On Saturday, the Polish Parliament adopted the so-called anti-crisis shield. It provides for a number of solutions to help entrepreneurs combat the economic effects of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. These include benefits for the protection of workplaces, subsidies for downtime or reduced working hours, or the extension of care allowances. The crisis shield will also affect other aspects of labour law during the COVID-19 outbreak.

It should be borne in mind, however, that these are currently the forms of assistance enacted by the Sejm. The shield has been submitted to the Senate, so its final form will be known probably in a few days after it is passed by the Senate and signed by the President of the Republic of Poland.

The LSW Law Firm offers its clients affected by COVID-19 assistance in implementing all solutions, including preparation of required documents, letters, negotiations with unions and employee representatives.

I. Longer additional childcare allowance

The longer care allowance is an additional 14-day allowance linked to the closure of nurseries, schools and kindergartens attended by the employee’s child who is under 8 years of age. The benefit will be available to parents with employee status, but also to entrepreneurs and contractors who have paid sickness insurance contributions. The allowance will also apply for 14 days to parents who have benefited from the additional childcare allowance under the first COVID-19 Act. In the event of further closures, the Council of Ministers will be able to decide to extend the period of the childcare allowance.

II. Initial, periodic and check-up examinations

Extension of the validity of medical examinations (preliminary, periodic, check-ups) whose validity expired on 7 March 2020. These examinations will remain valid until a maximum of 60 days after the date on which the epidemic/epidemic threat is lifted.

Periodic examinations of employees will be suspended during the epidemic/threat of epidemics.

The performance of preliminary examinations (admission of an employee to work) and follow-up examinations (employee sickness for more than 30 days) will not be suspended. However, these examinations will be carried out by another doctor if an occupational doctor is not available. The worker will have to repeat the preliminary and follow-up medical examinations within 30 days of the date of the outbreak/emergency, as the certificate issued by a doctor who is not an occupational doctor will no longer be valid after that period.

III. Benefits for job protection

The entrepreneur will be able to apply for benefits or resources from the Guaranteed Employment Benefits Fund for the protection of the jobs of employees (employed under an employment relationship, under a contract of employment or a contract of mandate or other contract for the provision of services) affected by the economic downtime or reduced working hours as a result of COVID-19, in the form of

  • subsidizing the salaries of employees affected by the economic downtime or reduced working hours,
  • payment of employer’s social security contributions for the employees.

Benefits for the protection of jobs will be paid during periods of economic downtime or reduced working time (reduced working time of an employee by the entrepreneur for reasons not related to the employee, but not more than half of the working time) for a total period of 3 months, unless the Council of Ministers extends this period by means of a regulation.

IV. Wage reduction during the period of economic downtime

An employee (employed on the basis of an employment relationship, contract of mandate or other contract for the provision of services) subject to economic downtime will be paid remuneration reduced by no more than 50%, but not less than the minimum wage, taking into account the working time.

The remuneration will be co-financed by the Guaranteed Employment Benefits Fund in the amount of 50% of the minimum wage, i.e. PLN 1,300, taking into account the working time. Co-financing of employees’ salaries will not be available if the employee’s salary earned in the month preceding the month in which the application was submitted was higher than 300% of the average monthly salary from the previous quarter announced by the President of the CSO on the basis of regulations on pensions from the Social Insurance Fund.

V. Reduction in hours

An entrepreneur who suffers a decrease in business turnover as a result of COVID-19 may reduce working time by 20%, up to a maximum of 0.5 full-time employees (employed under an employment relationship, on the basis of a contract of employment or a contract of mandate or other contract for the provision of services), provided that the remuneration cannot be lower than the minimum wage.

An employee’s remuneration is co-financed from the resources of the Guaranteed Employment Benefits Fund to the amount of half of the remuneration, but not more than 40% of the average monthly remuneration from the previous quarter announced by the President of the CSO on the basis of regulations on pensions from the Social Insurance Fund, valid on the day of application.

