The ingenuity of Polish entrepreneurs surprised the government of Mateusz Morawiecki. It turned out that some of them plan to consume changes in the Polish Order that are beneficial for employees. The increase in the tax-free amount and the introduction of a tax relief for the middle class for those earning at the level of the minimum wage (in 2022 it is PLN 3010 gross) were to give them over PLN 150 a monthly increase. However, the government has already heard voices that some companies are lowering employees’ salaries in order to adjust their salaries to the changed tax regulations. The employee will gain nothing from the Polish Lada, but the employer saves on the reduced costs of his employment.
Assuming about PLN 200 savings for each such employee (including a reduction in ZUS contributions paid from the employer’s pocket), it may turn out that the more such employees will be covered by such optimization, the greater will be the savings of the entrepreneur. With one hundred employees, the savings of the entrepreneurs will amount to almost a quarter of a million zlotys. When there are a thousand such employees, the annual savings will amount to two and a half million zlotys. This is a very tempting prospect for many companies that, due to the entry into force of the Polish Order, expect an increase in the costs of their operations.
According to the findings of “Rzeczpospolita”, a conference is to be held at the Ministry of Family and Social Policy with the participation of representatives of ZUS and the National Labor Inspectorate on Tuesday. It can be expected that it will say harsh words to entrepreneurs who intend to cut employees’ increases in the increases to be given by the Polish Order – the flagship program of the government of Mateusz Morawiecki.
Already on New Year’s Eve, quite enigmatic information appeared on the ZUS website, announcing the struggle of ZUS and the National Labor Inspectorate with unfair practices of employers.
– An employee who, after the introduction of the Polish Order has doubts as to the settlement of remuneration and contributions by the employer, may apply to the Social Insurance Institution and the National Labor Inspectorate. In connection with the incoming signals from employees, we react immediately together with the Social Insurance Institution and the National Labor Inspectorate, emphasized Marlena Maląg, Minister of Family and Social Policy.
– Doubts of the employee as to the calculation of contributions by the employer will be explained by ZUS, and the unfair practices will be dealt with by the National Labor Inspectorate. We do not agree to attempts to use the provisions to the detriment of employees – added the head of the Ministry of Family.
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However, it may turn out that both ZUS and PIP will have few possibilities to counteract such practices. Pursuant to the labor law, each employer may reduce the salaries of employees at any time.
– When changing employee contracts, entrepreneurs will have to give them amending notices and justify the reduction in gross remuneration – comments Dr. Artur Rycak from Rycak Kancelaria Prawa Pracy i HR. – In the case law of labor courts, it is recognized, however, that the optimization of the costs of business activity, including a reduction in salaries, may be a legitimate reason for the termination of an employment contract, and the labor court cannot review the employer’s economic decision in this regard. It therefore seems that if employees appeal such dismissals to a court, they have little chance of challenging the reductions.
However, when the amount of remuneration of all employees is changed by notifications, the companies that will change will have to enter into group lay-off procedures.
– Where trade unions operate, they can block such changes, as long as their strength is so great that the employer will fear escalation of the protests – adds Artur Rycak, attorney-at-law.
Opinion for “Rzeczpospolita”
Rafał Kania, attorney-at-law, partner at Sendero Tax & amp; Legal
Taking into account the scope of changes introduced by the Polish Governance in the finances of many companies, it is not surprising that there are entrepreneurs who are looking for opportunities to optimize the costs of their operations. It seems that ZUS and the National Labor Inspectorate will find it difficult to question the reduction of gross wages and salaries of employees carried out by entrepreneurs, in accordance with the labor law, in order to compensate for tax changes favorable to them. However, I would be very careful with this, as such actions may be questioned by the tax office. It is enough for him to consider such a reduction as an illegal tax optimization. The tax regulations are so general that I can imagine it, especially with a strict approach. However, this form of tax optimization will be a complete novelty for tax offices.