Poland Act on Special Arrangements for the Prevention of COVID-19

by | Apr 7, 2020

On 8 Mach, an Act on special solutions related to the prevention, counteracting and combating of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and emergencies caused by them (the ” COVID-19 Act”) entered into force. The Act was amended on 31 March 2020. Here are the main takeaways:

Carer’s allowance

Additional carer’s allowance for a period not exceeding 14 days. In case of closing a nursery, children’s club, kindergarten, school or other institution attended by the child or inability to provide guardianship by a nanny or day carer due to COVID-19, the insured is released from work due to the need to take care of the child personally.

Inspections/employees/contractors

Suspension of regulations concerning periodical inspections and control tests of employees resulting from the Labour Code and tests from the Act on Road Transport (after cancelling the state of the epidemic – 60 days for their execution),

Medical certificates issued in the framework of initial, periodic and control medical examinations, the validity of which expired after 7 March 2020, shall remain valid, however, no longer than 60 days from the date of cancellation of an epidemic emergency or state of epidemic.

If separate provisions for medical tests other than those referred to in paragraph 1 or psychological examinations require a valid medical or psychological certificate and the validity of the certificate expired after 7 March 2020, the certificate shall remain valid, but no longer than 60 days from the date of cancellation of the epidemic emergency or state of epidemic.

If separate regulations make the performance of specific activities or the acquisition of specific rights in order to perform professional activities subject to the possession of an appropriate medical or psychological certificate, such certificate shall be issued immediately, not later than by the 60th day after the date of cancellation of the epidemic emergency or state of epidemic.

An entrepreneur who has suffered a decrease in business turnover as a result of COVID-19 may reduce their working hours by 20%, up to a maximum of 0.5 person employed, provided that the remuneration cannot be lower than the minimum wage set under the minimum wage regulations, including working hours. The conditions and mode of work during periods of economic downtime or reduced working hours shall be determined in consultation with trade unions or the representatives.

If a decrease in economic turnover has occurred, it is also possible to limit the daily rest of employees, extend the daily working time, however, not more than up to 12 hours, in the settlement period not exceeding 12, the employer may apply less favourable conditions of employment than those resulting from employment contracts to the extent and for the time agreed in agreement with trade unions or representatives of employees selected in the mode adopted by the employer. The conditions and mode of performing work during a period of economic downtime or reduced working hours shall be determined in agreement between the employer and the trade unions or representatives of the employees.

In the event of declaring an epidemic emergency or state of epidemic, the employer may, for a fixed period of time not longer than until the epidemic emergency or state of epidemic is cancelled:  1) change the system or work schedule of employees in a manner necessary to ensure the continuity of the operation of the enterprise or station; 2) order the employees to provide overtime work to the extent necessary to ensure the continuity of the operation of the enterprise or station – this applies to entrepreneurs conducting activities consisting in ensuring the operation of critical infrastructure systems and facilities

Decrease in turnover/wages for downtime 

An entrepreneur (who meets the conditions of the Act on special solutions related to the protection of workplaces) whose economic turnover has fallen as a result of COVID-19, may apply for benefits for the protection of workplaces, for the payment of benefits from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund to subsidize the remuneration of employees affected by economic downtime or reduced working hours, as a result of COVID-19, under the rules set out in paragraphs 7 and 10

Financial resources for an entrepreneur who has experienced a decrease in turnover in connection with COVID-19 are entitled to funds from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund for payment of employee social security contributions due from the employer

The employer pays the employee covered by the economic downtime a reduced salary, not more than 50%, but not less than the amount of the minimum wage determined on the basis of the minimum wage regulations, taking into account the working hours. This remuneration is subsidised from the resources of the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund, in the amount of 50% of the minimum remuneration for work determined on the basis of the regulations on minimum remuneration for work, including the working hours. The subsidy is not applicable to the remuneration of employees whose remuneration obtained in the month preceding the month in which the application was submitted, was higher than 300% of the average monthly remuneration from the previous quarter announced by the President of the GUS (Central Statistical Office) on the basis of the regulations on pensions from the Social Insurance Fund, in force on the day of submission of the application.

Idle time pay for a contractor, a person conducting business activity, a person providing services, performing agency contract, if not subject to social insurance on other account, the idle time pay is 80% of the amount of the minimum remuneration for work determined on the basis of the provisions on the minimum remuneration for work. The benefit is granted to Polish citizens as well as to foreigners legally residing in Poland – the application should be submitted to ZUS. In the case of a person performing a civil law contract, the application referred to in section 1 is submitted through the intermediary of the principal or ordering party respectively.

