Natalia Zielinska on Comparison of Polish and Croatian Economic Crisis Measures

Lauren Simmonds

As Poduzetnik writes on the 6th of April, 2020, in this text, a consultant and entrepreneur, otherwise a Polish woman living and working in Croatia, Natalia Zielinska, summarises the coronavirus crisis measures taken by the Polish Government to help the troubled Polish economy. As the situation with these figures is changing and updating very quickly, the situation on April the 4th, 2020 is discussed here.

Otherwise, at 16:00 today, Natalia Zielinska is organising a webinar where participants can get a lot of useful advice regarding assistance measures and Hamag-Bicro working capital loans.

The situation in Poland

In Poland, there are currently more than 3,300 infected people and 65 people have sadly died owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The highest number of infected people, more than 800, are located in Warsaw and the surrounding county.

In response to the global crisis, the Polish Government passed a series of laws called the “Anti-Crisis Shield”, which entered into force on April the 1st, 2020. While the first package of coronavirus measures in Croatia focused mostly on medium and large enterprises, the Polish Government took the most care of micro-entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed, but it significantly neglected the needs of larger companies, causing various reactions.

Unlike in the Croatian case, the Poles have created a simple and transparent website with links provided to all of the measures, and a separate telephone information line has been opened for all questions and concerns from interested parties.

A summary of measures adopted in Poland

It must be noted that these measures vary considerably depending on the size of the company.

Taxes and contributions

A write-off of losses from last year. This measure is based on the experience of 2008/2009, when losses in annual self-employment reports increased by PLN 30 billion. In this way, a company currently suffering losses (with revenues 50 percent lower than in 2019) will be able to reduce the profit/income from independent business in 2019 by submitting an annex to their report for this year. However, the reduction may not exceed PLN 5 million.

Contribution write-offs

This measure applies exclusively to micro-enterprises which were established before the 1st of February 2020, and the Polish state has taken over the payment of contributions on their behalf for three months (March, April and May 2020).

This measure is approved without the need to demonstrate any sort of drop in company revenue, and the exemption applies to both business owners and employees. Self-employed persons with an income of up to PLN 15,681 (300 percent of the average salary) who pay contributions for themselves will also be entitled to write-offs. In addition, farmers will be entirely exempt. In Poland, farmers pay contributions under a special type of farmers’ social insurance (the so-called KRUZ).

Job protection – a package of measures to co-finance wages and increase working time flexibility

This regards the co-financing of employee salaries in the amount of 50 percent, 70 percent or 90 percent of the minimum gross salary, depending on the decrease in income (by 30, 50 or 80 percent). This comes with obligations regarding keeping staff that fall on the employer.

Similar measures are offered to the self-employed, whose income has decreased owing to the coronavirus crisis. An entrepreneur can get from 4,599 PLN in 3 months, with 50 percent drop in turnover, and up to 8,279 PLN with a decrease of 80 percent.

For self-employed persons who earn an income through work contracts or copyright contracts through various agencies, 80 percent of the minimum wage was offered, but exclusively for entrepreneurs whose income did NOT exceed 300 percent in the previous month.

Employment Protection Fee 

The quarterly co-financing of salaries and social security contributions for employees, and for entrepreneurs who are experiencing economic downtime or are entering part-time work due to the outbreak. A business owner who has reduced his working hours due to a decrease in turnover may reduce his employee’s working time by 20 percent, but not more than 0.5 full-time. 40 percent of the previous quarter’s average salary can then be deducted.

Loans for micro-enterprises in the amount of PLN 5,000 (approx. 1200 euros)

Other important changes made by the Polish package of measures include the additional care allowance for children and the disabled and the elderly for a period of fourteen days.

Among the amendments adopted was a very important provision providing for an exemption from the Public Procurement Law for contracts awarded to regional development funds, as in the case of contracts awarded by the Polish Regional Development Fund.

The measure is diverse and depends mostly on the number of employees and the formal legal relationship between the employee and the employer. In order to facilitate communication, but also to provide better information, a separate website has been set up with subpages for all potential users: entrepreneurs, farmers, employees, as well as non-governmental or cultural organisations.

Due to the strong reaction and great dissatisfaction from business owners, mostly those with more than nine employees, a new assistance package is now under preparation.

Some of the main arguments of Polish employers are:

The need to introduce measures that must be made available immediately, based on the statement, and the need for them to be verified after the coronavirus epidemic has passed

The retroactive recognition of aid, at least as of March the 13th, when the introduction of a quarantine was announced due to the coronavirus epidemic, not from the date of entry into force of the Act.

The involvement of medium and large enterprises in these aid measures.

The providing of funds to entrepreneurs to cover costs and damages related to the fulfillment of obligations imposed by public authorities and headquarters in the fight against coronavirus (such as assistance to JLSs and healthcare institutions).

The need for government funding for sick leave (currently funded by employers for 33 days), especially in case of sick leave due to coronavirus or because of quarantine.

The need to shorten the VAT refund deadline as soon as possible.

The exemption from VAT. In Poland, VAT is paid into a separate account if it is being paid immediately.

The need for the suspension of current tax audits and the cancellation of new tax audits.

The removal of work restrictions on Sundays (for easier access to required products and also for difficult business-to-business situations).

The need to increase Poland’s budget deficit.


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