The effects of the COVID-19 epidemic are noticeable in all economic sectors across the country. Since the beginning of the epidemic, the government has been working on solutions to help entrepreneurs save jobs.
Below we present the latest solutions for mitigating the effects of the epidemic on employers and employees, introduced by the "Anti-crisis shield 4.0.".
Additional care allowance for parents of children under the age of 8 has been extended until July 12
Additional care allowance is also granted when educational and care establishments are open but parents decide that they do not want to send the child to school, nursery or kindergarten. The Act entered into force on June 24, 2020, but with effect from May 25, 2020.
Remote work details
It is permissible if the employee has technical and housing capabilities to perform such work. The employee must also keep records of tasks performed. The employer must provide the means, materials and logistics services necessary to perform such work. The employer may withhold the remote work order at any time.
Overdue holiday leave
The employer may order the employee to use, within the period specified by the employer, without obtaining the consent of the employee and irrespective of the holiday schedule, the annual leave unused by the employee in previous calendar years, up to 30 days of leave (Article 15gc).
Company Social Fund
During the period of the epidemic/state of emergency, if the employer suffers a decline in turnover or an increase in payroll costs, the employer may suspend the following obligations:
- the creation or functioning of the Company Social Benefits Fund
- basic deduction from pay
- payment of holiday benefits
If there is a representative trade union organization at the company, the suspension of duties takes place in agreement with these trade union organisations (Article 15ge).
Reduction of severance pay
Limiting – up to 10 times the amount of the minimum remuneration for work (up to PLN 26,000) – the severance pay and compensations in the event of termination of employment, termination of the contract of mandate or other contracts for the provision of services, with the exception of the agency contract. This solution will be available for employers who suffer a decline in economic turnover or a significant increase in payroll costs (Article 15gd).
Possibility to terminate non-competition agreements during the state of emergency or epidemic. Employers, mandators and commissioning parties gain the right to unilaterally terminate the non-competition agreements which are still binding after the termination of a given legal relationship, within 7 days. As a result, along with the expiry of the contract, their obligation to pay compensation over the period exceeding the duration of the contract will expire (Article 15gf).
Co-financing for employers who did not introduce downtime or reduce working time
Co-financing of remunerations from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund also for entrepreneurs who, despite the decline in economic turnover following COVID-19, did not decide to reduce their employees’ working time or introduce economic downtime.
In such situation, co-financing of employee remuneration will be possible up to half of the remuneration, but not more than 40% of the average monthly remuneration.
However, the co-financing will not apply if the remuneration is higher than 300% of the average monthly remuneration.
Co-financing is granted for a total period of 3 months, counting from the month of submitting the application (Article 15gg).
Co-financing of remuneration in the event of a significant increase in payroll fund burden
An employer suffering a decrease in sales revenues and, therefore, a significant increase in payroll fund burden may:
- introduce economic downtime and pay remuneration reduced by no more than 50%, but not lower than the minimum remuneration for work, taking into consideration the working time.
- reduce employees' working time by a maximum of 20%, not more than 0.5 full-time employment, with the proviso that the remuneration may not be lower than the minimum remuneration for work, including the number of working hours prior to the reduction.
This will be possible in companies that are strongly affected by the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 which translates to a significant increase in payroll fund burden. In addition, for the employer to take advantage of downtime or reduction of work, it will be necessary to come to an agreement with trade union organisations operating at the workplace. This regulation applies only if the remuneration costs exceed 30% of the company’s revenues. The reduction of working time or the employee's economic downtime applies within a period of up to six months.
This means that these provisions will be applicable for subsequent six months from the month in which the entrepreneur's turnover began to return to the level generated prior to the crisis. It is important to give entrepreneurs time to recover from post-crisis losses while maintaining increased flexibility. However, this time may not exceed 12 months from the date of lifting the state of emergency or epidemic (Article 15gb).
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In case of any questions or the need to discuss this issue, please contact our expert Agnieszka KOŹLAREK:
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 Act of 19 June 2020 on subsidies to interest rates on bank loans granted to entrepreneurs affected by the effects of COVID - 19 and on simplified proceedings for approval of the arrangements on COVID - 19, Journal of Laws item 1068.