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Anti-Crisis Shield in questions and answers pt.1

New changes introduced in the regulations regarding the provision of support for entrepreneurs and employees, as well as emergence of further funding opportunities or other solutions that help survive the current economic situation, cause more and more doubts and questions. Below is a series of the most frequently asked questions and issues raising doubts among entrepreneurs.

The employment and social security issues

1. Can I apply for additional care allowance during downtime?

NO, during a period of downtime, the employee does not provide work, and therefore can take care of the child during this time. He is not entitled to any additional care allowance during this period.

2. If I am a micro-employer exempt from paying ZUS contributions for the period from March to May, can I at the same time apply for funding to maintain jobs from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund (the Fund)?

YES, however, it should be remembered that in this case the employer will only receive co-financing for remuneration without co-financing up to part of the employer’s ZUS contributions.

In addition, the co-financing for remuneration will be reduced by contributions due from the employee, which will not be paid to ZUS in this situation.

3. I want to sign an agreement with employees about economic downtime. Can I, as an employer, decide to introduce it myself?

NO, the employees’ side must agree to introduce economic downtime as well as reduced working time.

4. Co-financing from the Fund is due in the case of reduction of working time by a maximum of 20%, not more than ½ full-time. Is it possible to sign an agreement with employees to reduce working time by less than 20%, e.g. by 10%? Will the company also receive funding for jobs in this case?

YES, the law specifies only the maximum limit on salary reduction. There are no obstacles to a lower working time reduction.

5. Can I sign an agreement with employees under art. 15g of special act for a period longer than 3 months?

YES, however, it should be remembered that the provisions of the Act are valid until September 30th, 2020 and the funding can be obtained for a maximum period of 3 months.

6. Is the co-financing from the Fund entitled for 3 consecutive months or is it possible to apply for co-financing for employees’ salaries during downtime, eg in April and later in June?

YES, it is possible to apply for funding in the months between which there is a break in obtaining benefits. They do not have to be consecutive months.

7. Is the reduction in working time under an agreement treated in the same way as termination of an employee’s working and pay conditions?

NO, if the working time is reduced as part of the agreement, the provisions of the Labor Code, which were included in art. 42 regarding termination of work and pay conditions do not apply.

8. Can I apply for a subsidy for the employee’s salary during the period of notice?

NO, as a rule, the provisions of the Anti-Crisis Shield regulate forms of assistance to maintain jobs, so submitting an application for co-financing for the remuneration of an employee staying during the notice period seems pointless.

9. Under art. 15g can I reduce the employee’s remuneration during downtime by e.g. 1%?

YES, there is such a formal possibility, however, it should be remembered that the assistance provided from the Fund may be subject to an audit and in the case of such a low reduction may be treated as a contradiction with the purpose of the Anti-Crisis Shield, as an extortion.

10. Can I reduce working time and remuneration in my company in various ways depending on the occupational group of employees?

YES, it is possible to differentiate the level of reduction in working time and remuneration within different occupational groups existing at a given employer. Of course, this must occur as part of an agreement with the employee.

11. Can I ask employees to work overtime after reducing the employees’ working time and remuneration?

YES, it is formally possible, however, it should be remembered that the intention to reduce working time was to enable Employers with reduced labor demand to receive funding for reduced wages. The reduction in working time was mainly for employers who do not have the conditions to introduce economic downtime, because they are still functioning, but this is limited. Overtime may, in the case of an audit over the use of funds, be regarded as an apparent decrease in working time, and therefore the entrepreneur may be required to return the funds received.

12. Can I apply for a subsidy to pay employees during periods of economic downtime for less than 3 months?

There are no obstacles to apply for funding for less than 3 months. Formally, it is also possible to apply for co-financing for a period shorter than 1 month, however, interpretations of the authorities appeared that such action is not correct and the minimum period for which one can apply for co-financing is 1 month.

13. I submitted an application to the Social Insurance Institution to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Anti-Crisis Shield. Will a decision be issued in this matter?

According to the information on the Social Security Institution website and based on the information contained in the Act, it appears that the assistance is due under the Act and the Social Insurance Institution will not issue any decision. If you meet the conditions under the Act, you are entitled to exemption from paying contributions. The Social Security will not issue a decision on this matter, but it should send information at the end of each month.

In the case of a benefit for demurrage, no decision will be issued, but a transfer will be made. The Social Security will contact the applicant in the event of an incorrectly completed application or doubts that block the payment of the benefit.

Additionally, it should be noted that if the application is sent via e-mail, and not via the Electronic Services Platformof Social Security, these applications will not be analyzed.

14. Can I take advantage of the exemption if I paid contributions for March?

Yes, it is possible. If the entrepreneur applied for exemption from contributions for three months (i.e. March, April and May), and then paid the contribution for March, he may apply for the payment of overpaid cash, however not later than before the expiry of the premium payment for April (that is, before 15th May). It should be remembered that an entrepreneur cannot have arrears against the Social Insurance Institution for previous periods. If you do not request a refund of these funds, these funds will be settled by the Social Security for the April premium. At the same time, we remind you that the exemption from the obligation to pay contributions due for April and May concerns unpaid contributions.

15. Economic downtime or reduced working time: shall all employees of a given organization be covered?

No, not all employees need to be subject to economic downtime or reduced working time.

16. I have received co-financing, but am unable to maintain employment at the required level. I have to fire an employee for whom I received a co-financing. What should be done in this case?

An employer who is awarded a co-financing may not terminate the employment contract with the employee during the co-financing period and in the period immediately after it, but not longer than for a period of three months. This prohibition applies if the contract is terminated for reasons not related to the employee. However, if the employer dismisses the employee for reasons not attributable to him, he will have to return the amount of co-financing he has received for that employee. At the same time, one should take into account a court case and an allegation of violation of the provisions on the termination of contracts (as a consequence, compensation may be awarded to the employee up to three remuneration).