The coming year will bring a number of new challenges for employers.
One of the key changes proposed under the Polish Deal is the increase of the tax-free threshold for income tax to PLN 30 000 for all taxpayers who calculate their tax according to the tax scale. In addition, under the Polish Deal, the second tax threshold will be raised to PLN 120 000, beyond which a 32% tax rate will apply.
The Polish Deal would change the amount of the healthcare contribution paid by businesses. As a rule, the calculation base for this contribution would be the actual income of a person running a business instead of a fixed payment. This will mean that the healthcare contribution will be 4.9% of income. A minimum contribution will also be introduced, of 9% of the minimum wage – next year PLN 270 (the minimum wage in 2022 has been set at PLN 3000). The proposed changes to the tax system also envisage that the health contribution will not be tax-deductible.
Employees will also pay a 9% healthcare contribution calculated on income. Moreover, it will no longer be possible to deduct 7.75% of the healthcare contribution calculation base from tax. In the case of some employees, this effect will be compensated by the increase of the tax scale threshold (from PLN 85,528 to PLN 120,000) and the introduction of the middle-class relief, available to persons with income from an employment relationship up to PLN 133,692 per year. Employees whose income level makes it impossible to take advantage of the middle-class relief will be in a different situation. These are persons earning more than PLN 11,141 gross per month. In their case, the proposed changes will reduce the level of their net salaries. This may cause an increase in labor costs, as these employees may demand pay increases to compensate for the net amount paid to date.
According to the Directive on protection of whistleblowers, Poland has until 17 December 2021 to introduce relevant statutory regulations. Although the legislative proposal has already been published, we can expect it to enter into force next year. Therefore, most probably the beginning of 2022 will be the time for many employers to implement obligations provided for in the Directive and the Act on protection of whistleblowers. One such obligation is the introduction of internal whistleblowing procedures. Under the proposal, failure to establish an internal whistleblowing and follow-up procedure is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years and other sanctions.
Work on amendments to the Labor Code with respect to remote working is still in progress. In recent weeks, information has emerged according to which the new regulations would be passed as soon as possible, so that they could enter into force as of 1 January 2022. In our opinion, this seems unlikely. This does not change the fact that the legislation on remote work will most likely be enacted in 2022. The specific form still remains unclear due to disputes within the public consultation process.
According to the new regulations, the minimum wage in Poland from 1 January 2022 will be PLN 3010 gross. The hourly rate will also increase and will be PLN 19.70, which is PLN 210 more than the currently binding minimum wage (PLN 2800), which means an increase of 7.5 percent compared to last year.
From the new year, a delay in the payment of contributions by a business will no longer be an obstacle to obtaining sickness benefit. Among other things, the amount of benefit for the period of hospitalization will also change.
Also from the new year, this insurance will not cease due to late payment of contributions. This means that businesses s will be able to receive sickness insurance benefits even if they pay their contributions after the deadline.
At present, sickness benefit for a period of hospitalization is, as a rule, 70% of the benefit base. From the new year, the monthly sickness benefit will be 80%.
Another change concerns the determination of the benefit calculation base. It will not have to be determined anew if there was no break between the periods of drawing benefits (regardless of their type) or the break was shorter than a calendar month. Currently, the calculation base is determined anew if the break in drawing benefits is three or more calendar months.
In addition, currently, if there are breaks in incapacity to perform work, the previous period of incapacity to perform work is included in the benefit period if it is caused by the same disease and the break does not exceed 60 days. As of the new year, the reason for incapacity to perform work before and after the break will not matter. However, periods of incapacity to perform work prior to a break of up to 60 days will not be included in the benefit period if, after the break, incapacity to perform work occurs during pregnancy.