On 17 April 2020, the President of the Republic of Poland signed the Act on Special Support Instruments in Connection with the Spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the so-called Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0). This Act provides for changes in, among others, the solutions for employers in the field of labour law adopted in the Act on Extraordinary Measures for Preventing, Counteracting and Combating COVID-19, other Infectious Diseases and Emergencies Caused by Them (the so-called Anti-Crisis Shield). Most of the new legislation has been in force since 18 April 2020.
Below we present the most important changes, i.e.:
- Changes in the rules on co-financing from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund (“GEBF”)
- Changes in the working conditions of critical infrastructure workers
- Changes to the idle time pay
Amendments to the provisions on co-financing from the GEBF
The Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0. modifies Article 15g of the Act on Extraordinary Measures for Preventing, Counteracting and Combating COVID-19, other Infectious Diseases and Emergencies Caused by Them by:
- extending the catalogue of entities eligible for benefits for the protection of workplaces to include non-governmental organizations, state legal entities and entities conducting public benefit activity indicated in the Act on Public Benefit Activity and Volunteerism,
- introduction of restrictions on the possibility to reduce working time amount – previously applicable regulations allowed for obtaining co-financing from GEBF in the event of a 20% reduction in the working time of employees, while the Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0. assumes the possibility to reduce working time to less than 20%,
- the change of the moment from which the entrepreneur is entitled to receive co-financing – previously applicable provisions allowed for obtaining co-financing from GEBF from the date of submitting the application; according to the Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0., benefits from GEBF will be available from the month of submitting the application, i.e. from the first day of the month in which the application is submitted (provided that the changes in the working conditions apply from the beginning of the month),
- the change in terminating employment contracts – Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0 assumes that Art. 13 § 2 of the Act on Special Solutions for the Protection of Workplaces will not apply, which in practice means that the employees’ protection period will be in force only during the period when the employer receives co-financing, whereas the ban on terminating contracts will not apply after the end of that period.
Changes in the working conditions of critical infrastructure workers
The Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0. extends the employer’s rights in relation to employees employed in critical infrastructure during an emergency or epidemic state by introducing:
- the possibility to instruct an employee to exercise their right to rest in a place designated by the employer and
- the possibility to impose on an employee an obligation to remain on standby outside normal working hours at the work establishment or at any other place designated by the employer – in addition, provisions on on-call duty under the Labour Code will not apply.
It should be noted that the legislator has also decided to extend the catalogue of employers that may apply the above solutions.
Changes to the idle time pay
The Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0. introduces changes in the scope of the idle time pay to be granted to persons running non-agricultural economic activity and performing work on the basis of civil law contracts (agency contract, contract of mandate, other contract for the provision of services, to which the provisions concerning the mandate or contract for the performance of a specific task apply).
The main change relates to the possibility of applying for the idle time pay – in accordance with the adopted provisions of the Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0. the idle time pay may be granted to the aforementioned entities no more than 3 times.
The condition for being granted a subsequent idle time pay will be proving in a relevant declaration that the financial situation has not improved.
Other changes worth noting
The Anti-Crisis Shield 2.0. also provides for changes in the scope of:
- suspension of preventive health-checks,
- subsidizing a part of the employees’ salary costs under a contract with a staroste,
- the possibility of carrying out trainings on health and safety at work through electronic means of communication,
- the possibility for the Prime Minister to declare a day off from work,
- the performance of work by local government employees.
How can we be of help?
Our Law Firm offers comprehensive advisory services on all aspects of the labour law. For many years, we have been providing specialist legal assistance in this area to domestic and foreign entrepreneurs.
If you wish to be provided with our advisory services or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We would like to encourage you to keep up to date with our latest publications on solutions envisaged for employers and employees in connection with actions taken by the state authorities to prevent adverse economic effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic on Know Your Market website.
The Law Firm’s team is monitoring proposals for changes and solutions for both employers and employees. If you have any questions regarding the solutions provided for in the Anti-Crisis Shield, please contact us.
Information contained in this publication is of general nature and does not relate to the situation of a particular company. Due to frequent changes in Polish legislation, we kindly request that you make sure that on the day you are reading this publication the information contained therein is still up to date. We suggest that you consult our advisers before making any decisions.