The new regulations introduced by the “Anti-Crisis Shield” are aimed at supporting entrepreneurs through partial co-financing of employee salaries. These solutions have been provided in two cases: economic standstill and reduced working hours.
What can be considered economic standstill or reduced working hours?
In accordance with the Act of 15 March 2019 on special arrangements for the protection of workplaces:
- economic standstill is a period in which the employee who is ready to perform work does not work for reasons that are not attributable them;
- reduced working hours is a reduction in working time by the employer for reasons that are not attributable to the employee, no more than 50% of the standard working time.
According to the “Anti-Crisis Shield”, an entrepreneur whose economic turnover has decreased as a result of the COVID-19 may reduce working hours of employees by 20%, but not more than 50% of the standard working time, provided that the remuneration cannot be lower than the minimum wage for work.
How to introduce economic standstill and reduced working hours?
The conditions and procedures of working during economic standstill and reduced working time shall be established based on the agreement with representative labour unions, or if there is only one labour union in the working establishment, with that union.
If there are no labour unions at the employment establishment, the above conditions shall be determined in consultation with the employees’ representatives appointed in accordance with the procedure adopted at that employer.
It should be added that in the event of difficulties in the election of workers’ representatives due to COVID-19, this agreement may be concluded with workers’ representatives previously elected by the workers for other purposes.
The employer shall send a copy of the agreement to the competent district labour inspector within 5 working days of the agreement being concluded.
The employee affected by the economic standstill is entitled to remuneration lowered by up to 50% but no more than the minimal remuneration for work.
Furthermore, during the COVID-19 economic standstill the entrepreneur may apply for disbursement of the remuneration of employees up to a maximum of 50% of the minimum remuneration for work (1300 PLN gross per employee) from the Guaranteed Emlpoyee Benefit Fund.
Reduced working hours
An application for payment from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund may also be submitted by an entrepreneur who has covered employees with reduced working hours.
In this situation, the subsidy is granted up to half of the salary, but not more than 40% of the average salary from the previous quarter announced by the President of the National Statistical Office (PLN 2079.43 gross).
Entrepreneurs the implement economic standstill and those introducing reduced working hours are entitled to funds from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund for payment of employee social security contributions in part due from the employer.
Conditions for receiving benefits
1. Decreased turnover
In order to receive the above mentioned benefits, the entrepreneur must demonstrate a decrease in turnover:
- not less than 15%, calculated as the ratio of the total turnover during any 2 consecutive calendar months, falling after 1 January 2020 to the day preceding the date of application. This turnover is then compared to the total turnover of the corresponding 2 consecutive calendar months of the previous year;
- not less than 25% calculated as the ratio of the turnover from any given calendar month falling after 1 January 2020 to the day preceding the day of application submission, in comparison with the turnover from the previous month.
2. No arrears
In addition, the entrepreneur may not be in arrears in the payment of tax liabilities, social security contributions, health insurance, Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund, Labour Fund or Solidarity Fund until the end of the third quarter of 2019.
Duration of benefits
The benefits and measures referred to above are due for a total period of 3 months after the date of signing the agreement with the Fund.
Who is considered an employee?
According to the “Anti-Crisis Shield”, an employee is both a person employed on the basis of an employment contract and a person employed on the basis of an assignment contract, a contract of mandate and another service contract.