The Government has adopted a so-called shield 4.0, i.e. further set of anti-crisis solutions in order to prevent negative consequences of COVID-19. Pursuant to an announcement of the Ministry of Development, the main aim of the so-called shield 4.0 is to protect Polish enterprises, employment and consumers.
Shield 4.0 includes i.a. the following anti-crisis solutions:
- temporary anti-takeover regulations for protection of Polish companies against buyout by investors from outside of the EU, and new rules for controlling takeovers of companies, to be in force for two years. Transactions involving acquisition of a significant number of shares in certain companies according to the objectives of shield 4.0 are to be controlled by the President of the Polish Antimonopoly Office (UOKiK). The regulation in question applies to industries which are crucial for maintaining safety, order and public health.
- credit payment holiday for persons who have lost their job or other main source of income. The possibility to suspend repayment of a credit, without any interest and other fees being charged, for a period of 3 months.
- detailing principles for performing remote work in order to prevent abuse and ensure equal treatment of employees.
- introducing a possibility for an employer to grant an employee a holiday leave unused by the employee in prior calendar years, for the dates specified by the employer, without obtaining a consent of the employee and not taking into account a holiday leave schedule.
- a possibility to terminate non-competition agreements within a period of the epidemic threat or the state of epidemic. Thanks to this solution employers, principals, ordering parties will be entitled to unilaterally terminate non-competition agreements which are in force upon termination of legal relationship, and, as a consequence, it will result in no need to pay a compensation for refraining from any competitive activities.
- limiting the amount of a severance payment and compensation to 10 times the minimum remuneration (which currently amounts to PLN 2,600 gross) in case of termination of an employment relationship, an agency agreement, a contract of mandate or other service contract.
- introducing a possibility to suspend certain obligations concerning the Company Social Benefits Fund or other funds of a social nature, upon arrangement with trade union organizations, in the event an employer experiences a certain decrease in economic turnover or a significant increase in burdens of a remuneration fund.
- introducing a possibility not to apply during the epidemic provisions of collective labour agreements or remuneration regulations determining a contribution to the Company Social Benefits Fund or other benefits of a social and welfare nature in a sum higher than required by law, in the event the employer experiences a certain decrease in economic turnover or a significant increase in burdens of a remuneration fund.
- facilitating the use of support for maintaining employment by introducing a possibility to receive support from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund by the entities which, despite a decrease in economic turnover due to COVID-19, did not decide to apply idle time pay with regard to employees or to decrease their working time (which had been necessary so far to receive the support).
- enabling entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 to contract credits with a reduced interest rate, thanks to subsidies from the state budget.
- support for local authorities’ budgets.
- facilities regarding tenders.
- tax facilities.
The above solutions known as shield 4.0 are soon to be referred to the Sejm to be debated.
By: Dorota Dąbrowska-Kobus, attorney-at-law