Additional solutions for the Entrepreneur employing up to 249 people who will record a high drop in turnover (at least 30%). The funding is granted by the starost on the basis of an agreement concluded with the entrepreneur for a period not exceeding three months.

Permits for foreign nationals

Extension of the terms of a foreigner’s temporary residence permit and visa during their stay in the Republic of Poland to 30 days after the end of the state of epidemic, if the expiry of the permit falls during the epidemic.

The period of validity of a work permit for a foreigner whose expiry date falls in the period of an epidemic emergency or a state of epidemic announced in connection with SARS-CoV-2 virus infections is extended by law until the 30th day following the date of withdrawal from the last state in force.

Taxes

A taxpayer who has suffered negative economic consequences due to COVID-19, may take advantage of the postponement of the transfer of advance payments collected in March and April 2020 to tax on income from work in the broad sense. The payment of advances on the above mentioned titles, which will be collected in March and April 2020 instead of 20 April and 20 May respectively, may be made until 1 June 2020.

The deadline for payment of tax on revenue from buildings for the months from March to May 2020 is extended.

Deductibility of a loss from 2020 from income (revenue) PIT and CIT taxpayers who, due to COVID19, suffered a loss from non-agricultural business activity in 2020 may reduce their income or revenue from business activity in 2019 by the amount of that loss respectively.

PIT and CIT taxpayers are exempt from the obligation to apply regulations concerning the so-called bad debts, which order to increase the income which is the basis for calculating the tax advances due in 2020 from non-agricultural business activities by unpaid liabilities. The exemption from this obligation will be available to taxpayers who have suffered negative economic consequences due to COVID-19 in a given accounting period and whose revenues generated in accounting periods in relation to the same periods in 2019 will decrease by at least 50%.

New income statements are to be submitted from 1 July 2020.

The application of the new VAT rate matrix, introduced by the Act of August 2019 amending the VAT Act and certain other acts, has been postponed by 3 months. This means that until 30 June 2020, the existing provisions of the VAT Act and its implementing regulations will apply to the rules on VAT rates.

Postponement of certain obligations

The change of deadlines concerns only employers from the second stage of implementation of the PPK, i.e. those employing entities which on 30 June 2019 employed at least 50 people. The new applicable terms are: -27 October 2020 – maximum deadline for concluding the management contract for the PPK, -10 November 2020 – maximum deadline for concluding the contract for the management of the PPK.

Postponement of the deadline for reporting information on beneficial owners to the Central Register of Real Beneficiaries (CRBR) until 13 July 2020 (if there is no change, this would only be until 13 April).

Meetings of the Management Board, Supervisory Board / amendments to the Commercial Companies Code (both limited liability companies and joint stock companies)

A meeting of the Management Board may be attended by means of direct remote agreement, unless the Articles of Association provide otherwise.

The Management Board may adopt resolutions in writing or using means of direct remote communication, unless the articles of association provide otherwise. Members of the Management Board may participate in adopting resolutions of the Management Board by casting their votes in writing through another member of the Management Board, unless the articles of association provide otherwise.

A meeting of the Supervisory Board may be attended by means of direct remote agreement, unless the Articles of Association provide otherwise.

Supervisory directors may participate in the adoption of resolutions by the board of supervisory directors by casting their votes in writing through another supervisory director,

The Supervisory Board may adopt resolutions in writing or by means of direct remote communication, unless the articles of association provide otherwise. The resolution is valid when all members of the board have been notified of the content of the draft resolution and at least half of the board members have participated in passing the resolution

Participation in the general meeting of shareholders may also be taken by means of electronic communication, unless the articles of association provide otherwise. Participation in the shareholders’ meeting in the manner referred to in the first sentence shall be decided by the person convening the meeting.

Amendments to public procurement contracts

The changes in the scope of public procurement contracts concern the possibility to adjust the content of the legal relationship between the parties to the changes in social and economic conditions caused by COVID-19 and to exclude the liability of the ordering parties, including sectorial ordering parties, for not establishing and pursuing the receivables from the contractors (e.g. contractual penalties) or making an amendment to the contract, under the terms of the Act.

The amendment of the contract and the withdrawal from the determination and recovery of the receivables arising from the non-performance or improper performance of the public procurement contract as a result of circumstances related to the occurrence of COVID-19 will not constitute a violation of public finance discipline.

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