Is the Company Social Fund (ZFŚS) just a superfluous relic of the PRL times?
History of the Company Social Benefits Fund
The Social Fund has been operating in Polish plants for many years. In times of deep communism, when access to literally everything was very limited, non-wage benefits were more important than real wages. The so-called Social included food cards, benefits for large families, and even flat – for rent on preferential terms. A little later, when the Company Social Fund became more like today’s, employees received packages for holidays, gift vouchers, and sometimes exceptional items to ensure comfort in the workplace – towels, soap, coffee (rarity!) or tea. The most important principle was “everyone equally” – benefits helped to maintain the equal status of all employees.
When the political situation changed, employers had to start being accustomed to the requirements of employees to the extent of the capitalist world. Coffee, tights and chocolates were no longer a luxury good, therefore they lost their importance as a benefit offered by the employer. Shopping vouchers have become more and more popular – awarded, for example, as part of financing the purchase of food before Christmas. In some work establishments from the Social Fund, it was also possible to pay for holidays for the whole family or for summer camps for children. The method of disposing of funds from the Company Social Fund – the allocation per employee, but also the purpose of spending – always had to be consulted with the competent social commission or other representation of the crew and be in accordance with the CSFF Act.
Company Social Fund currently
All companies employing more than 50 employees in full-time equivalents are required to create the Social Fund. Employers employing fewer people can create a social fund on a voluntary basis. Many entrepreneurs still think that the fund is an outdated creation that imposes duties on staff or accounting but does not bring much to the organization.
Despite the act that regulates many issues related to the Social Fund, there is no one way to manage these funds and employers decide on different solutions. Some still give vouchers that can be used for shopping or travel. Others decide to limit the possibility of spending money only to proposals in the field of culture, sport and recreation – so that the employee could relax after work and do something for themselves or for their family. Often, however, this has a cumbersome and demanding form, for example, the money is returned on the basis of bills presented by the employee.
How to manage the Social Fund to respond to the needs of employees?
There are many ways to use funds from the Company Social Fund. Often, however, employees are not satisfied with the opportunities available in the company. Some of them would like to receive shopping vouchers, others prefer to settle them after purchasing a cinema or theater ticket. Others prefer active lifestyle and care about sports offers or attractions for the whole family. Comfortable people would like to decide their own means and have all the options at their fingertips.
MyBenefit cafeteria – simple management of the Social Fund
The solution is the MyBenefit Cafeteria – an online platform where the employees chooses the best benefits for themselves. The employer can finance them, in whole or in part, from the Company Social Fund, transferring the appropriate pool of points to individual employee accounts. There are thousands of benefits to choose from in the Cafeteria, in the areas of culture, sport, recreation and tourism – available at once and possible to be implemented throughout Poland, and in case of travel also abroad.
Using Cafeteria facilitates the Social Fund operation also from the point of view of the employer – the employees decide on their benefits themselves, paper applications for financing are unnecessary and the need to settle each completed service disappears. If the company offers employees “subscription” services (renewed monthly, such as medical care or life insurance), it can also operate them through the Cafeteria. From the administrative side, it is a great simplification for the HR team and simplifying of the management of the Fund.
Social benefits are an attribute in the hands of the employer
Today, almost every employer offers some benefits, and the employment contract and remuneration cease to play a key role in negotiations with a potential employee. That is why good management of the Company Social Fund can be an important argument in acquiring specialists and managers from the market. A well thought out benefit program will also allow you to build engagement and relationships with existing employees and strengthen communication related to the values of the employer.