Shield 2.0 – Non-governmental organizations treated like entrepreneurs
It is not only entrepreneurs that are facing disorganization of work during the pandemic. Therefore, Shield 2.0 provides additional reliefs also for non-governmental organizations; many of which being analogical to those offered to entrepreneurs.
Subsidizing of employee remunerations
Non-governmental organizations and entities defined in art. 3.3 of the Act on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work (“Organizations”) that have experienced decrease in commercial turnover as a result of COVID-19 will have the right to receive funds for employment protection, including funds from the Guaranteed Employee Benefit Fund (“GEBF”). Now, they may file for grating them subsidies for protection of jobs, including for GEBF funds to subsidize remunerations of employees subject to economic standstill or reduced work time.
It is worth pointing out that on the basis of the COVID-19 Act, the Organizations had the right to receive only the starost subsidies, while entrepreneurs could receive subsidies from two sources, both the starosts and GEBF ones. Extending the catalogue of the entities entitled to receive subsidies leads to having entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations put on the same level in that regard.
More information about the subsidies and the changes made in art. 15g of the COVID-19 Act can be found HERE.
Article 15zze that deals with the Organizations’ possibility to obtain starost subsidies has also been changed. Its previous wording provided that the period of subsidizing was maximum 3 months following the day of filing application with the poviat employment office having jurisdiction over the location of the seat. Now, the said period becomes maximum 3 months following the month of filing application, which means that where the application is filed e.g. in April, the subsidizing period will cover the full months of: April, May and June.
One of the eligibility criteria for obtaining a subsidy is job sustaining. So far the Organizations have been under the obligation to sustain jobs during the period of subsidy as well as, after its termination, during the period equal to that one. Shield 2.0 shortens that period to only that for which the subsidy has been granted.
Exemption of Organizations from unpaid contributions
The COVID-19 Act introduced exemption from the obligation to pay unpaid contributions for social insurance, health insurance, Labour Fund, Solidarity Fund, Guaranteed Employees Benefit Fund or Bridge Retirement Fund, being due for the period from 1 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. The exemption was granted to the remitters (including the Organizations) employing fewer than 10 persons.
Now, the exemption will also cover the remitter of contributions who has filed for social insurance registration from 10 to 49 insured persons, with such remitters to be exempted from contribution payments in 50% of the aggregate amount of the unpaid amounts due on account of the contributions indicated in the monthly statement submitted for the given month. The said solution deals with the period from 1 March 2020 to 31 May 2020 and is available on condition that the remitter has been registered as contribution remitter:
- before 1 February 2020 and as of 29 February 2020, it requested registration of 10 to 49 insured persons,
- during the period from 1 to 29 February 2020 and as of 31 March 2020, it requested registration for insurance 10 to 49 insured persons,
- during the period from 1 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 and as of 30 April 2020, it requested registration for insurance 10 to 49 insured persons.
Broader discussion of the issue is HERE.
Additionally, full exemption for the period from 1 March 2020 to 31 May 2020 has been applied to remitters of contributions being social cooperatives – irrespective of the number of employees, if they were registered as contribution remitters before 1 April 2020.
Real property tax
Shield 2.0 extends the range of the entities eligible to exemption from real property tax and to extension of time-limits for payment of those tax instalments. Now, the commune council may, by resolution, introduce exemption – in respect of a part of the year 2020 - from the real property tax on land, buildings and building structures occupied for the Organization’s activity. The commune council may, by resolution, extend the time-limits for payment of the real property tax instalments payable in April, May and June 2020 also in respect of the above-said entities, no longer however than until 30 September 2020. Both these solutions involve entities whose cash flows deteriorated due to negative economic consequences of COVID-19.
