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COVID-19, Polish anti-crisis regulations

Anna Miśtal-Kluś17 April 2020Komentarze (0)

On 31 March 2020 the Polish Sejm (the lower Chamber of the Polish Parliament) passed the act of law called “The Anti-Crisis Shield” and it was published on 31 March 2020 in Legal Journal under position 568, and it entered into force (with some exceptions) on the same day. Below we present some points of this regulation. It is to be pointed out that the Polish Parliament is still working on some further regulations which will help the entrepreneurs to cope with the crisis – the new regulation is expected soon.

1 – State aids

1.1.
The Anti-Crisis Shield assumes full supsension of social security contributions for March, April and May 2020. For 3 months, the state is to take over the payment of these contributions to the Social Insurance Institutuon (ZUS) for employees of so called micro companies, employing no more than 9 people and established before 1 February 2020.
The exemption from social security contributions will also be available to entrepreneurs themself (physical persons running a business activity). The only condition is the entrepreneur’s revenue obtained in February 2020 was not higher than 300 % of the average salary forecast for 2020, i.e. not higher than 15.681,00 PLN (about 3.438,00 EUR).

1.2.
Physical persons running a business activity before 1 February 2020, persons performing an agency contract, contract of mandate or specific-task contract may obtain compensation for a stopover caused by COVID-19.

For example persons running a business activity may obtain a compensation in the amount of 2.080,00 PLN (about 456,00 EUR) if they prove prove that their income from business activity is reduced at least by 15 % in comparison with the previous month and is not higher than 300 % of the average monthly salary from the previous quarter announced by the President of the Central Statistical Office (GUS), i.e. on 1 April 2020 it cannot be higher than 15.595,74 PLN (about 3.420,00 EUR).

1.3.
Parents having children up to 8 years old may take care of their children who normally attend crèche, kindergarten or school which are closed now because of epidemic, and may obtain protective welfare payment during their closure. It concerns both employees and persons running a business activity who decide not to work during that time. For the time being the closure of the above mentioned posts is planned until 26 April 2020 (it has already been prolonged twice).

2 – Finance and banking measures

2.1
Bank credits – the regulation allows banks to modify the financial conditions, inlcuding change of payment deadlines, previously granted to small or medium companies who have found themselves in a special situation as a result of an epidemiological emergency – modification of the conditions will not lead to deterioration of the borrower’s situation.
The regulation introduced new rules to calculate the maximum amount of non-interest costs of consumer credit.

2.2
The deadline for preparing financial statements for 2019 has been moved by three months – to the end of June 2020, and they should be approved by the end of August 2020 (instead of the end of 30 June). In case of entities subject to the supervision of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, the deadline for preparing the financial statements for 2019 was moved by two months, i.e. until the end of May, and the reports should be approved by the end of July 2020.

3 – Payment delays

The legal provisions connected with Coronavirus-crisis do not provide any general special regulations concerning payments of due debts arising from civil claims. The limitation periods for such claims continue to run.
On the other hand limitation periods for public claims (e.g. taxes) during an epidemic threat or epidemic status do not start to run and commenced shall be suspended for that period.

4 – Tax exemptions

4.1.
The commune council may introduce, by way of a resolution, for part of 2020 exemptions from property tax: land, buildings and structures related to conducting business activities, to indicated groups of entrepreneurs whose financial liquidity has deteriorated due to negative economic consequences due to COVID-19.
Notwithstanding this, the deadline for payment of the income tax from buildings is extended until 20 July 2020, for the months March-May 2020 (instead of 20 April, 20 May and 20 June).

4.2.
Possibility of retroactive settlement of tax losses in personal income tax (PIT) and corporate income tax (CIT) – the loss incurred in 2020 PIT- and CIT- taxpayers will be able to deduct from the income obtained in 2019. It will be possible to deduct from the income from 2019 a loss of up to PLN 5 million (about 1.075.000 EUR) in the first year. The surplus will be deducted in subsequent years.

4.3.
Extension of deadline for payers to submit advance payment for payroll taxes collected in March and April until 1 June 2020 (instead of dates until 20 April and 20 May 2020). The same prolongation concerns persons running business activity and their income tax for March and April.

