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Increase in exemption limits for employee meals

Health and safety regulations require employers to provide meals and hot drinks for employees working in particularly arduous conditions.
Dorota Niewierowska
Payroll Supervisor

Such meals constitute income for these employees which is entirely exempt from taxation and contributions.

If the company does not have a statutory obligation, but nevertheless provides its employees with prepared meals, then these are exempt from contribution up to a limit (§ 2 (1) (11) of the Contributions Ordinance), and above that limit they are subject to full contribution and taxation.

Regardless of their value, these meals are fully taxable.

New rules for determining the basis for calculating contributions to retirement and disability pension insurance.

The Regulation of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy of 22 February 2022, amending the regulation on the rules for determining the basis for assessment of contributions for pension and disability insurance, was published in the Journal of Laws on 23 February 2022.

The ordinance increases the financial value of prepared meals available to employees from PLN 190.00 to PLN 300.00 per month. The amount up to this limit is the employee's non-contributory income. However, it is the basis for taxation.

According to Social Security, in order to qualify for the above exemption, the meal should meet the following conditions:

  • the legislature provides an exemption for prepared meals - this condition is not met by individual food items used for preparing the meal, e.g. bread, cold cuts, dairy products, etc;
  • employers may provide employees with food vouchers, gift certificates, cards or coupons to purchase meals; however, a clear distinction must be made between the purchasing of processed and prepared lunches and the purchasing of food, snacks and cold drinks from vending machines, which do not meet this requirement;
  • the exchange of food vouchers, coupons, cards or coupons intended for the purchase of meals is possible only in gastronomic-restaurant facilities, bars, catering outlets, canteens;
  • an employee may not receive an equivalent of the value of a meal instead of a prepared meal.

Thanks to the increase of the limit, prepared meals may become one of the interesting benefits for employees.

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