Contract renegotiation within performance of public task
The COVID-19 Act gives the Organizations performing public tasks from public funds:
- a possibility to perform public tasks with the view to prevent, counteract and combat COVID-19 without need to participate in an open tender procedure;
- a possibility to make changes in the settlement of accounts concerning completed public tasks (a possibility to extend the time-limit for submitting the report on fulfilment of commissioned public task or settlement of accounts concerning a subsidy granted for fulfilment of the task, as well as a possibility of approval of expenses incurred for financing the activities performed as part of the commissioned public task that have been annulled due to introduction of the state of epidemic risk or epidemic).
Shield 2.0 provides non-governmental organizations performing public tasks with an additional possibility to renegotiate the contract, specifically by:
- change of the date of performance of the contract or its part
- temporary suspension of performance of the contract or its part
- change of the manner of performance of the contract or its part
- change of the scope of performance of the contract or its part
The above-said solutions deal only with the contracts executed before the announcement of the state of epidemic risk due to COVID-19, and the change of the contract will be possible only in the case of determination that the circumstances connected with the appearance of COVID-19, affect or may affect due performance of the contract. The parties should promptly notify each other of such circumstances by submitting statements containing, in particular, the details concerning the number of employees or co-operators participating in the performance of the contract or the termination of supplies of the products necessary for performance of the contract.
Public benefit organizations’ annual reports
Organizations having the status of public benefit organizations are under the obligation to prepare annual substantive reports on their activities and annual financial statements, and next, until 15 July the obligation to put the reports and statements on the entity website of the National Freedom Institute. Currently, on the basis of Shield 2.0 art.15zzzzze, in the event of announcement of the state of epidemic risk or the state of epidemic, the Chairman of the Committee for Public Benefit issues will have a possibility to fix (in a resolution) another time-limit for fulfilment of the above-said obligations, taking into account the need to ensure the proper fulfilment of those obligations.
Change of the terms or time-limits for repayment of credits or loans granted by bank
Shield 2.0 enables the Organizations the bank’s changing of the terms or time-limits for repayment of credits or loans granted by the bank on the basis of the Banking Law if:
- the credit or loan was granted to the Organization before 8 March 2020 and
- such a change is justified with the financial and economic situation of the debtor assessed as such by the bank no later than on 30 September 2019
A change of the terms or time-limits for repayment of a credit or loan is made after the bank’s and debtor’s agreement, provided that it does not cause deterioration of the debtor’s financial and economic situation.
Foundation’s or association’s bodies’ voting in electronic form
Provisions of Shield 2.0 introduce a possibility of voting and holding meetings with use of means of electronic communication but only during the period of epidemic risk or epidemic. For comparison, at companies, an earlier introduced possibility to hold meetings and vote with use of means of electronic communication was not limited in time, and thus those entities will use such facilities also after the epidemic. This will not be possible at foundations or associations – unless relevant provisions are introduced in the statute.
A possibility of taking an on-line vote by foundation’s bodies was guaranteed by reference to the law on associations and to appropriate application of provisions contained therein, where more detailed principles of holding such meetings provide for:
- voting with use of means of electronic communication outside meetings after obtaining consent of members of the bodies expressed in the form of a document (e.g. e-mail)
- notification of a meeting indicating the possibility of an on-line participation in it and containing a description of the manner of participation and exercise of the right of vote
- organization of a meeting ensuring real time transmission, a possibility of speaking by every member of the bodies; the right of vote may being exercised personally or through proxy
- a possibility of different regulation by the association statute of the issues involving use of means of electronic media at voting and outside meetings, including limiting or even exclusion thereof
The new regulations have been formulated at a high level of generality - for example, they do not specify if the consent for an on-line voting given in the form of a document should be given by all members of the bodies or it suffices to use the existing majorities fixed in the statute, or how to handle a possible secret voting.
1% for public benefit organizations
The change in the Personal Income Tax Act allows the PIT payer to transfer 1% of tax for a public benefit organization to be made in the tax declaration submitted by 1 June 2020 or in correction of the declaration submitted by 30 June 2020.
senior associate, adwokat