8.06.2022 Labour law

Amendment to the Labour Code – will employer check the sobriety of employees?

On 24 May 2022, the Council of Ministers adopted a bill amending the provisions of the Labour Code. The draft act, in addition to regulating remote work, will also provide for another solution important for employers. It is the ability to control the sobriety of employees.

The provisions on the control of employees’ sobriety constitute a response to expectations of employers who have long called for this possibility. Pursuant to the proposed regulations, the employer will have to prevent from working an employee who is under the influence of alcohol or other similar substances, including drugs. What else will change?

The most important solutions with respect to control of employees’ sobriety and the presence of similar substances include:

  • employers will be able to check the sobriety of employees, but only in a situation where it is necessary to ensure the protection of life and health of employees or other people or the protection of property,
  • if an employer finds alcohol or another similar substance in the employee’s body, it will be obliged to prevent such an employee from working,
  • apart from the employer, the Police will also be able to test the employee’s sobriety.

See also: Remote work to be regulated in the Labour Code. What changes can employers expect?

The new regulations on controlling of employees’ sobriety are designed to improve safety at work, thus reducing the number of accidents at work. However, there are doubts as to whether these provisions will be sufficient or will function well. The employer’s authority to test sobriety is quite limited, and it is also worth noting that some drug-like substances are sometimes found in prescription medications. That is why requests to precise some provisions of the draft act are put forward now.

The draft changes to the Labour Code will soon be submitted to the Sejm and further parliamentary work. According to the current situation, the proposed act is to enter into force after 14 days from the date of its publication in the Journal of Laws, with the exception of provisions on remote work, which are to come into force 3 months after lifting the state of epidemics.

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