The Polish government will launch a 212bn zł (€46.8b) anti-crisis, stimulus package designed to help shield Poles and the country’s economy from the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
On Wednesday 18 March, President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the creation of an anti-crisis package aimed at lessening the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The package, estimated to cost 212bn zł (€46.8b), is designed to aid the Polish economy, businesses and employees to limit the financial damage and avoid as many layoffs as possible, now and in the upcoming months. There will also be multiple forms of relief, such as wages for those unable to work, micro-loans for businesses and the delaying of social security (ZUS) payments, as well as the option to pay them in instalments.
The government will provide wage relief to those businesses which are most endangered and meet certain criteria by covering 40% of employee wages up to the average national wage. Those who are self-employed or have specific-task contracts (umowa o dzieło, umowa zlecenie) will be able to receive at least 80% of the national minimum wage, which is 2,600 zł (€577).
A significant amount will also be directed towards healthcare services and the purchasing of medical equipment.
This announcement comes a day after the Monetary Policy Council (Rada Polityki Pieniężnej) reduced interest rates by a half of a percentage point, bringing the official cash rate of the National Bank of Poland to a record low level. The council has not dropped rates since 2015.
On his Facebook page, Prime Minister Morawiecki referred to the anti-crisis package as a shield programme and detailed the five pillars of which it will consist of, including the safety of employees, financing of companies, support of health services, ensuring financial security and public investments in infrastructure, digitisation and technology.
The week before on Friday 14 March, Morawiecki launched a system of preventive measures, which included the closing of borders, schools, cinemas and museums, and the limiting of restaurants and coffee shops to only carry out deliveries.
As of this morning, there are 287 confirmed cases in Poland, five of them fatal.
The specifics of the package will be prepared by the end of the week and expedited through parliament.