On the 24th of June 2020, the Act of 19th of June 2020 on interest rate subsidies on bank loans granted to entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 and on the simplified procedure for the approval of the agreement in connection with COVID-19 (hereinafter: the "Act") entered into force. The most important changes introduced are presented below.
Labour Law. According to the Act, an employer may grant an employee a holiday leave, not taken by the employee in previous calendar years, of up to 30 days of leave and has the right to oblige the employee to take such leave: at a date indicated by the employer, without the employee's consent, without the leave plan.
In addition, the duration of a state of emergency or epidemic announced due to COVID-19, the parties to the non-competition agreement in force after the termination of 1) the employment relationship, 2) the agency agreement, 3) the contract of mandate, 4) another contract for the provision of services to which, in accordance with the Act of 23 April 1964 - Civil Code, the provisions relating to the mandate apply, 5) the contract for the provision of services for which a ban on competitive activity has been established, may terminate it within 7 days.
In accordance with Article 15 gg of the Act, an employer who has experienced a decrease in economic turnover as a result of COVID-19 may apply to the director of the Provincial Labour Office, which is competent for its registered office, for benefits for the protection of workplaces, from the resources of the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund, to subsidise the remuneration of employees not covered by downtime, economic downtime or reduced working hours as a result of COVID-19.
Credit subsidies Entrepreneurs who find themselves in a difficult financial situation caused by COVID-19 will be able to receive interest on revolving and non-revolving working capital loans, granted in PLN, in order to ensure financial liquidity, in particular in the short and medium-term, lost or threatened with loss due to the consequences of the spread of COVID-19.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to receive a subsidy of 2 percentage points for part of the interest due to the bank and 1 percentage point for large enterprises. Loan agreements with the aforementioned the subsidy may be concluded until 31 December 2020.
Suspension of loan repayments. The abovementioned law introduces the possibility to suspend the execution of consumer credit and mortgage agreements. Suspension of the execution of credit agreements is granted to a borrower who has lost his job or another main source of income after 13 March 2020. Credit agreements concluded before 13 March 2020 and those whose repayment falls later than 6 months after 13 March 2020 will be subject to amendments. At the borrower's request, the bank shall suspend the repayment of both the interest and the principal instalment. The suspension may last for a maximum of three months from the date the application is delivered to the bank. During that period, the creditor shall not charge any other charges relating to the credit and the suspension, except for credit insurance. The credit period will be postponed by the suspension period.
Hostile acquisitions. The aim of the Act is to protect companies that significantly affect public health, safety and public order, i. e. in particular companies conducting business activities related to electricity, fuels, gas, telecommunications, production of medicines, explosives, weapons; companies developing software in the field of energy, cash supply, hospitals, prescription drugs, transport.
Protection will be granted to an entrepreneur whose revenue from the sale of goods and services in Poland exceeded EUR 10 million in one of the last two financial years. An investor wishing to purchase a significant number of shares in such a company will have to report this fact to the OCCP. If they fail to do so, they face a fine of up to PLN 50 million or imprisonment from 6 months to 5 years.
Simplified restructuring procedure. The Act provides for the introduction of a new institution into the Polish law, i.e. the simplified restructuring procedure, which entrepreneurs can use until June 30, 2021. This procedure is a modified version of the procedure for approval of an arrangement, introducing significant facilities for debtors.
After concluding an agreement with a restructuring advisor, drawing up by the debtor of arrangement proposals, a list of claims and a list of disputed claims that the debtor should submit to the arrangement supervisor, the debtor makes an announcement in the judicial and economic monitor (hereinafter: "MSiG") informing about the opening of proceedings for approval of the arrangement. The day of making the announcement in MSiG is the day of opening the proceedings. Until the arrangement is approved by the court, the debtor's protection period opens before the creditor. On that date, by operation of law, enforcement proceedings concerning liabilities covered by the arrangement and liabilities secured in-kind, initiated before the date of opening the proceedings for approval of the arrangement are suspended.
Then, the creditors are voted by correspondence or the date of the creditors' meeting is set for voting on the arrangement. After the arrangement is adopted, the last step of the simplified restructuring procedure is the submission by the court supervisor of an application for approval of the arrangement to the competent court.
Pursuant to the Act, the simplified restructuring procedure is to last 4 months from the date of the announcement. However, if the court does not receive an application for approval of the arrangement within this period, the proceedings are discontinued by operation of law. The proceedings in question may be terminated by operation of law also at the request of the debtor, creditor or other person having a legal interest in it. If the arrangement approval proceedings are discontinued or the court refuses to approve the arrangement, the debtor has the right to submit a simplified petition to open recovery proceedings or a simplified petition for bankruptcy within the relevant statutory deadline.