"On 19 March 2020, the Polish government presented solutions within the framework of the so-called “anti-crisis shield”. As of 23 March 2020, the bill introducing amendments to various pieces of legislation is subject to consultation within the governmental bodies and should soon be presented for adoption (within a week – the Polish parliament will probably vote on it on Friday, 27 March). The final comprehensive project bill has not yet been officially published and is subject to change before its final adoption, but the general scope is currently known. As for now only strictly epidemiological measures have been adopted as laws. Generally, the current propositions mostly address potential loss of jobs and tax reliefs for smaller businesses.
Apart from tax and labour measures (such as compensation of pay and remuneration costs), there will be untaxed compensations to one-person firms up to 80% of minimum pay if the firm's income fell by at least 15% compared to the month before, on condition that the income of the month before was less than 300% of median pay.
Microbusinesses may apply for one-time loans from the Employment Fund (Fundusz Pracy) to cover the costs of their business activity in the amount of PLN 5,000 for no longer than 12 months, with 6 months' payment delay, with the possibility of annulment in cases where such businesses do not decrease the number of their employees.
There is a proposed decrease of 90% in rent payments by tenants for the period when the tenants carried out no activity in their trading premises (obiekt handlowy) during state of ‘epidemic danger’ or ‘epidemic’ – covering sale premises larger than 2,000 square meters – unless the relevant lease agreement provides a more favourable solution for the tenant. Unfortunately, for now it is just a contracting measure with the state stepping in between the parties, which will most likely have an impact on the various financings of department stores, etc – by decreasing significantly the rental incomes.
Although this is a tax measure, it is worth noting that the banks subject to Polish banking tax will have their base of taxation reduced by the value of assets under loans granted to businesses suffering from COVID-19, entered into from the moment of adoption of the bill until 31 August 2020.
The state-owned Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego has offered a de-minimis guarantee scheme (addressed to businesses and related to guaranteeing of repayment of loans taken by such businesses), due to the coronavirus. The scheme has been extended so that it should be able to cover 80% of the granted loans. Please note that it is limited – the support of the relevant entrepreneur may not be greater than EUR 200,000 within three fiscal years – this measure has been implemented already by virtue of decree (rozporządzenie).
The Polish Banking Association (Związek Banków Polskich) has issued a communication dated 16 March 2020 where it was agreed that, amongst others:
- the banks will undertake certain measures to relieve their borrowers during the pandemic. It was agreed that, in particular, the business borrowers will be able to suspend payments of capital and/or interest (depending on the proposals by the relevant banks) for a period of up to three months;
- the banks will provide aid to all entrepreneurs who suffered because of COVID-19 who had creditworthiness at the end of 2019 and whose financing is soon to expire. The aid takes the form of extending that financing for up to six months at the borrower’s motion;
- banks owning leasing firms and/or factoring firms declared they will apply similar measures to the relevant agreements in those firms.