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POLAND: Duda sends Insurance Bill to the Constitutional Tribunal

On Friday, the Chancellery of the President announced that President Andrzej Duda had concerns whether the standards of the legislative process were met in regard to the amendment bill on national insurance. Citing the serious financial commitment this bill imposes, President Duda directed it to the Constitutional Tribunal. The bill, which was initially prepared by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, aims to abolish the maximum contribution for social insurance levies  (ZUS). Currently, the law permits Poles to stop paying monthly ZUS contributions after their income exceeds PLN 120 thousand – a mechanism, which allows the insurer to avoid paying excessive retirement pensions in the future.

Indications that the bill could have been proceeded too hastily were recognised by members of the government, including PM Morawiecki. The Solidarność trade union and the Polish Confederation Lewiatan both wrote complaints to the President, signalling that the consultation period was too short. However, by directing the bill to the Constitutional Tribunal, the President also complied with the general position of the government – without it having to retract its own proposal. In terms of public perception, this move allows Duda to strengthen his position, while allowing the government to avoid accusations of introducing rash bills. Should the Tribunal find this bill constitutional, Duda will be obliged to sign it into law. However, in the most likely scenario, the Tribunal will deem the bill unconstitutional or will indicate parts that require amendments. Notably, this is likely to be the first ruling of newly-appointed judges against the government.