Poland to pay families new handouts from April? 22.01.2016 17:37 Poland’s new Law and Justice (PiS) government aims to start paying families a handout of PLN 500 per child - a key policy pledge - from 1 April, a senior official said on Friday.
“Today is the last day for public consultations and if everything continues according to plan in parliament […] then the program will start on 1 April,” Poland’s Family, Labour and Social Policy Minister, Elżbieta Rafalska, said.
The “Family 500+” programme is designed to encourage families to have more children in order to counteract Poland’s demographic problems.
The government wants to ease the burdens of child-rearing by giving families a handout of PLN 500 (USD 121, EUR 112) for the second child upwards.
At least PiS chose an honest Finance Minister who openly admits the 500 plan is impossible to carry out. Finance Ministry can’t endorse 500+ family subsidy program January 29, 2016 Poland's Finance Ministry doesn’t approve the bill introducing the governing party's flagship PLN 500 subsidy per second and every subsequent child in the family, as the 2016 cost of the program has been estimated at PLN 217 million above the budgeted amount, Finance Ministry wrote in an opinion to the draft.
Poland had budgeted PLN 17.05 billion in program funding in 2016, while the draft estimates its cost at PLN 17.272 billion, the Ministry said.
The ministry also opposes exclusion of the income from the PLN 500+ program from calculation of eligibility for other social benefits, which "will not only increase the cost of the program, but may also deepen the negative effect on labor supply," the document reads.
The increase in benefits may also discourage secondary earners in the family from income generating activities, the ministry adds, recommending that the above provisions be discarded.
The ministry is also critical of the lack of program servicing costs' estimate and the lack of rules according to which regional governors would receive subsidies for realizing the program.
The bill in question was approved by cabinet's standing committee Thursday.
The expected implementation date is April 1, after a one-month vacatio legis to allow local governments time to prepare for disbursement, Labor Minister Elzbieta Rafalska said.
Cabinet officials played down critical remarks of the Finance Ministry to the draft bill, published earlier on Thursday.
"The draft bill has been smoothed in inter-ministerial consultations," Finance Minister Pawel Szalamacha said.
Szalamacha also assured that funds for the program are secured, despite earlier doubts by his ministry. The money for the program has been secured in three different positions in the budget, hence small discrepancies in estimates, Kowalczyk said.
The Finance Ministry had also raised doubts that the subsidy could harm the labor force supply, a claim Rafalska played down, saying that temptation to exit labor market due to the subsidy "will concern only a small number of families."
Contact Us Poles swift to sign up for watershed child benefit programme 02.04.2016 12:59 Over 110,000 applications had been filed by Saturday morning following Friday's launch of a new child benefit programme aimed at raising Poland's birth rate.
The 'Family 500 plus' programme, which was a cornerstone of the conservative Law and Justice party's electoral campaign, will see monthly handouts of PLN 500 (EUR 112) for every household's second and subsequent child.
Meanwhile, in an amendment to the original plan, poorer families will be granted the PLN 500 even if they have just one child.
Families have three months to submit their first application for the payouts. Even if they apply towards the end of June, they will still get payments backdated to April 1.
The government had earlier appealed to wealthier families to not make use of the programme.
Poland's low birth rate had prompted analysts to predict a demographic crisis, with tax-payers potentially struggling to cover pensioners' benefits.
The ratio of Polish workers to pensioners is currently at 3:1, but experts forecast that by 2040 it could be 2:1, and by 2060 1:1.
The previous centrist government, led by Civic Platform (PO), had raised the retirement age to 67 for both sexes (from 65 for men and 60 for women) in a bid to counteract the problem.
However, Law and Justice opposed the raising of the retirement age – one of its pledges in the lead-up to the 25 October general election was to scrap the Civic Platform led reform - See more at: www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/247097,Poles-swift-to-sign-up-for-watershed-child-benefit-programme#sthash.dERn6vrr.dpuf
New child benefits boost sales in Poland: report 14.06.2016 11:30 The conservative Law and Justice government's flagship child benefits programme has resulted in increased spending on home appliances and more frequent visits to shopping malls, the 'Rzeczpospolita' daily has reported.
The recently-introduced “500+” programme provides all families with two or more children with a state handout of PLN 500 (USD 127, EUR 112) a month per child.
In May, retail sales of household appliances such as refrigerators and televisions jumped by up to 11 percent in Poland, while the number of customers in shopping centers increased 13 percent compared to the previous month, Rzeczpospolita reported.
Dark side of new payouts?
Earlier this month, Polish news website Onet.pl reported that the launch of the benefits programme was followed by a spike in child neglect cases.
“The number of our interventions related to alcohol abuse has increased dramatically,” Piotr Grudziński, head of the local Family Support Centre in Włocławek, central Poland, told Onet.pl.
“When we compared the dates of our interventions with the schedule of the 500+ payments, unfortunately it turned out that such events occur after the money is paid out,” he added.
A recent survey for Rzeczpospolita by pollster IBRiS has shown that 59 percent of Poles approve of the 500+ programme, while 37 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the initiative.
I haven`t received my money yet. Krakow region is one of the most delaying in Poland. Due to expenses connected with Youth Days?
Finally, I have. Wow, I am so wealthy now. In fact, I should say: f**k PiS and its worthless benefit which will have to be paid off by next generations, including my own kids, if they stay in the country.
The most conspicuos result of 500 benefit is the increase in pathological mothers who, completely stoned, walk their babies in the street or leave them in various places. Titles: Drunk mother, drunk mother, drunk mother.......
The fact that people get extra money can`t be overlooked. And voters appreciate it, too - support for PiS doesn`t fall below 30%.
Government's benefit programme reduces poverty in Poland 18.12.2016 14:33 Poverty in Poland has been reduced by over 20 percent, as a result of the governmental financial aid programme of giving out PLN 500 (EUR 113) per child, the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) has said.
According to a report by EAPN, almost four million children in Poland benefit from the programme, the equivalent of 55 percent of all Poles under the age of 18.
By the end of November the government has already spent over PLN 15 billion (EUR 3.39 billion) in payouts, reducing the amount of people living under the poverty line by 20-40 percent, the EAPN report said.
The 500+ programme, which was a key pledge by the Law and Justice (PiS) party ahead of its victory in the country’s general election last year, was launched in April.
Some experts/journalists announced that the program has reached its goal. There is a baby boom in Poland nowadays and many parents acnkowledge they are intending to take advantage of the benefit. In some towns hospitals which didn`t predict such events have problems with accomodating all pregnant women.
500+ improves quality of life in Poland: president 12.02.2017 13:03 The Polish government's flagship 500+ programme, which offers aid for families, has improved quality of life, the country's pesident Andrzej Duda said on Saturday.
Improved quality of life is especially important in Poland's east, Duda said, adding that this is where wages are lower, it is difficult to find work, and expenses are higher because families "with traditional values" tend to have more children.
“The [effects] of the 500+ programme are visible,” Duda said.
“Maybe it is difficult to see it day to day, but it really has resulted in [the lives of] may people looking better,” he added.
Under the programme, the government gives PLN 500 a month for each child in low-income families, and for second and subsequent children in all other families.
It was a cornerstone of the pledges of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party which won the general election in late 2015.
The PiS government has said that the programme, introduced in April 2016, has resulted in child poverty being nearly eradicated and poverty overall reduced by about half.
According to Family Minister Elżbieta Rafalska, the birth rate is on the rise and a 500+ fuelled baby boom has been predicted.