Parliament passes bill in support of companies in light of epidemic

Prior to final voting, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that every hour counts and appealed to the parliament's speaker to call a sitting of the chamber for Saturday. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Poland's Sejm (lower house of parliament) passed a bill on Saturday aimed at supporting business during the coronavirus epidemic. The bill frees micro-enterprises and the self-employed from paying social insurance contributions (ZUS) for three months.

The bill also foresees payment of downtime benefits and comprises part of the government's 'anti-crisis shield' aimed at mitigating the epidemic's fallout.

The bill was supported by 343 MPs with 73 against and 19 abstentions. Earlier, the Sejm adopted amendments by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party as well as one from the Left grouping.

Prior to final voting, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that every hour counts and appealed to the parliament's speaker to call a sitting of the chamber for Saturday. The number of entrepreneurs able to save their livelihood depended on the speed at which the bill was enacted, the PM said, adding that aid would amount to hundreds of billions of zloty in real terms.

On addition to a ZUS break for micro-firms employing up to nine people and the self-employed under certain circumstances, the bill foresees payment of downtime benefits to the tune of PLN 2,000 (EUR 439.8) a month for people on temporary contracts, agency workers and the self-employed as well as co-financing of workers' pay up to 40 percent of the average monthly salary for companies in difficulty.

The adopted rules also allow for an extended legal period of stay for foreigners.

The government's 'anti-crisis shield' comprises five pillars, including the protection of jobs, healthcare funding, financial system stability, support for businesses and public investment.