Coronavirus Update for Employers in Poland
The Polish National Health Fund (NFZ) is responsible for conducting tests and covering the costs of hospitalization related to COVID-19. In some cities private medical facilities test for the coronavirus too. Local insurers and medical providers are beginning to share information (via webinars) on how employees can return to work and be safe.
COVID-19 insurance introduced
Generali introduced ‘COVID-19 insurance’ which covers a hospital cash benefit (daily allowance) in case employees need to stay in the hospital, or the ICU due to COVID-19. It also offers mental health support. PZU introduced a special insurance for COVID-19, but it is only available to medical sector employees in hospitals, clinics, to physiotherapists and so forth.
Supplemental health insurance
- Telemedicine is offered free of charge by the majority of the market.
- Medical coverage can be extended to employees placed on furlough, but not to those who are laid off.
- Coronavirus testing is not available in the private sector, it can be done only through public medical facilities
Life insurance/Risk insurance
- Life insurance covers death due to COVID-19.
- Some insurers have exclusions related to the stay of the insured in hospital (hospital cash benefit) if they have COVID-19.
Social insurance benefits
- Sickness benefits for persons with compulsory quarantine after crossing the border (are entitled to sickness benefits – remuneration for illness time paid by the employer pursuant to art. 92 of the Labor Code or sickness benefit)
- Sickness benefits for persons with compulsory quarantine or isolation based on the sanitary inspector’s decision (are entitled to general sick pay, sickness or care allowance, paid by the contribution payer (e.g. employer) or Social Insurance Institution)
- Extra care allowance (14 days) for the time of the child care in relation to closing because of COVID-19 of children’s club, nursery schools, schools (available to parents or legal guardians who are looking after a child under 8 years old). From 31 March 2020 the regulations introduce changes regarding additional care allowance: extension of the period for which additional care allowance is granted for another 14 days and granting the right to this allowance to parents of disabled children older than 8 years.
Implementing the second phase of the Employee Capital Plan is postponed until October as part of the government’s economic assistance package. The PPK implementation time line for companies with 50+ employees now follows:
- The management agreement to be signed before 27th of October 2020
- The agreement concerning management over PPK on behalf of employees before 10th of November 2020.
- It is worth mentioning that the contributions are paid once the second agreement is signed. This is why it is better not to wait to sign agreements related to PPK between employer and the selected financial institution.
Short term disability’s sick pay and sickness allowance
Sick pay is financed by the employer and is payable to an employee for periods of incapacity for work, or isolation, as a result of infectious disease (COVID-19). It is payable to the employee for periods not exceeding 33 days in a calendar year, or if the employee has reached 50 years of age – not exceeding 14 days in a calendar year
It is to be paid in the following amounts: 80% of the calculation basis. However, labor regulations binding employers may provide for a higher remuneration in this respect, 100% of the calculation basis, if the incapacity for work:
- Was a result of an accident on the way to or from work.
- Occurs during pregnancy.
- Is the result of undergoing necessary medical examinations provided for potential cell, tissue and organ donors and as a result of undergoing an operation for their extraction.
- The right to sick pay is acquired by employees only after 30 days of uninterrupted insurance (the qualifying period).
- The sickness allowance is payable to an employee after cessation of the sick pay period, e. from the 34th day of an incapacity for work in a calendar year or from the 15th day if the employee has reached the age of 50 (respectively).
- The sickness allowance is paid by ZUS.
- The right to a sickness allowance is acquired after 30 days of the qualifying period.
The disability pension is granted to an insured person who meets all of the following conditions:
- Is incapable of work.
- Has completed the required contributory and non-contributory period: at least 5- years of contributory and non-contributory periods during the last decade before claiming the pension or before the occurrence of the incapacity for work; in the event of the incapacity for work occurring at an age lower than 30 years, the required contributory and non-contributory periods are respectively shorter – from 1 to 4 years, however, if the person has lost his or her earning capacity due to an accident on the way to or from work, s/he does not have to prove the required contributory and non-contributory period.
- The incapacity for work must have occurred during contributory and non- contributory periods, but not later than within 18 months after the cessation of these periods; this requirement does not relate to a person insured who has proved the contributory and non-contributory period of at least 20 years for women and 25 years for men and is completely incapable of work.
Insured persons who have proved a contributory and non-contributory period of at least 25 years in the case of women and 30 years in the case of men, and have been recognized as completely incapable of work, do not need to document at least a 5-year period of insurance during the last 10-year period before the claim is filed, or before the incapacity occurred.
- Medical assessment for the purposes of social insurance benefits and other benefits paid by ZUS are realized by ZUS evaluating doctor and ZUS medical commissions.
- ZUS evaluating doctor and medical commission evaluates the incapacity for work, its degree and gives his or her certificate in this regard. ZUS evaluating doctor also establishes the:
- Date of disability occurrence
- permanency or expected duration of the incapacity for work
- Causality of the incapacity for work or death with certain circumstances
- Inability to an independent existence
- Suitability of vocational retraining
The person incapable of work is a person who has lost, completely or partly, their earning capacity due to a disturbance of body fitness, and for whom retraining does not promise the restoration of his or her earning capacity.
- Completely incapable of work is a person who has lost their capability for any work.
- Partly incapable of work is a person who has lost – to a considerable degree – their capability for work corresponding to their qualifications. Incapacity for work is certified for a period of up to 5 years or longer – if there is no prognosis as to the restoration of earning capacity before the lapse of the 5 years. During a period of certified incapacity for work (indicated in the ZUS decision), the pension is payable.
- The person concerned may appeal to a ZUS medical commission against ZUS evaluating doctor decision up to 14 days from the day the decision was received. In turn the president of ZUS may submit an application raising objections as to the correctness of the judgement sending the matter for examination by the ZUS medical commission within 14 days from the issuing of the decision by ZUS evaluating doctor.
The following items must be met for an employee to receive a disability pension:
- A ZUS-certified doctor decision which has not been opposed or claimed to be invalid
- The ZUS medical commission confirmation of the doctor’s decision.
The disability pension in respect of an accident at work or occupational disease is awarded irrespective of the duration of the accident insurance period. It is also awarded irrespective of the date incapacitation as a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease.
The NFZ’s 24-hour COVID-19 hotline is 800-190-590.
The Social Security Institution
This coronavirus update for employers in Poland is provided by MAI-CEE, Asinta’s Partner in Poland.