Both the health and the economic impacts of COVID-19 will be extremely severe. Governments around the world take the lead to ensure that there is a correct financial support available to businesses, so that they can get through these uncertain times. On 1 April 2020, Poland launched the Anti-Crisis Shield legislation of measures protecting businesses and employees against the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 epidemic. Its estimated value is approx. EUR 47 bn.
The new Polish Anti-Crisis Shield legislation introduces significant changes to civil law, commercial law and consumer protection. The main changes are as follows:
Social security contributions exception
Exemption from the obligation to pay the social security contributions for the period of 3 months for:
- small companies which register up to 9 persons for social security,
- self-employed if their monthly income is less than PLN 15,681 ( 300% of the average monthly salary).
Co-financing employee’s remuneration for companies whose turnover dropped down due to COVID-19 in case of:
- Economical standstill: According to the new rules, in case of economical standstill the employer may decrease the remuneration of employee but not more than 50% and to the amount not lower than minimum salary (currently PLN 2,600). In such a case, the remuneration will be funded from the Guaranteed Employment Benefit Fund up to 50% of the minimal salary together with the social security contributions paid by the employer (PLN 1,533).
- Reduced working hours: Employer may decrease working hours of the employees by max. 20% but not less than to half-time. In such a case, the remuneration will be funded from the Guaranteed Employment Benefit Fund up to 40% of the average monthly salary from previous quarter together with the social security contributions paid by the employer (i.e. PLN 2,452).
The benefits can be awarded not only to employees but also to people on civil law agreements.
Moreover, small and micro entrepreneurs may apply to conclude an agreement with the local government (starosta) under which they will receive a subsidy for the employees’ remuneration.
Working hours flexibility
Enabling employers affected by the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic to reduce the employee’s daily uninterrupted rest time from the current 11 hours to 8 hours (with a guarantee of giving the employee equivalent rest within 8 weeks), and the weekly rest period from 35 to 32 hours. In agreement with trade unions – he will also be able to extend the daily working time to 12 hours (equivalent working time system) and the reference period to a maximum of 12 months.
Periodic medical examinations suspension
Suspension of the obligation to perform periodic medical examinations by employees. Current medical examinations’ results of the employees are prolonged.
Suspension of medical and psychological examinations for drivers performing road transport.
Low interest loan from the Labour Fund
Introducing low interest from the Labour Fund of up to PLN 5,000 for micro entrepreneurs.
Loans together with the interests will be waived on the entrepreneur’s request under a condition that the entrepreneur does not reduce employment.
Favourable loss settlement
Enabling CIT and PIT taxpayers who bear the negative consequences of COVID-19 one-time deduction of the loss incurred in 2020 from operating income generated in 2019. The condition is to achieve in 2020 revenues lower by at least 50% than in 2019.
Deduction of donations
Enabling unlimited deduction of donations given to counteract or prevention of COVID-19 in PIT and CIT taxes.
Extension of residence visas and temporary residence permits for foreigners.
Extinguishment of mutual obligations in the shopping-centre leases
During the period of the retail ban in the shopping-centres, the mutual obligations between tenants and landlords are being terminated.
Corporate governance flexibility
Enabling management boards’ and supervisory boards’ meetings with the use of means of distance communication. Adoption of resolutions should be also possible in the same manner or in the written form. Possibility of casting a vote in written form through another member of the company’s governing body.
It should be also admissible to attend and vote at the shareholders meeting and the general meeting of shareholders with the use of electronic means of communication.
Tax on civil law transactions exemption
Exemption from tax on civil law transactions (PCC) for loan agreements concluded until 31 August 2020.
Real estate tax exemption
Possibility of exemption or extension of instalment payment deadlines for real estate tax for land, buildings and structures related to business activity for designated groups of entrepreneurs who have been affected by COVID-19 epidemic.
Postponement for important deadlines
The following deadlines are postponed:
- advance payments for income tax on salaries and wages for March and April 2020 to be paid until 1 June 2020;
- new Standard Audit Files (JPK_VAT file) obligations are moved from 1 April to 1 July 2020;
- obligation to create Employee Capital Plans in medium-sized enterprises is moved to 1 October 2020;
- obligation to register Beneficial Owners for companies registered before 13 October 2019 is moved from 13 April to 13 July 2020;
- submitting information on transfer prices is extended to 30 September 2020;
- extending the period of preparation of paper waste record documents to 31 December 2020;
- submitting tax declaration on income generated or loss incurred in 2019 is moved to 31 May 2020;
- extension of deadline for preparing financial and operating statements concerning 2019 by 3 months;
- the payment of annual fee for perpetual usufruct is postponed until 30 June 2020;
- approval of remuneration policy for the members of the management board and the supervisory board in public companies are prolonged until 30 August 2020.