As a summary of the first half a year of Szydło's government, we were presented with assumptions and the anticipated effects of solutions that have been introduced. There was more talk of future actions than of completed projects. This does not mean, however, that the present government is passive - some of the projects were started almost too quickly and without public consultation process, which sometimes had a negative effect on the quality of enacted legislation. One has to admit, however, that a full assessment of the effects of even these government projects that were implemented in the first place, is at this point not yet possible.
Elżbieta Rafalska - Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy pointed to the launch of the "500 +" programme as the most important action of her ministry . Next, she listed changes to the Labour Code enacted on May 13 this year by the Parliamen, whose purpose is to eliminate the so-called first day at work syndrome. Although such a solution will not eliminate the phenomenon of "undeclared work", it undoubtedly constitutes a step in the right direction. Another important project implemented by the Ministry is the minimum hourly rate of 12 zlotys. The Minister assured that the government will respect the agreement reached by the social partners at the Social Dialogue Council. She also announced that the amendments will enter into force in January 2017. Extension of the vacatio legis for this regulation is an answer to the postulate of the Employers of Poland, who drew attention to the far-reaching impact of these regulations on the labor market and the fact that entrepreneurs need time to adapt their businesses to the new legal requirements.
The Minister did not mention changes in collective labor law, the law on trade unions and the settlement of collective disputes to be precise, that are being prepared. The draft regulations were only meant to implement the judgment of the Constitutional Court on the extension of the right of coalition. However, they change the system of collective labor relations in Poland and are a far-reaching intervention in the relations of the social partners. That is why we call for it to be the subject of autonomous negotiations between employers' organizations and trade union centrals in the Social DialogueCouncil , and not only the government's initiative.
One can assume that the government is still looking for solutions that would allow for the implementation of the election promise of lowering the retirement age without over-burdening the budget for the next year and subsequent years, in order to avoid the excessive deficit procedure and the negative repercussions related to this.
Mateusz Morawiecki sees a rapid adoption of the Responsible Development Plan as his major achievement. One can expect an equally fast pace of reaching the goals set for him. The deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development will be supported in these efforts by the Polish Entrepreneurship Council, revived among others by Employers of Poland. Yhe announcement of the imminent changes in the functioning of the third pillar of the pension system, that are to lead to a more dynamic growth of domestic savings, can also be be assessed positively.
Undoubtedly, for entrepreneurs and the economy the most important act enacted in the first half a year of the Council of Ministers work, was the amendment of the Public Procurement Law. Without the implementation of EU directives it would be impossible to organize tenders under the current EU financial perspective. The work on the bill were conducted in an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation between the government, mainly the Ministry of Developmen that is responsible for the project of, and the social partners at the Social Dialogue Council.
The announcement of the Minister of Development plans to present in June a package of laws to help entrepreneurs conduct business is welcome. Curbing bureaucracy and eliminating administrative barriers is a major challenge faced by successive governments and a field where they have failed to a greater or lesser extent. Good cooperation within the Group for Improvement of Economic Regulation gives hope for far-reaching changes - including the enactment of the so-called Constitution for Business or Law of Economic Activity.
Many actions taken by Minister Konstanty Radziwiłł give hope for good results in the future. They surely deserve to be supported – among them first and foremost the plan to increase spending on healthcare. However, Employers of Poland decisively object to some projects.
Firstly, we consider the draft of a regulation on free medication for seniors to be a good solution. However, we are waiting for details: the list of pharmaceutics to be provided to elderly people free of charge. We are happy to finally see the introduction of the e-blood system and the intensification of efforts to prepare maps of healthcare need. At the same time, it should be noted that in the latter case, the consultations with the members of Healthcare Need Councils were a fiction due to the hastiness of the procedure.
Employers of Poland ascribe the greatest importance to whether Minister Radziwiłł said in the media, but neglected to say in the presence of other members of the Council of Ministers. On the other hand, we would have liked to hear a declaration that sending on healthcare will be increased – it is a pity that the Minister did not use this opportunity to present the works in this regard. Employers of Poland will support the Minister in trying to convince the Minister of Finance and Ms Prime Minister that increasing said spending to 6 percent of the GDP is a true investment in the health of Polish citizens. An investment that will bring returns in the form of longer job activity and fewer illness-related absences at work, and – in turn – higher GDP.
Information on the drastic lowering of the pricing of many medical services (and the plans to continue this trend) without presenting tariff reports was also missing. We categorically object to the draft of a regulation on offer assessment criteria, presented for consultation, which is to prohibit treatment in private hospitals for public funds. We consider this proposition to be utterly unacceptable, as they practically liquidate the private sector in healthcare – a sector which contributed to the significant increase in the quality of services provided in public hospitals and what that is appreciated by patients. We cannot accept such solutions.
The Minister of finance Paul Szałamacha in his speech devoted much attention to sealing the tax system by sealing the fuel market and the introduction of a clause against tax evasion, which according to the announcements is to come into force this summer. The idea of sealing the tax system is undoubtedly correct, but entrepreneurs are worried that the clause can be applied also in relation to those who do not use aggressive tax optimization. Given the scale of scams entrepreneurs are waiting for the package sealing the VAT system announced by the Minister of Finance. In this context, solutions that enable effective fight against cheaters, and secure business against the risk of involvement in illegal dealings are expected. You can not forget about those entrepreneurs who have been unwittingly caught up in the dealings of tax fraud acting in good faith and not knowing that they were victims of scammers. In this case, the state should provide them with adequate protection, so that they not to bear responsibility for the irregularities committed by other entities. The creation of systems that allows for rapid identification of tax evasion should be assessed positively.