Polish companies are facing dire consequences due to coronavirus pandemic, with approximately one-third suffering from a near complete paralysis in business activity.
Polish entrepreneurs are expecting the state’s help, and in particular, are seeking to postpone paying levies to the Polish Social Insurance Fund (ZUS), want ZUS to also take control of payment for sickness benefits, and want to gain access to preferential zero percent loans, according to a survey conducted by Research&Grow for the debtor register BIG InfoMonitor.
The research shows that the pandemic has incapacitated close to a third of micro-, small- and medium-sized companies. The pandemic has limited production and client service to half of all companies.
There are many reasons for the development, including the drastic drop in orders due to economic paralysis, an administrative ban on fulfilling certain services and the inaccessibility of employees.
Despite the circumstances, every fourth company is still operating unhindered. There are also businesses which have benefited from the pandemic, but not many. Only three out of 100 admit that they are experiencing a “boom” in growth and activity.
Sławomir Grzelczak, the CEO of BIG InfoMonitor, explained that the main source of savings have been attained through mass firings of employees, which no one wants. Business especially do not want this development because they need to retain workers for once the situation improves. The companies believe it will now be difficult to quickly initiate activity once the crisis is over.
“Hence the expectation of a swifter and more complex support from the government, mainly the abolishment of paying ZUS levies,” Grzelczak said, adding that every fourth company would only need the postponement of those levies to survive, but the rest need their abolishment during and right after the crisis.
The survey’s data shows that 67 percent of companies require the abolishment of ZUS levies for the next few months. For 44 percent, additional payments to salaries are also needed and about 25 percent pointed to ZUS taking over sickness benefits from the first day of an illness.
For 20 percent of companies, the ability to postpone paying off loans would also offer significant support.
The majority of surveyed companies expect the coronavirus situation to last until July, and micro and small companies worry that it will be even longer.
Seven percent of companies believe that the crisis will result in a loss of financial stability, with 14 percent saying that they can survive for a month at most, 19 percent for two months, 27 percent for three months, and eight percent cannot foresee for how long.
Sixteen percent of surveyed businesses claim that they will maintain financial stability for half a year and 10 percent believe their stability is not threatened.
Title image: A trader has his head in his hand on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, March 12, 2020, AP.