Please note that the report below repeats or quotes words used during Prime Minister's press conference by him or his cabinet ministers, with only minor changes to decode the content. However, in press interviews some of that information carried a different tone or was elaborated to include additional or extended content.

According to an interview with Development Minister on TVN 24, measures proposed by the government would take effect on 1.04.2020.

All links below are to Polish-language content.

ANTI-CRISIS SHIELD

The Cabinet Council held a meeting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, after which a press conference was held (see here), with the President and the Prime Minister presenting an action plan designed to counteract the crisis. Then, following a cabinet meeting, another press conference was held at 2.30 p.m. with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Marlena Maląg (Minister for Family Matters, Labour and Social Policy), Jadwiga Emilewicz (Development Minister), Tadeusz Kościński (Finance Minister), and Adam Glapiński (NBP President). Both conferences were devoted to presenting a package of measures worth PLN 212 bn, divided into 5 pillars.

1.     Employee safety – 30 bn

2.     Business finance – 74.2 bn

3.     Healthcare support – 9.5 bn

4.     Financial security – 70.3 bn

5.     Public investment – 30 bn

The following measures were announced during the conference:

NBP President Adam Glapiński:

  • interest rate reduction (current NBP rates)
  • purchase of treasuries on secondary market
  • repo operations to supply liquidity to banks
  • legal reserve requirement reduced from 3.5% to 0.5%
  • legal reserve interest rate increased to equal the reference rate (0.5%)

 

Development Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz:

  • businesses meeting turnover eligibility criteria (reporting financial losses) will receive state-funded payments covering 40% of staff wages up to the average remuneration in the national economy, with the employers to pay at least the other 40% (20% representing a possible a loss to the employee);
  • self-employed persons and those working under contracts of mandate or of specific work will receive a one-off social security benefit of ca. PLN 2,000 (at least 80% of minimum wage) if they suffer loss of income.

For businesses with up to 9 employees:

  • a loan of up to PLN 5,000 for up to 12 months (need not be repaid if the company decides not to dismiss its staff within 6 months);
  • tax payments and social security contributions to be deferred (with no deferral fee applying);
  • ZUS inspections to be put on hold;
  • working capital loans to be resumed without credit checks;
  • if a firm "stops and is not carrying on business", the government will pay wages for it to cover an amount equal to unemployment benefit, with the firm required to pay the rest up to the minimum wage rate.

For larger businesses:

  • the government will assume funding the "idle time pay", and where working time is reduced to half time, the pay will not be less than minimum wage, with half of that amount to be funded out of the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund;
  • de minimis guarantees extended, loans of up to PLN 3.5M, BGK guarantees for 80% of loan amount;
  • Polish Development Fund to provide funding for businesses (no details of what that may be);
  • new credit insurance from KUKE (Export Credit Insurance Corporation);
  • credit repayments deferred by 3 months and by 3 extra months after additional negotiations (grace period);
  • a new fund to assist in loan interest payments.

For tourist industry (small and medium-sized companies)

  • the 30-day period for refunds due to failed trips/events extended to 180 days;
  • after 180 days, the customer may apply for a refund or receive an alternative service in the form of a voucher.

For transport industry:

  • a measure to refinance existing leases (to be ready in 2 weeks).

More for large businesses:

  • full loss carry-back – a company reporting a 50% loss of revenue in 2020 over 2019 will be entitled to credit the loss against its 2019 taxable income for up to PLN 5 million (via 2019 CIT adjustment);
  • JPK_VAT deferred until 1 July;
  • BDO Waste Database registration deferred until end of year for SMEs;
  • any business (whatever its size or form) reporting a loss will able to have its public levy payments (taxes, social security contributions) deferred or spread over time, with no deferral fees imposed.

Marlena Maląg, Minister for Family Matters, Labour and Social Policy:

  • if there has been a decline in turnover of 15% over last 2 months (or 20% in last month), funding will be launched to pay salary expenses.

Finance Minister Tadeusz Kościński:

  • administrative compliance duties to be deferred ("by a month or two" for tax returns);  according to the press, for PIT the deferral will be until end of June;
  • new forms of taxation, such as retail sales [tax], to be deferred until year-end;
  • [compliance with] tax requirements to be deferred, with no charge, on a reasoned application.

Questions:

  • Whether capital buffers for banks will be reduced – no answer from Prime Minister, no changes in banking tax.
  • Specific legislative proposals to be prepared by weekend as a single bill.
  • Question about funding for the program given the budget amounts to 420 bn while the shield scheme is PLN 212 bn – Prime Minister explains that the funds will come .... "from the budget".
  • Relaxed Sunday trading ban – shops can receive supplies on Sundays.
  • NBP expects a slowdown of no more than 2% and a very strong rebound after the crisis and absolutely rejects the recession scenario.
  • Question about conditions to be fulfilled by small business to receive assistance – Minister Maląg replies by describing the form and amount of aid but remains silent on the actual eligibility criteria, with Minister Emilewicz adding that one of the criteria will be "being in business before 1 March 2020".
  • When will assistance become available? – "Soon, with no waiting until the crisis ends", a few (or a dozen or so) days after the special bill is enacted (Prime Minister).
  • So far no support for shopping centre tenants.

 

Government has also declared plans to introduce the following measures:

  • protection for consumers and borrowers in relation to short-term/payday loans (first press conference with President);
  • additional assistance for the disabled;
  • loss for 2020 to be fully deductible next year (first press conference with President);
  • Ukrainian staff to have their visas and work permits automatically extended;
  • transport firms to be able to use leases from Polish industrial development agency ARP with a 3-month payment deferral (see e.g. this article in Rzeczpospolita).

 

If this issue pertains to your business and you are interested in our assistance, please contact your WTS&SAJA consultant or our office.

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