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New anti-crisis solutions for employers in Poland

Poland
24.06.20
3
Written by
Raczkowski largest boutique firm focusing on HR law.
The last stage of work on the new support package for companies in Poland affected by the coronavirus crisis is in progress with the introduction of the Anti-Crisis Shield 4.0 bill. This article highlights some proposed solutions dedicated to employers.

Extended funding for employee salaries

Employers who have suffered a decline in their business sales turnover (15% or 25%) due to the Covid-19 crisis may also obtain additional funding for salaries (and the employers’ portion of employees’ social security contributions) for employees who are not affected by the following:

  • downtime, including economic downtime due to the occurrence of COVID-19; and
  • reduced working time due to the occurrence of COVID-19.

 

At this time, the co-financing is to be PLN 2,132.59 per employee (plus social security contributions). No co-financing is payable if the salary is higher than 300% of the average salary. Some of the rules applicable to economic downtime and reduced working time are applicable to these benefits under the special law.

More precise definition of remote work

The legislator has decided to define the rules of remote work more precisely. Employees may be instructed to work remotely if they have the skills, technical capabilities and space to do that work and if the type of work they do makes that possible. Employers are charged with providing the means of work, the necessary materials to work remotely and logistical support for remote work.

Employees may use other means of work provided that these means facilitate respect for, and the protection of, confidential information and other information the disclosure of which could risk their employer incurring a loss.

Employees will be duty-bound to keep records of the tasks they perform as instructed by their employer. Employers may retract the instructions to work remotely at any time.

The legislator has not decided on limiting the responsibility of the employer for the health and safety of remote work and for accidents when working remotely to the extent related to the means of work or materials they provide to do this work. This means the employer is liable based on the general regulations stated in the Labour Code.

Eligibility for economic downtime and reduced working time extended

Employers who incur a decline in the revenue they generate on the sales of goods or services due to CovidD-19 (without recording a decline in business sales of 15% or 25%) and thereby face a major increase in the burden posed by their salary fund will be able to do the following:

  • Reduce the working time of employees by a maximum of 20% to no less than 0.5 of a full-time equivalent; their salary, however, may not be lower than the minimum wage for work giving consideration to employees’ working time prior to reduction.
  • Furlough employees due to economic downtime with the stipulation that employers pay employees affected by economic downtime a salary reduced by no more than 50%; however, it cannot be lower than the minimum wage giving consideration to working time.

 

Employees’ working time may be reduced or the period of economic downturn may last for a maximum of six months.

Allocating overdue holiday leave

The act contemplates an option for employers to allocate unused holiday leave from previous calendar years, up to 30 days of holiday leave, on the dates they choose without employee consent and regardless of the holiday leave schedule. This right will remain in place during the epidemiological threat or during the epidemic.

Lower severance pay when terminating employment contracts

If business sales fall or if the burden posed by the salary fund referred to in the Act grows significantly, statutory severance pay paid for termination of an employment contract cannot exceed PLN 26,000 (ten times the minimum work salary).

Changes to the social benefits fund

If business sales fall or if the burden posed by the salary fund referred to in the Act grows significantly, employers may suspend the following duties:

  • establishing or operating the social benefits fund;
  • paying the underlying contribution;
  • paying holiday leave benefits.

 

If trade unions operate in employers’ businesses, then an agreement must be reached with them.

Right to terminate non-compete agreements

An employer that is a party to a non-compete agreement that takes effect after termination of an employment relationship, agency agreement, mandate agreement, other service agreement or work product agreement may terminate it by giving seven days’ notice.

Authors
Łukasz Kuczkowski
Partner - Poland
Raczkowski