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The Warsaw Voice » Business » November 18, 2009
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Cards Instead of Parcels
November 18, 2009 By A.R.    
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Christmas parcels handed out by employers are becoming a thing of the past, while prepaid gift cards are growing in popularity in Poland as a form of rewarding employees.

Estimates suggest that 95 percent of companies operating in Poland offer their employees at least one non-salary benefit. The perks include various kinds of vouchers, passes, tickets and, more recently, the gift cards. According to a study by ARC Rynek i Opinia, 49 percent of companies gave out gift and meal vouchers in 2008. This form of bonus has become more popular than traditional Christmas parcels, which were offered by 43 percent of respondents.

One significant plus of prepaid gift cards is that under new regulations, they and other financial bonuses may be exempt from income tax. "This option is advantageous for everyone, employers and employees," says Adam Kompowski, president of Bonus Systems Polska SA, a leader on the Polish market for prepaid cards.

Bonus Systems Polska was the first company in Poland and one of the first in the world to launch an electronic prepaid card, in 2003. A gift card given as a holiday bonus lets employees decide for themselves how to spend the money.

The tax implications of these gift cards are an obvious incentive. This year's amendment to the personal income tax law says that financial bonuses up to zl.380 that an employee receives under their employer's employee-welfare system, from the company's employee benefit fund, are exempt from income tax.
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