– As the old saying goes, it is better to prevent than to cure. For years ZUS has declared itself a proponent of this approach. It appears that by way of putting it into practice our insurance Big Brother has ordered some of the employees of Polish companies to live on a mandatory diet – writes President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski in an article for “Rzeczpospolita”.
According to regulations which have been in force for almost twenty years. the costs of employees’ meals financed by employers were not subject to ZUS contribution together with the rest of their wages and were not included in the basis for calculating social security contributions. – Authors of the regulation used two terms: “meal” and “providing a meal”. neither of them was specified any further. Everybody knows what they mean, but apparently officials always have their own dictionaries at hand – remarks the President of Employers of Poland.
The interpretation adopted by ZUS states that a meal may only consist in processed products made available in a gastronomic establishment. So, in order not to pay contributions, companies have to have a dining hall with a full gastronomic infrastructure. According to ZUS, a voucher or coupon is not a meal. The President of Employers of Poland points out that such an interpretation reappears time and time again – although it was judged to be false in several court rulings and ZUS itself was not always unanimous in its views on the interpretation.
– One does not have to add, that officials are, as always, concerned about the well-being of the small – as we know, every small company in Poland can afford to have a dining hall – Andrzej Malinowski remarks dryly.
According to the President of Employers of Poland this change in interpretation will not result in increased income for ZUS. Even today, some employers stop giving meal vouchers to avoid additional costs. – Creative interpreters of the law should start with themselves. After all, every decent dietitian should set an example. Enjoy your air – he sums up.