Draft law on the social economy

Creating stable jobs in social enterprises and increasing the availability of social services – these are the main objectives of the bill passed by the government on the social economy. This is the first law to fully regulate this subject. Now de Seym is working on the government’s proposal.

According to the justification, the project foresees a reform of the National Plan for Reconstruction and Increasing Resilience (FPA) to support the employment and social inclusion of people at risk of social exclusion, by creating new jobs in a social enterprise and by providing social services by social economy entities to the local community.

What does the draft law on the social economy entail?

The solutions adopted in the bill have been developed after extensive consultation with the social economy community. The aim of the law is to support people at risk of social exclusion by creating jobs in social enterprises. It is also believed to contribute to increasing the availability of social services provided by social economy entities.

The draft provides for the settlement of the issue of obtaining social enterprise status. This status is granted to: social cooperatives, non-governmental organizations, labor cooperatives, cooperatives for the disabled and blind, and entities that manage social integration centers and clubs, occupational therapy workshops and institutions for professional activities.

The voivode monitors compliance with the requirements set by law. He also grants the status of social enterprise by board decision.

The project indicates that social enterprises will operate for reintegration purposes (people at risk of social exclusion will make up 30% of the total number of employees) or for the provision of social services for the local community.

A social enterprise may not distribute profits or surpluses among its members, employees or shareholders. The profits generated will mainly be spent on the social and professional reintegration of employees at risk of social exclusion, the implementation of social goals or the strengthening of the company’s potential. The project also foresees the involvement of employees in the decision-making process in the social enterprise.

An individual reintegration plan will be developed and implemented for each person at risk of social exclusion working in a social enterprise, whose employment is supported by public funds.

In addition, the forms of support for social cooperatives will also be extended to social enterprises. Including one-off grants to create a job for persons referred by Poviat Employment Centers and to finance part of the remuneration costs of these persons.

Social enterprises will also be able to request the reimbursement of social security contributions for workers who are at risk of exclusion. The draft also provides for a reduction in contributions to PFRON for entities purchasing goods and services from social enterprises. Also, a tax reduction will be guaranteed – VAT exemption on income of social enterprises allocated to social and professional reintegration activities. The project provides for the introduction of solutions that facilitate the participation of social enterprises in public procurement procedures.

The draft also provides for the possibility for the Minister responsible for social security to set up departmental programs to support the social economy, which would allow, for example, the creation of social enterprises and the employment of people at risk of social exclusion to be financed. It also aims to provide social enterprises with access to support services provided at the regional level by social economy support centers accredited by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

The minister responsible for social security will be responsible for coordinating activities in the field of the social economy at the national level and the self-government of the Voivodeship at the regional level. The Minister’s advisory body will be the National Committee for the Development of the Social Economy, while the self-government of the province will be supported by the Regional Committees for the Development of the Social Economy.

Social economy today

Currently there are about 100 thousand entities of the social economy. By far the largest group are non-governmental organizations (97%) and the remainder – cooperatives (approx. 1.5%) and reintegration units (approx. 1.5%). In 2019, PES employed about 200 thousand. people.

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