Situation one: a company has suffered the consequences of the Russian embargo and has to consider letting some of its employees go. Situation two: employees need training to improve their qualifications. The employer has no funds for that. What do these cases have in common? In both, state support is available – and in both, interest is minimal. How to use the funds?
– We encourage you to use this help. As of now, the funds are used to a small degree – says Paweł Sęktas, Director of the Department of Labour Market Projects and Programs of the Regional Labour Office in Warsaw. Aleksander Kornatowski, Deputy Director for Labour Market Services at the same institution confirms – money is still available.
Why do apparently attractive program enjoy so little interest on the part of employers? This was one of the questions addressed by the participants in the debate entitled Support opportunities for entrepreneurs and employees – the National Training Fund and the Job Protection Act, hosted by Employers of Poland. The consensus was that the main problem is the awareness of the programs’ availability – particularly when it comes to the National Training Fund (KFS). So what should one know about it and what is required to use it?
First and foremost, it should be noted that some of the contributions paid by employers to the Labour Fund and up in the National Training Fund. Thus, this money comes from company owners themselves (ca. 180 mln PLN). The NTF was established with a view to supporting employee training in order to adapt their skills to the changing demands of the economy. The money is redistributed by County Labour Offices and this is where detailed information is available and application should be filed.
What can the funds be spent on? For example on training and post-graduate studies or exams certifying new skills, qualification or professional certification. Every employer with more than one employee can apply for financing. The form of the contract of employment is not relevant – it may be a partial contract of employment. There is one condition – the employee in question has to be 45 or older (this requirement will be removed on January 1st 2016). The choice of the provider of training is left to the employer.
– The aim is to increase the potential of human resources – explains Magdalena Bartosik, Program Specialist of the County Labour Office for West Warsaw.
How much can you get? That depends on the average wage which is now 4054,89 PLN gross. The maximum value of co-financing is 300 percent of the average wage, in this case over 12 000 PLN, so it is certainly worth the effort.
– After the program was launched in Mazovia it seemed like there was no demand. An information campaign improved the situation, but there is still money left – informs Aleksander Kornatowski. He encourages companies who have recently focused on EU funds to consider the fact that investing in human resources may also bring many benefits.
However, funds for training are not everything. Entrepreneurs can also apply for other forms of support, particularly those who were impacted by the Russian embargo. If as a result of the embargo their turnover fell by at least 15 percent, they may apply for non-returnable financing for the Guaranteed Employee Benefits’ Fund. If they do not reduce employment they will get ca. 11000 PLN per person towards wages for half a year. This is the current sum of unemployment benefits with added social security contributions.
– If the company does not reduced employment, the fund will partially finance that. Employers only need to make up the difference between the financing and the minimum wage – say Anna Filarecka, Director of the Benefit payment Team at the Guaranteed Employee Benefits’ Fund in Warsaw.
The objective is to help employers regain footing and retain jobs. Funds are still available – the program is scheduled to be in force until the end f 2016. Details are available in regional Labour Offices which redistribute the funds.
The debate was organized within the framework of the “Establishment of the Research and Analysis Center” project, Human Capital Operational Program, Sub-activity 5.5.2.