and salary subsidies

24. March 2020
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Ewa Bieniak
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act legal Poland

Shielding business from crisis. Revision of COVID-19 special-purpose act – labour law and salary subsidies

As the Polish government continues to work on the revision of the COVID-19 special-purpose act, we have prepared an overview of the proposed changes regarding employer support in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Salary subsidies

Paid from the budget of the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund (Fundusz Gwarantowanych Świadczeń Pracowniczych)

The government would cover a part of salaries of employees (working on the basis of employment contracts, mandate contracts and other civil-law contracts with social security coverage) whose jobs have been put on hold or working hours cut, and their social security contributions in part paid by the employer for a total of 3 months following the execution of the subsidy agreement.

The government pledges to meet:
– no more than 50% of minimum pay (PLN 1300) of employees whose jobs have been put on hold;
– 50% of pay, but no more than 40% of average monthly pay from the preceding quarter (PLN 2079.43) in the case of employees whose working hours have been cut (by 20%, but no more than to 0.5 of a full-time position).

The subsidies would be paid as long as the employee’s job remains on hold or working hours cut in consequence of a turnover drop caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, defined as a drop in the value or volume of goods/services sales of:
– at least 15%, calculated as the ratio between the total turnover generated over the period of any 2 consecutive months after January 2020 and the total turnover generated over corresponding 2 months of the preceding year; or
– at least 25% over one month after January 2020, compared to the preceding month.

Paid by poviat heads (poviat employment agencies)

Poviat heads would cover a part of salaries and social securitycontributions paid by SMEs in the case they record a turnover drop caused by the COVID-19 outbreak over any 2 consecutive months after January 1, 2020, compared to the total turnover generated over any 2 consecutive months of the preceding year; the subsidies would be paid for up to 6 months in the case of micro and small enterprises and 3 months in the case of medium enterprises.

The level of subsidies would be tied to the size of the drop:
– at least 30% turnover drop – subsidies equal to the product of the number of employees and 50% of minimum pay,
– at least 50% turnover drop – subsidies equal to the product of the number of employees and 70% of minimum pay,
– at least 80% turnover drop – subsidies equal to the product of the number of employees and 90% of minimum pay.

In order to qualify for the above-described support, businesses will need to satisfy a host of other conditions, which are too big a topic to discuss here in detail.

Periodic health examinations determining employee’s ability to work

The government has proposed to suspend the obligation to undergo periodic examination and examination following dealing with hazardous substances, as well as the requirement to hold a valid doctor’s certificate in order to be allowed to work. The examinations are to be carried out no later than 60 days after the state of epidemic threat or epidemic is called off.

Examinations upon returning to work after an absence and before starting a job are still required, however, if a doctor authorized to carry out such examinations and issue certificates is unavailable, the employee may visit a different medical practitioner.

Additional care allowance

Employees who need to take time off to take care of a child below 8 would be entitled to additional care allowance of 14 days (added to the days already granted on the basis of the special-purpose act before the amendment).

Additional care allowance would be also provided over a period of 14 days to:
– insurance holders who need to look after a person with diagnosed moderate to severe disability until they come of age or with diagnosed disability;
– insurance holders who are given time off to look after a disabled adult.

It is also suggested that the Ministers Council should be able to extend the time limits stipulated in the special-purpose act for as long as day care facilities remain closed.

Applying less favourable employment terms

The government proposes that employers, who reported a specified turnover drop and have no arrears in the payment of taxes, social insurance contributions, health insurance contributions and other financial obligations (with some exceptions) by the end of 3rd quarter of 2019, should be able to:
– cut the minimum daily period of rest to no less than 8 hours (compared to 11 hours) and the minimum weekly period of rest to no less than 32 hours (compared to 35 hours), covering at least 8 hours of uninterrupted daily rest; the employee would be able to take advantage of the difference between 11 hours and the reduced period of rest within 8 weeks at the latest;
– enter into an agreement with trade unions or employee representatives (if a company does not have any trade unions) on applying employment terms less favourable than the ones stipulated in employment contracts to the extent and for a period of time specified in such agreement.

Contact us in case of any questions.

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|
Ewa Bieniak
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act legal - BSWW legal & tax
About the authors

Ewa Bieniak

Of Counsel

Ewa is a trusted advisor to clients on labour and commercial law, while also handling matters related to energy regulations and corporate advisory services. She offers support mostly to businesses operating in the energy sector, advising, in particular, on licenses, tariff pre-approval activities and tariff and user manual approval proceedings, as well as documents covering the relations between energy companies and consumers.

Piotr Pośnik

Partner

Piotr has extensive experience in advising management boards and company owners on ongoing matters related to business operations, in particular, in investment, production and retail sectors. He also protects his clients’ interests in commercial and corporate disputes and represents clients in pre-trial negotiations as well as proceedings before common and arbitration courts. The scope of his professional interests also includes economic criminal law.

Ewa Ostaszkiewicz-Sobiczewska

Partner

Ewa holds vast experience in assisting investment firms and their shareholders in establishing brokerage houses, expanding their business and running day-to-day operations. She represents investors and other entities in proceedings before the Polish Financial Supervision Authority and capital market disputes. Ewa also supervises due diligence teams. Her experience includes advising on individual and collective labor law, including negotiations with trade unions and employee representatives, advising on employment restructuring, outsourcing and mass layoffs, optimization of executive contracts, as well as labor law and social insurance litigation. She also provides ongoing legal services to a range of businesses.

Marta Podskarbi

Senior Associate

Marta has vast experience in representing clients before common and arbitration courts. She is interested in labour law, with particular focus on dispute resolution and internal regulations implementation and compliance, while also having handled gambling-related issues and banking law cases.

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