Anti-crisis shield regarding Coronavirus in Poland (II)

The obligation to file for insolvency, which applies for the management of corporations, is suspended until 30 September 2020, if illiquidity was caused by the pandemic.

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AID TO ENTREPRENEURS

In the current situation, the first of the regulations that introduces support for entrepreneurs is:

Act of June 19, 2020 on subsidies to interest-bearing bank loans granted to entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 and simplified proceedings for approval of composition in connection with the occurrence of Covid-19.The Act entered into force as of June 24, 2020.

a) Simplified restructuring proceedings (UPR)

The advantage of the simplified restructuring proceeding is that it takes place largely without the involvement of the court and shifts the responsibility for actions, service and advice to restructuring advisors.

The UPR is intended to lead to a negotiated arrangement with creditors so that the debtor can meet or partially meet its obligations.

This proceeding is distinguished by its broad scope of protection from court enforcement.
The benefits for the debtor are primarily the protection provided against the creditors.
From the date of the announcement of the opening of proceedings to the date of their termination or discontinuance, the existing enforcement proceedings against the debtor are suspended, and new ones cannot be initiated. The suspension of pending proceedings occurs by operation of law and does not require any additional action from the debtor.

Another benefit is the ban on terminating key agreements concluded with the debtor.

The debtor is also protected by the prohibition on fulfilling the benefits resulting from the claims covered by the arrangement.

The creditors of a debtor who uses the simplified restructuring procedure are mainly protected by the limitation of the actions that the debtor may undertake independently.

For all actions of the debtor that exceed the scope of ordinary management, the debtor must obtain the approval of the restructuring supervisor.

Creditors are also entitled to claim damages if the debtor has made an announcement about the opening of proceedings in bad faith.

Simplified restructuring proceedings may last up to 4 months from the date of publication of the announcement in “Court and Commercial Gazette”.

During this time, the debtor must reach an agreement with the creditors and conclude an arrangement with them.

The arrangement is accepted if two conditions are jointly met:

– a majority of the voting creditors who have cast a valid vote speak in favor of it

– the creditors who vote in favor of the arrangement have a total of at least two-thirds of the total claims of the voting creditors.

An entrepreneur may carry out a simplified restructuring only once, until June 30, 2021.

b) New Opportunity Policy

This is an aid instrument, developed by the Ministry of Development and notified by the EC and introduced by the Act of 16 July 2020 on granting public aid for rescuing or restructuring entrepreneurs, which entered into force on 11 August 2020.

The program is addressed to entrepreneurs in a difficult economic situation and aims at:

1. preventing insolvency by promoting a strategic approach to business management

2. creation of legal bases for financial support designated for rescue or restructuring

3. creation of legal solutions enabling a quick and low-cost company insolvency procedure.

4. counselling, information and psychological support for entrepreneurs planning to restart the business activity on the basis of the acquired experience (failure)

Under the New Opportunity Policy, assistance will be provided to entrepreneurs who have been affected by Covid-19, have benefited from crisis shields and still need support, but also to those whose difficulties are not related to the pandemic.

The NOP assistance will be available to entrepreneurs from all segments – micro, small, medium and large companies.

Types of assistance provided:

For rescue (short-term loans)

– in order to support the entrepreneur for the period during which he carries out activities aimed at developing a restructuring plan or liquidation of business activity,

– the amount of a loan depends on the individual situation of an entrepreneur.

– loans are granted for a period of 6 months

– if the period or the amount of the aid proves insufficient, an entrepreneur from the SME sector may apply for an additional loan from the pool of temporary restructuring support and thus extend the repayment period to 18 months.

Temporary restructuring support

– in order to enable economic activity to be carried out while the restructuring measures are being implemented (dedicated to SMEs only)

– the support may be granted as a continuation of rescue aid – then it will take a form of an additional loan or a stand-alone instrument.

– it will cover entrepreneurs who are able to carry out restructuring on their own, but need liquidity support for the whole process to be effective.

– the amount of the loan depends on the individual situation of the entrepreneur.