The deadline for submitting tax returns and paying tax for 2019 for all PIT- and CIT- taxpayers was extented by 31 May 2020, instead of 30 April 2020 (PIT) and 31 March 2020 (CIT).

5 – Employment law measures

The regulation provides microloan from the Labour Fund in the amount of 5.000,00 (about 1.075,00 EUR) for micro-entrepreneurs (employing up to 9 workers) who conducted business activity before 1 March 2020 and who will make an application in order to be granted a loan. The company may be granted such loan for a period for not longer that 12 months with a 6-month grace period, with possibility of redemption and condition that the entrepreneur for a period of 3 months from the date of its granting will not reduce the state of employment in relation to the state of employment as of 29 February 2020.

Microentrepreneurs may obtain a 3-monthly contribution to the remuneration of their employees in case of economic downtime or reduced working hours (specific conditions are governed by the legal act). The total amount of co-financing in case of economic downtime is 1533,09 PLN (about 330 EUR) per employee, which includes 50 % of the minimum wage, i.e. 1300 PLN plus the employer’s social security contributions from this amount. On the other hand, in case of working time reduction, the total maximum amount of co-financing is 2452 PLN (about 530 EUR), which includes 40 % of the average salary plus employer’s social security contributions from this amount. Working hours can be reduced by 20 %, but nor more than 0,5 jobs.

The employer affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic will be able to reduce the employee’s daily uninterrupted rest time from the current 11 hours to 8 (with a guarantee of providing the employee with equivalent rest within 8 weeks), and the weekly rest period – from 35 to 32 hours. In consultation with trade unions or – when there are no unions – with employee representatives, he will also be able to extend the daily working time to 12 hours and the billing period to a maximum of 12 months.

6 – Any other specific measures

6.1.
Exemption from rent of tenants in shopping malls for the period in which the tenant of the premises did not operate in a commercial facility with a sales area over 2000 sq m. during an epidemic threat or epidemic status.
Until 30 June 2020 the lessor cannot terminate the lease agreement or the amount of rent.

6.2.
Public procurement law
The contracting authority, after determining that the circumstances related to the occurrence of COVID-19 may affect or affect the proper performance of the contract, may, in consultation with the contractor, amend the contract, in particular by:
• changing the date of performing the contract or part thereof, or temporarily suspending the performance of the contract or part thereof,
• a change in the manner of making supplies, services or construction works,
• a change in the scope of the contractor’s service and the corresponding change in the contractor’s remuneration – provided that the increase in remuneration caused by each subsequent change does not exceed 50% of the value of the original contract.

If the public procurement contract contains provisions more favorably shaping the situation of the contractor than it would result from above mentioned regulation, these provisions shall apply to amendments to the contract, with the proviso that the circumstances related to the occurrence of COVID-19, may not constitute an independent basis for exercising the contractual right of withdrawal.

If the public procurement contract contains provisions on contractual penalties or damages for liability for non-performance or improper performance due to designated circumstances, the party of the contract shall present the impact of the circumstances related to COVID-19 on its proper performance and the impact of the circumstances related to COVID -19 on the appropriateness of determining and seeking these penalties or damages, or their amount.

The Contractor and subcontractor, after determining that the circumstances related to the occurrence of COVID-19, may affect or affect the proper performance of the contract between them, which is related to the performance of the public contract or part thereof, agree on an appropriate amendment to this contract, in particular they may change the date of performance of the contract or part thereof, temporarily suspend performance of the contract or part thereof, change the manner of performance of the contract or change the scope of mutual benefits.

6.3.
Justice

During the period of epidemic threat or epidemic status, procedural and judicial time limits among others in:
• court proceedings, including administrative court proceedings,
• enforcement proceedings,
• criminal proceedings,
• criminal tax proceedings,
• administrative proceedings,

do not start, and they are suspended for this period.

No court sittings are to take place during the above mentioned period. However, the regulation provides the catalog of urgent cases which courts are to consider also when the courts have completely ceased to operate. Among them are motions regarding the application of detention on demand or to hear the person in front of the court in the course of the security of evidence or towards whom there is anxiety that it will not be possible to hear such person at the trial.

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