Anti-Crisis Shield 3.0
On 14 May 2020, the so-called Anti-crisis shield 3.0 has come into force – another act amending the measures of the Anti-crisis shield. Please find below the most important changes in the area of labour law:
Exemption from payment of ZUS contributions
The right to be exempted from ZUS contributions for April and May 2020 has been extended, and it will also be available to following persons:
- self-employed persons, whose revenue in the first month for which the application for exemption from contributions is submitted exceeded 300% of the forecasted average monthly salary (PLN 15,681), provided that:
- they run business activity prior to 1 April 2020, and
- they achieved an income not exceeding PLN 7,000 in the first month which the application is submitted for;
- persons benefitting from the „start-allowance” (Pol. Ulga na start – exemption from social security contributions with exception of health insurance contributions) provided that:
- they run business activity prior to 1 April 2020, and
- they achieved a revenue not exceeding PLN 15,681 in the first month which the application is submitted for, or, if the aforesaid condition is not met – the possibility to benefit from this allowance depends on achieving by this person of an income not exceeding PLN 7,000 in the first month which the application is submitted for.
The possibility to release the abovementioned persons from the obligation to pay contributions for April and May 2020 is applicable even if those have already been paid.
Our comment: It is worth to consider that the exemption from contributions in this case will be applicable only for two months.
Extending the scope of data reported to social security
- When registering a person for social insurance, the employer will be required to indicate additionally the profession of the employee.
Our comment: The purpose of this provision is to be able to estimate the absence of employees from given sectors of the economy.
Higher amounts free from deductions from remuneration
- If, as a result of activities related to the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the employee’s salary has been reduced or the employee’s family member has lost her/his source of income, the amounts free from deductions set out in art. 87¹ of the Polish Labour Code shall be increased by 25% for each family member who has no income and who is this employee’s dependant.
- A family member shall mean: a spouse or a parent of an own child, a child up to the age of 25, as well as a child after the age of 25 holding a disability certificate, if in connection with said disability she/he is entitled to a special care allowance or carer’s allowance.
Our comment: Since the time frame within which the abovementioned regulations are to be applied has not been specified, they may be potentially abused by debtors.
Extension of the right to standstill allowance for sole entrepreneurs
- The standstill allowance will also be granted to entrepreneurs who started their business activity prior to 1 April 2020.
Our comment: Until now, the requirement to run business prior to 1 February 2020 was in force.
Changes regarding foreigners
- The foreigner will be able to work under amended conditions, i.e. it will be possible to order remote work or reduce working time without the necessity to change the foreigner’s permit or obtain a new permit (this includes, among others, temporary residence and work permits or seasonal work permits) or without the necessity to enter a new statement on entrusting work to a foreigner in the register of such statements.
- Foreigners will be entitled to commence seasonal work without the necessity to obtain a permit, if they had a work permit valid after 13 March 2020 or a statement on entrusting work to a foreigner entered in the register of such statements, for which at least one day of the work period specified in this statement falls after 13 March 2020.
Our comment: This regulation eliminates the doubts related to the possibility of applying anti-crisis measures by employers employing foreigners. From the very beginning SSW supported such an interpretation, which is why we are glad that these doubts have been dispelled.
Changes in court proceedings
- Procedural and court deadlines (including in proceedings before labour courts) which have been suspended, start running or continue to run after 7 days from the date of the entry in force of the Anti-Crisis Shield 3.0 (i.e. from 23 May 2020).
- During the state of an epidemic or state of an epidemic threat and within 1 year after their termination:
- it is possible to conduct court sessions/hearings in a remote form, unless conducting a “traditional” court session does not cause undue threat to the health of the persons participating in it;
- members of the judge panel (except for the chairman and clerk of the case) will be able to attend the meeting in a remote form, exception made for the final session closing the hearing;
- in camera hearings will take place more frequently upon the chairman’s ordinance.
- If all evidence has been obtained in the case, the court, after having previously collected the positions from the parties in writing, will be able to close the trial and issue a judgment in a in camera session.
- It will be possible to conduct an appeal without a hearing in cases in which the appeal was lodged prior to 7 November 2019. Exception is made when a party requests a hearing or evidence to be taken from witness statements or a hearing of the parties, which cannot be omitted – in such case the hearing cannot be replaced by an in camera session.
Our comment: High arbitrariness and ambiguity of the regulations included in the above provisions may cause problems in their interpretation in the future. The introduced changes also require the use of electronic means of communication, which can be a problem at least for smaller courts.