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Poland: Economic measures to combat the corona crisis

The Polish government is taking a number of measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy. The “Anti-crisis shield” package has two main goals – protecting jobs and safeguarding liquidity. Swiss Business Hub Central Europe presents selected options that your Polish branch may find useful. 

In total, the measures run to PLN 212 billion (around CHF 53 billion), equivalent to almost 10% of Poland's GDP.
In total, the measures run to PLN 212 billion (around CHF 53 billion), equivalent to almost 10% of Poland's GDP.

The information below was last updated on: May 5, 2020. 
 

How can I apply for wage subsidies for my employees?

Companies are entitled to a three-month wage subsidy for their employees in the event of an economic standstill or reduced working hours.

The following requirements have to be met for this:

  • Drop in sales, defined as the sale of goods and services in terms of quantity or value
  • No arrears in the payment of public-law liabilities until the end of the third quarter of 2019
  • There are no grounds for filing for bankruptcy
  • An agreement has been concluded on the introduction of downtime or reduced working hours
  • The same operating costs are not covered by other public funds

In the event of downtime, it is possible to receive a wage subsidy  of 50% of the minimum remuneration. In the event of a reduction of working hours, it is possible to receive a wage subsidy  of up to half of the remuneration, however not more than 40% of the average monthly remuneration based on information provided by the statistics office. 

For SMEs  that have experienced a drop in sales of at least 30%,  support from a labor fund is also envisaged.
In the event of a 30% drop in sales, an employer can apply for a maximum of 50% of the minimum wage plus social security contributions . The higher the drop, the higher the subsidy.

Both subsidies are paid on a monthly basis. Support can be granted for a maximum of three  months. The government may, however, extend this period by decree.

Job centers in the voivodships are responsible for providing the funding. The application can  be submitted in electronic form on the website praca.gov.pl

How is the drop in sales calculated?

Any two  consecutive months in 2020 (e.g. February–March) or 60 consecutive calendar days are taken into account. The  sales  in this period are then compared with the same two months in 2019.

How can I apply for an exemption from social security contributions? 

The application for exemption from social security contributions can be submitted at the same time as the application for wage subsidies. Companies that employ up to nine  people can apply for a 100% exemption from social security for the period from  March to  May. Companies registering  between 10 and 49 persons for social security may apply for a 50% exemption, provided that they do not reduce the level of employment during this period. If the contributions for March have already been paid, they can be reclaimed in the exemption application for the month of  June. 
Applications can be made on the website of the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) .

Are there additional regional support programs? 

In addition to the  national measures, some regions are introducing their own instruments. Lower Silesia, where many Swiss companies have their branches, announced an economic package of PLN 1 billion (CHF 250 million) on April 21. The support is aimed at micro-enterprises and SMEs  in the region and will include both  finances and consultancy. The program  will be implemented in three stages. Appropriate tools, which are regularly published on the website, will be provided for each of the three phases. 

How can  liquidity be safeguarded?

Small and medium enterprises with sales in excess of PLN 4 million  (CHF 1 million) and positive EBITDA and net profit in the last year can apply for a working capital loan from the Agency for Industrial Development (ARP). An electronic application form will soon be published on the website

In addition, medium  and large companies will be granted loan guarantees  from the Liquidity Guarantee Fund  until the end of 2020. Further information and a list of banks can be found on the website of the Polish Development Bank

What other forms of funding are available?

Under the “Financing Shield” program, almost PLN 100 billion (approx. CHF 50 billion) is being made available to SMEs  and large companies, more than half of which is  non-repayable. 
At this stage, it remains to be seen whether companies with foreign capital will be able to benefit from these funds. The regulations stipulate that the actual  beneficiary  must prove that it is registered for taxes in Poland . The package is awaiting notification from the European Commission. In this respect, the Swiss Business Hub Central Europe is monitoring the development of the current situation. 

Updated on 5 May 2020:

Small and medium enterprises, having seen their turnover fall by at least 25%, can apply for support via online banking. The amount of support is calculated automatically. If the applicant maintains the business activity and employment for at least 12 months, 75% of the support can be waived after one year. Companies with foreign capital can also benefit from this solution, provided that the so-called "real beneficiary" is not resident in a tax haven.

The support for large companies is individually assessed by the PFR Polish Development Fund and includes both debt and equity financing. Additional information can be found on the PFR website.

Are there any regulations regarding donations towards the fight against the coronavirus? 

Donations to medical services or reserve agencies made between January 1 and September 30 can be deducted from the taxable base. The sooner the donation is transferred, the more can be deducted:

  • Until April 30, 2020 – an amount equal to 200% of the donation 
  • In May 2020 –  an amount equal to 150% of the donation 
  • From June 1 to September 30, 2020 – an amount equal to 100% of the donation

What needs to be considered?

Help is not provided automatically, but has to be applied for first. Short-time work in the form that exists in Switzerland  is unknown in Poland. In order to reduce working hours, an agreement must be concluded with the employees. The government continues to work on adapting existing measures and introducing new instruments. It is also worthwhile looking into possible regional programs in addition to national subsidy options. Our Swiss Business Hub is always available to answer your questions about current measures.

Where can I find more information?

An up-to-date overview of the measures can be found on the website of the Polish Ministry of Development. The Polish-Swiss Chamber of Commerce also publishes a collection  of information from its members in English. The partners in the expert network of the Swiss Business Hub Central Europe regularly publish the information in English as well: Gessel, Taac Solutions, Valians
 

How can we help you?

If you have any questions about the aid package in Poland or other topics related to exporting to the largest Central Eastern European country : as internationalization experts, we are there to help you during these uncertain times. Please contact our consultant for Poland, Katalin Dreher-Hajnal.

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