A new law requiring employers in Poland to arrange capital pension plans and automatically enroll employees into the plans unless an employee opts out recently went into effect.
The Act on Employee Capital Plans introduces a voluntary occupational pension scheme in the form of employee capital plans (in Polish, pracownicze plany kapitałowe) that will take effect in addition to the state pension insurance scheme. The implementation of employee capital plans is meant to systematically accumulate savings for retirement and consequently increase future pension payouts. The act makes the establishment of employee capital plans mandatory for employers. Although employees are enrolled automatically, they may opt out at any time.
The term “employee” for these purposes includes people hired under both employment contracts and contractors (often referred to as people working under “civil law contracts” in Poland), as well as members of a supervisory board remunerated for performing their duties. Any entity that hires employees must create an employee capital plan, including foreign companies. However, employers that have already set up a voluntary employee pension plan (in Polish, pracowniczy program emerytalny) are exempted from the obligation to create an employee capital plan provided that at least 25 percent of employees are registered in the pension plan and the mandatory contributions financed by the employer meet minimum levels. Furthermore, this exemption applies to micro-entrepreneurs employing less than 10 employees as long as all employees declare that they decline participation in such a plan.
Contributions to an employee capital plan will be paid by both the employer and the employee. It is mandatory for an employer to contribute 1.5 percent of remuneration and for employees to pay in 2 percent of their remuneration. Employers can make additional payments of up 2.5 percent and employees can pay a further 2 percent. These additional payments are voluntary and those made by employers are often linked to length of service to reward those with greater seniority.
The obligation to create an employee capital plan will be introduced gradually depending on the size of an employer. The act will apply from July 1, 2019, to employers with at least 250 employees. Entities employing 50 or more employees must comply with the act as of January 1, 2020, and those with at least 20 employees as of July 1, 2020. The act will be applicable to all other employers starting on January 1, 2021.
The act will result in increased employment costs in 2019 for those employers that employ at least 250 employees. Other employers, depending on the number of individuals they employ, will have varying amounts of time to prepare for the creation and administration of an employee capital plan. Employers may want to cooperate with trade unions or employee representatives when selecting financial institutions that may have a role in operating their employee capital plans.
Written by Agnieszka Nowak-Błaszczak of Wolf Theiss and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins
© 2019 Wolf Theiss and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, P.C.