For restructuring

– in order to implement a restructuring plan aimed at restoring the long-term ability to compete on the market.

– intended for entrepreneurs who would not be able to restructure on their own, but have developed a restructuring plan – the costs of which can be financed as part of rescue aid or as temporary restructuring support.

Applications can be submitted from 24 September 2020.

LABOUR LAW

a) Financing of salaries from the Guaranteed Employment Benefits Fund

This is support for employers who have experienced a decline in business turnover, economic downtime as a result of COVID-19. The purpose of this program is to protect jobs and maintain employment in a given enterprise at the current level.
Micro, small, medium and large entrepreneurs can benefit from the assistance.
In addition, non-governmental organizations may benefit from the assistance.

The aid will be available for a total of 3 calendar months, starting from the month the application is filed.

Applications for funding can be submitted until 30 June 2021.

b) Additional parking benefit

Entities that carry out non-agricultural economic activity marked, according to the Polish Classification of Activity (PKD), with a code (the catalog of activities listed here) may benefit from the additional parking benefit.

An entity that submits an application and meets the conditions to obtain the benefit will receive financial means in the amount of 2080 PLN or 1300 PLN.

Additional parking benefit can be received up to three times.

Applications may be submitted from 16 December 2020

c) A one-time additional parking allowance for persons conducting non-agricultural business activity

Entities, which as of September 30, 2020 were running non-agricultural business activity, marked, according to the Polish Classification of Activities (PKD), with a code (catalog of activities listed here), may benefit from a one-time additional parking allowance.

An entity which submits an application and meets the conditions to obtain the benefit will receive financial means in the amount of 2080 PLN or 1300 PLN

The application can be submitted from December 30, 2020. At the latest, the application can be submitted within 3 months from the month in which the state of the epidemic is lifted.

d) One-time additional parking benefit for persons performing civil law contracts

Applies to persons who receive income from a civil law contract concluded until December 15, 2020 on account of: (closed catalog of activities and scope).

The application can be submitted from 15 January 2021. However, at the latest within 3 months after the month in which the epidemic condition is lifted.

CREDITS, LOANS, GRANTS

a) Non-refundable grant of 5000 PLN for companies

The grant is aimed at micro and small entrepreneurs who are engaged in one of the activities listed in the Act, have not suspended their business as of September 30, 2020, and have experienced a 40% decrease in revenue in October or November 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.

For the grant to be non-refundable, the entrepreneur will have to maintain business activity for 3 months from the date of obtaining support.

b) Loan vacations

A key form of support for borrowers under the government’s measures is statutory loan vacations for those customers who lose their main source of income after 13 March 2020. These allow borrowers to suspend their loan repayments for up to 3 months, without accruing interest or other charges.

TAXES

a) Exemption from the obligation to calculate contributions on civil law contracts

Anti-crisis shield 6.0

At the request of a contractor performing a contract of mandate or another contract for the provision of services, The Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) releases the principal from the obligation to deduct from the contractor’s income and pay contributions for social insurance, health insurance, the Labour Fund, the Solidarity Fund and the Guaranteed Employment Benefits Fund for the period from 1 January to 30 April 2021.

The application can be submitted from 1 January 2021.

b) Exemption from the obligation to pay Social Security contributions for November 2020

The payer is exempted from paying contributions for: Social Security, Health Insurance,
Labour Fund, Solidarity Fund, Guaranteed Employment Benefits Fund, and Bridging Pension Fund for November 2020.

Applications can be submitted from December 30, 2020

c) Exemption from the obligation to pay Social Security contributions for July, August and September 2020

The payer is exempted from paying contributions for: Social Security, Health Insurance, Labour Fund, Solidarity Fund, Guaranteed Employment Benefits Fund, and Bridging Pension Fund for July, August and September 2020.

Paweł Kuglarz, member of the European Insolvency Practitioners Assocation, deputy chairman of the Department of Insolvency and Restructuring of Allerhand Institute in Cracow, member of the expert group on restructuring and insolvency law at European Comission

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