Shield 4.0 is the latest government assistance package for companies, employees and local governments. Here are the most important assumptions of the act in the version adopted by the Sejm.
The Anti-Crisis Shield 4.0 proposal was put forward to improve the situation of businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, support the budgets of local government units and maintain the continuity of the investment process. The aid package includes without limitation: subsidies to interest on bank loans, changes to the implementation of public procurement, a protective package for local governments, protection against corporate takeovers by companies from outside the EU / EEA, facilitating access to repayment holiday or adapting the labour market to the challenges related to the COVID -19.
Shield 4.0 – main assumptions:
- introduction of subsidies to interest on bank loans granted under contracts concluded until 31 December 2020 for business entities which have found themselves in a difficult situation due to the coronavirus epidemic. Interest subsidies will apply to revolving and non-revolving working capital loans, both in the loan account and in the current account, granted in PLN;
- establishment of the Interest Subsidy Fund from which additional payments will be made to the banks that have concluded a cooperation agreement with Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK);
- possibility of obtaining a loan in the event of failure to meet the criteria of an undertaking in difficulty as of 31 December 2019, as defined by Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014, when other additional criteria specified in the Shield are met;
- introduction of repayment holiday or suspension of the obligation to make payments to which the borrower is obliged on the basis of a concluded contract (both capital and interest instalments). The maximum suspension period for the performance of the contract will be 3 months. The suspension will apply to the borrowers who lost their jobs or another major source of income after 13 March 2020;
- enabling the reduction of working time or furlough staff in the event of a significant increase in the employer’s salary burden;
- temporary suspension of the obligation to take accrued leaves by 30 September 2020;
- enabling the introduction of changes to work organisation and working conditions also in the situation of a significant increase in the salary burden;
- possibility to obtain support from the Guaranteed Employment Benefit Fund (FGŚP) also by entities which despite the decrease in the sales volume as a result of coronavirus decided not to furlough its staff or reduce working time;
- clarifying the rules governing remote work;
- introducing a cap on severance pay, compensations and other cash benefits paid by the employer to the employee in connection with termination of employment contract, up to a 10-fold value of a minimum remuneration for work provided the employer sustained a decrease in sales volume or significant increase in the salary burden;
- the employer’s option to grant the employee, within the time limit specified by the employer, without obtaining the consent of the employee and bypassing the leave plan, leave not taken by the employee in previous calendar years, up to 30 days of leave;
- possibility to terminate non-competition agreements during the epidemic or the state of epidemic emergency;
- extension of the group of persons entitled to additional care allowance to include parents and guardians of children under 8 years of age who will decide to personally take care of their children despite of opening a nursery, children’s club, kindergarten, school or other institution;
- extension of the period for which care allowance is due until 28 June 2020;
- the possibility of submitting applications to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) for postponing the payment date or spreading into instalments only in electronic form;
- extension of the group of entrepreneurs to a downtime pay by those that are insured under another title;
- unification of the rules for calculating dates on which the decline in turnover counts as an eligibility criterion for obtaining support – such as enabling the comparison of turnover during any two successive calendar months, falling from 31 December 2019 to the day preceding the day of submitting the application, in comparison to the total turnover from the corresponding two subsequent months.
Learn more: Obligations of employer in a collective redundancy situation
- possibility to deduct from taxable base the donations made to welfare homes for mothers with juvenile children and expecting women, night shelters, shelters for the homeless, support centres, family support homes or social assistance homes;
- shortening payment deadlines for bad debts relief – the possibility of deducting unpaid debts from income in the settlement period in which 30 days have passed from the date of expiry of the payment deadline specified in the invoice (bill) or in the contract;
- possibility of deducting from taxable base the value of laptops and tablets (fit for use and not older than 3 years) transferred to certain entities as donations from 1 January 2020 until 30 September 2020; those donations do not count as revenue of the receiving entity;
- possibility to include in tax deductible costs the cost of manufacture or purchase price of things or rights, given in the form of a donation referred to above;
- enabling taxpayers to include contractual penalties and damages paid in tax deductible costs, if a defect in the goods supplied or works or services performed, or a delay in delivery of goods free of defects or a delay in removal of defects in goods or works or services performed arose in connection with the epidemic or the state of epidemic emergency announced because of COVID-19;
- introducing the obligation to amend the contract if the contracting authority finds that the circumstances related to the COVID-19 epidemic indicated by the contractor affect the proper performance of the contract;
- limiting the admissibility of deducting contractual penalties from the contractor’s remuneration or other receivables due to the contractor, as well as seeking by contracting entities satisfaction from the performance guarantee;
- reducing the acceptable amount of the performance guarantee;
- lifting the obligation to demand a tendering security in proceedings with an estimated value above the EU thresholds;
- introducing mandatory partial payments or advances towards the contract performance for long-term contracts (except contracts in the field of defence and security);
- suspending the start or suspension of the time limit for contracting authorities’ claims for contractual penalties and the period of validity of the performance guarantee;
- expanding the possibilities to conduct certain procedural acts of criminal proceedings remotely;
- changing the stamp duty rate for issuing a planning permit – the fee will be PLN 598;
- postponing the payment date of the annual fee for the perpetual usufruct of real estate owned by the State Treasury and real estates of local government units for 2020 to 31 January 2021;
- suspension of time limits in the procedure of dematerialization of shares will apply to those companies in bankruptcy which have not made the first call to submit shares by 30 September 2020;
- introduction of a simplified debt restructuring procedure;
- possibility for a district governor to grant a single loan of up to 5,000 PLN to cover the current costs of doing business or a statutory activity of an NGO. The loan may not exceed 10% of the revenues generated in the previous balance year.
Now the bill will be examined by the Senate.