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Senate opting for the second stage of the "For Life" programme

16-05-2018

After the introduction of the first stage of the "For Life" programme, it's time for the next instalment. Thanks to the Senate's adoption of the amendment to the Act on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of People with Disabilities, the second stage of the "For Life" programme will soon become a fact.

 

The main purpose of the "For Life" programme is to support families of disabled people, in particular those with disabled children. In practice, the "For Life" programme is a comprehensive solution regarding support for pregnant women and their families, early support of the child and its family, as well as support and rehabilitation services and housing support.

 

The first phase of the "For Life" programme has already been implemented, including the support for families with disabled children, strengthening the role of family assistants, development of protected housing and a new health policy programme.

 

The last stage of the "For Life" programme adopted last Thursday by the Sejm, and today by the Senate, includes, inter alia: support for former participants of occupational therapy workshops, extension of the right to caretaker's allowance from 14 to 30 days and support for the employment of disabled people.

 

Disabled persons with the opportunity to return to WTZ

 

The amendment to the Act on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation and Employment of People with Disabilities assumes that disabled people leaving occupational therapy workshops (WTZ) will be able to apply for the continuation of the support provided in the workshop - regardless of the employment loss or change thereof (it should be no less than 5 hours per month).

 

 Moreover, a disabled person who left the occupational therapy workshop in connection with taking up employment in the event of losing the job after registering for participation in WTZ will have priority in initiating therapy. All you have to do is file a request within 90 days of leaving the workshop.

 

Keeping the needs of people with disabilities in mind, support and rehabilitation services were introduced as part of club activities in occupational therapy workshops. These classes will be financed from the funds of the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (PFRON) as part of a new program approved by the PFRON Supervisory Board. In 2018, PLN 1 200 thousand are planned for this purpose.

 

Longer caretaker's allowance

 

But that's not all. Persons covered by health insurance will be able to benefit from a longer care allowance in the event of illness of a disabled child up to the age of 18 or their guardian, as well as in the case of childbirth of the latter. The solution is to make it easier for parents to combine care for a disabled child with performing professional activity. In practice, this means the extension of the right to care allowance by 16 days for disabled children between 14 and 18 years of age. 

 

Facilities for disabled employees

 

The possibility of using flexible forms of employment, including moving working hours (also intermittent work) and teleworking (working at home) upon request being binding for the employer has also been introduced. Under the new regulations, the employer will not be able to refuse such forms of employment in principle.

 

An exception to the rule

 

The employer will be able to refuse to consider a binding application for flexible employment only if it is impossible due to the organisation of work or the type of work performed by the employee.

 

Moreover, the employees who take care of adult children (over 18 years of age) will also be able to apply.

 

Exclusion of income

 

A significant convenience is also the exclusion of the amount of nursing care benefit from the income of a disabled person, who is dependent of a taxpayer, when calculating the rehabilitation tax relief.

 

Resignation from the amount-based income threshold

 

Also the abandonment of the quantitative determination of the maximum income threshold for people deducting expenses incurred for rehabilitation purposes from their income should be noted here. As a result, this threshold has been increased. Under the new regulations, the income of people with disabilities cannot exceed twelve times the amount of social benefits specified in the Social benefits Act in the amount applicable in December of a given tax year.

 

In addition, the provisions on employers granting relief in payments to the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled are clarified.  The purpose of the change is to reduce administrative responsibilities. Buyers will not receive unwanted information about the amount of reduction, and sellers will not be required to issue them each time.

 

This is another action directed at people with disabilities

 

The amendment adopted today by the Senate, enabling the implementation of the second stage of the "For Life" programme, will now be signed by the President.

 

It is worth noting that the legislation amended by the parliament is another government action for disabled people.  

 

- "A few days ago, the parliament passed two important laws. Mr. President quickly signed them. Thanks to this, social benefits were increased to the level of the lowest benefits relating to complete inability to work, which was advocated by disabled persons in 2014." - explained Minister Rafalska during the joint presentation of the System of assistance for disabled persons with Minister of Finance, Teresa Czerwińska.

 

- "And in the case of persons with a significant degree of disability, we have also introduced special rights regarding the access to healthcare services, pharmaceutical services and medical devices" - added the head of the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy.

 

System of assistance for disabled persons

 

The system of support for disabled people and their families will be based on three pillars. The first pillar consists of a solidarity support fund for people with disabilities. The second pillar is the social responsibility package, and the third - the "Accessibility +" programme. 

 

Two sources of financing

 

The support fund for disabled people will be supplied from two sources - from the part of the contribution paid from wages to the Labour Fund and the solidarity contribution.

 

The contribution paid by employers from wages and salaries amounts to 2.45%. After the changes, the premium will be collected in the same amount, with 2.30% going directly to counteract unemployment and 0.15% to support the disabled. This way, assistance for disabled persons will increase by PLN 650 million annually.

 

The disabled persons support fund will, however, be funded primarily from the solidarity contributions. These will be paid every year by those natural persons whose income in a given tax year exceeds PLN 1 million (approximately PLN 87 thousand per month). The amount of the solidarity contribution will be 4% of the excess of this amount. For the first time, the contribution will be paid by richest taxpayers on their income in 2019. As a result, in 2020, PLN 1.15 billion will go to the disabled people support fund. Together with part of the contribution for the labour fund, the government will allocate PLN 1.8 billion as part of the disabled people support fund.

 

It is worth noting that such solidarity contribution, earmarked for specific purposes, functions in many European countries. For example Germany and Spain.

 

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