On 17 April 2020, the Act on Specific Support Instruments in Connection with the Spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, commonly known as the “Shield 2.0.”, was adopted.
From the point of view of our Clients, the most important changes in the current regulations of the Anti-Crisis Shield include:
1. Shortening the protection period for employees against termination of employment agreements.
In accordance with the current wording of the Anti-Crisis Shield, an employer who received a part of his/her remuneration due to downtime or limited working hours, does not have a right to terminate an employment agreement (i) for reasons not related to the employee when receiving benefits and (ii) for a total period of 3 months immediately after the end of such financial support. The new wording of the Shield mitigates this requirement and shortens the protection period for employees against termination of their employment agreements. Currently, an employer cannot terminate an employment agreement for reasons not related to the employee only thorough the period of receiving benefits. More importantly, this provision also applies to already concluded benefit agreements for the protection of workplaces.
2. Extension of the scope of entities entitled to exemption from ZUS
The initial content of the Anti-Crisis Shield provides that entrepreneurs hiring less than 10 employees have a possibility to exempt from the obligation to pay contributions for social insurance, health insurance, Labor Fund, Solidarity Fund, the Guaranteed Employment Benefit Fund (FGŚP) or the Bridge Pensions Fund due for the period from 1 March 2020 to 31 May 2020.
After adoption of the Shield 2.0., the exemption from contributions also applies to contributors hiring from 10 to 49 employees covered by social insurance. The exemption will be available in the amount of 50% of the total amount of the unpaid contributions for March-May 2020.
3. Suspension of the deadline for declaring bankruptcy
The existing provisions of the Act on Bankruptcy Law stipulate that an entrepreneur is obliged, not later than within thirty days from the date on which the grounds for declaring bankruptcy occurred (if he/she has lost the ability to perform his/her financial obligations due) to file a petition for bankruptcy to the court.
In accordance with the provisions of the Shield 2.0., if the grounds for declaring bankruptcy of a debtor arose at the time of a state of epidemic thread or a state of epidemic announced due to COVID-19 and the insolvency was caused by COVID-19, the deadline for filing a petition for bankruptcy shall not begin yet, while the already commenced period shall be interrupted.
At the end of the state of epidemic threat or the state of epidemic, the deadline for filing a petition for bankruptcy shall be calculated from the beginning.
However, if the insolvency situation arose during the state of epidemic threat or epidemic declared because of COVID-19, it is assumed to have occurred because of COVID-19.
This is a significant change for entrepreneurs which will enable them to be exempted from bearing the responsibility for not filing a petition for bankruptcy in time.
The information presented above constitute just a small part of the changes concerning implementation of the Shield 2.0.
Further questions will be answered by our experts: advocate Michał Włodarczyk (email@example.com) and advocate Mateusz Pergałowski (Mateusz.firstname.lastname@example.org). Please do not hesitate to contact us.