A subsidy to employees’ salaries will not be due if the employee’s salary in the month preceding the month in which the application was submitted was higher than 300% of the average monthly salary in the previous quarter announced by the President of the CSO on the basis of regulations on pensions from the Social Insurance Fund.

VI. Determination of the conditions and procedures for performing work during economic downtime or reduced working hours

The conditions and procedure for performing work during the period of economic downtime or reduced working hours will have to be established in an agreement with trade unions or employee representatives.

The employer will have to submit a copy of the agreement to the relevant district labour inspector within 5 working days from the date of conclusion of the agreement.

The determination of the conditions and procedure for performing work during the period of economic downtime or reduced working hours will not require the preparation of changing notices to employees.

VII. Rest limitation

An employer will be able to limit daily rest to 8 hours and weekly rest to 32 hours if the employer has experienced a decrease in turnover as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak and is not in arrears with public law obligations.

The reduction of rest will be subject to agreement with trade unions or employee representatives by means of an agreement. The employer will have to provide a copy of the agreement to the relevant district labour inspector within 5 working days of the date of the agreement.

VIII. Equivalent working time system

The employer will be able to conclude an agreement on the introduction of equivalent working time, in which it will be permissible to extend the daily working time up to a maximum of 12 hours, in a settlement period not exceeding 12 months, if, as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak, he has experienced a decrease in turnover and is not in arrears in the payment of public law liabilities.

The reduction of rest will be subject to agreement with trade unions or employee representatives by means of an agreement. The employer will have to provide a copy of the agreement to the relevant district labour inspector within 5 working days of the date of the agreement.

IX. Co-financing of a part of employees’ remuneration costs by the Starost

A Staroste will be able, on the basis of an agreement concluded, to grant an entrepreneur (micro-entrepreneur, small and medium entrepreneur, non-governmental organization) for a period of up to 3 months co-financing of a part of the costs of remuneration of employees (employed on the basis of an employment relationship, on the basis of an employment contract or a contract of mandate or other contract for the provision of services), and social security contributions due on these salaries in the event of a decrease in business turnover as a result of the occurrence of COVID-19.

Co-financing in the event of a decrease in turnover by:

  • 1) at least 30% – will be able to be granted in the amount not exceeding the sum of 50% of salaries of individual employees covered by the application for co-financing together with social security contributions due on these salaries, but not more than 50% of the amount of the minimum remuneration for work, increased by social security contributions from the employer in relation to each employee, i.e. in the amount not exceeding 1566 PLN;
  • 2) at least 50% – may be granted in the amount not exceeding the amount constituting the sum of 70% of remunerations of individual employees included in the application for co-financing together with social insurance contributions due from these remunerations, but not more than 70% of the minimum remuneration, increased by social insurance contributions from the employer, in relation to each employee, i.e. in the amount not higher than PLN 2192
  • 3) at least 80% – may be granted in the amount not exceeding the amount constituting the sum of 90% of salaries of particular employees included in the application for co-financing together with social insurance contributions due from these salaries, but not more than 90% of the minimum remuneration, increased by social insurance contributions from the employer, in relation to each employee, i.e. in the amount not higher than PLN 2819.

The Council of Ministers may, in order to counteract COVID-19, by means of a regulation, extend the period for which the funding is granted, taking into account the duration of the epidemic emergency or epidemic state and the effects caused by it.

The enterprise benefiting from this subsidy will be obliged to maintain in employment the workers covered by the contract, for the period of the subsidy and, after the end of the subsidy, for a period equal to this period.

X. Foreigners

If, during an epidemic situation/threat of epidemics

  • the deadline for submitting an application for a temporary residence permit falls,
  • the deadline for the foreigner to leave the territory of Poland expires
  • ends the legal period of the foreigner’s stay on the basis of a national visa granted,

this period will be prolonged until the expiry of 30 days following the last of the introduced states, and his/her stay on the territory of Poland in this period will be legal.