The package of the so-called "Anti-Crisis Shield", as announced, includes a number of changes, among others, directly affecting employers and employees, which are to mitigate, at least in part, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. At present, the Sejm is proceeding with the adoption of acts that make up the "Anti-Crisis Shield".
1. Employment protection benefits. An entrepreneur with whom there has been a decrease in economic turnover may apply for benefits for the protection of workplaces and for the payment of benefits to subsidise the remuneration of employees affected by economic downtime or reduced working hours. He is also entitled to funds to pay social security contributions for employees due from the employer. The entrepreneur must meet specific criteria, in particular, he must not be declared bankrupt or in arrears in the payment of tax liabilities and contributions due until the end of the third quarter of 2019. The above benefits are also available for employees employed under civil law contracts.
2. Subsidisation of staff remuneration costs. The employer (micro, small and medium sized entrepreneur) will be entitled to receive a part of the costs of employees' salaries and social security contributions due from these salaries. The amount of the subsidy will depend on the size of the drop in economic turnover.
3. Reduced salary and salary subsidy. The act provides that 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 for work, including the working hours. At the same time, a subsidy of 50% of the minimum remuneration for work, including the working time, was provided. However, it was stipulated that the subsidy does not apply to employees whose remuneration in the month preceding the application submission was higher than 300% of the forecasted average monthly remuneration in the national economy in 2020 (currently PLN 15.681).
4. Limitation of working time. In the event of a decrease in economic turnover following the occurrence of Covid-19, the Employer is entitled to reduce working hours by 20%, but not more than 0.5 of full-time, bearing in mind that the salary cannot be lower than the minimum, including working hours. In such a case the employer is entitled to a subsidy up to the amount of half of such specified remuneration, but not more than 40% of the average monthly remuneration from the previous quarter (the value of 40% for the average remuneration Q4 2019 – PLN 2.079,4). Similarly as in the case of downtime, the subsidy is not entitled to remuneration of employees who earn more than PLN 15.681.
5. Limitation of rest, extension of working time, application of less favourable employment conditions. An employer who is not in arrears with the payment of tax liabilities and contributions due, and who has suffered a drop in economic turnover as a result of Covid-19, obtains three new entitlements:
the right to limit an uninterrupted daily rest to not less than 8 hours and a weekly rest to not less than 32 hours, covering at least 8 hours of uninterrupted daily rest;
the right to conclude an agreement on the introduction of a system of equivalent working time, which allows the daily working time to be extended to 12 hours;
the right to conclude an agreement to apply less favourable conditions of employment than those resulting from employment contracts.
Extension of the daily working time entails shortening it in some other days or giving the employee days off from work.
6. "Barking" of employees. An employer who employs staff in an enterprise which conducts activities consisting of ensuring the functioning of critical infrastructure systems and facilities within the meaning of the Crisis Management Act, as well as being a subcontractor or supplier key to maintaining the continuity of the operation of such infrastructure and ensuring the operation of liquid fuel stations shall obtain additional rights. They have the right to change the system of working time and to instruct their employees to provide overtime work in a manner necessary to ensure the continuity of operation of the enterprise or station. Such an employer shall also have the right to refuse to grant holiday leave, unpaid leave or other leave, and to postpone such leave or cancel the employee from leave. At the same time, the employer is obliged to provide the employee with accommodation and food necessary for the performance of his duties.