State of epidemiological emergency and legislative changes to help fight the effects of the coronavirus

A state of epidemiological emergency has been introduced across Poland since today. It is not a state of emergency or marital law. The state of epidemiological emergency is outlined in a 2008 law, which was recently updated by an emergency act outlining special powers and responsibilities for public servants and businesses (“Emergency Act”) passed in preparation for a coronavirus outbreak.


The state of epidemiological emergency provides powers such as enforcing mandatory vaccinations, restricting certain forms of public movement, limiting or banning the sale or use of certain items, banning assemblies, and restricting the functioning of specific institutions and workplaces. It also allows the authorities to obtain access to property and means of transport for the purposes of tackling the epidemic. The Polish Minister of Health, Łukasz Szumowski announced that, as the epidemic develops, he would decide on which powers to enforce. 


The coronavirus outbreak has dominated the legislative agenda in Poland. The Emergency Act is valid for 180 days, from the act’s entry into force, i.e. as of March 8, 2020.


According to the Emergency Act:

1) The employer may instruct an employee to work, for a fixed period of time, outside the employee’s current permanent workplace, for a fixed period of time. This does not require any special form of notice;

2) Due to the closure of educational institutions from 16 to 27 March 2020, an employee qualifying for emergency leave to take care of child under the age of 8, is entitled to an additional care allowance for up to 14 days, under state insurance cover. This applies to persons, whose children attend public or private schools, kindergartens and children’s clubs;

3) Ordering of goods and services, which are necessary to counteract the coronavirus outbreak is possible without adhering to public procurement laws.


Moreover, the Polish Minister of Development, Jadwiga Emilewicz announced that a special law on assistance for businesses in connection with the coronavirus (“Special Law”) will be ready next week. Its aim is to protect businesses from consequences of epidemic. In particular, it is supposed to help industries that are already suffering from the effects of the global epidemic: tourism and transport.


According to the key assumptions of the Special Law presented by the Ministry of Development this week:

1) Entrepreneurs will be able to count on additional loan guarantees and subsidies to loans already taken out, which BGK will grant. The state-owned bank will also support companies by granting increased public aid for SMEs, which will amount up to 80 % of the loan – now it is 60 %; 

2) Companies will also be able to deduct the loss incurred by their business this year from income generated over the next five years;

3) There are plans to simplify the split payment mechanism and abolish the prolongation fee paid by the taxpayers whose deadline for tax payment has been postponed or spread in instalments by KAS; 

4) The idea to delay the payment of taxes and contributions (a flexible approach by KAS and ZUS) will be introduced. 


The Special Law is being drafted by the Ministry of Development in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance.