Draft amendments to the Labour Code concerning remote work have been published on the website of the Government Legislation Centre. According to the new proposals the employee will have to confirm with the employer the place of work performed remotely.
The first change concerns the definition of remote work. In the bill it is assumed that work may be wholly or partially performed at a place indicated by the employee, including their place of residence. What is important, such a place needs to be each time agreed with the employer. Additionally, the employee will be obliged to make a statement confirming that there are appropriate conditions for work in the indicated place.
So, employee’s performance of remote work will be conditional on the employer’s consent to the employee working outside of the working place and approval of the place of work indicated by the employee.
If the housing and technical conditions change so that performance of remote work is no longer possible, the employee will have to inform the employer about this immediately. In such a situation the employer withdraws the instruction of remote work without delay.
In accordance with the new regulations remote work may also be instructed to the employee by the employer. This will be possible in the following circumstances:
Introduction of the notion of force majeure to the bill means that the employer will be able to instruct employees to work remotely in the case of occurrence of an external, unpredictable event which could have not been prevented.
The new version of the bill also extends the list of individuals whose request with regard to performance of remote work will have to be approved by the employer. The previous list was changed to additionally include employees taking care of their closest relatives or other members of the same household, individuals having a certificate of disability or a certificate of a moderate or severe degree of disability.
If the parties to the employment contract agree on performance of remote work in the course of employment, each of them will still be able to submit a valid request, in hard copy or electronically, for discontinuance of work performance in this manner and restoration of the previous working conditions. In such a situation the employee and the employer will determine the date from which the previous conditions of work performance will be restored, falling not later than 30 days of the date of receipt of such a request.
If such an agreement is not reached, according to the new bill the previous working conditions will be restored after the lapse of 30 days from the date of receipt of the request. This means that lack of an agreement between the employer and the employee will not be an obstacle to the employee’s return to the office.
Director of the Labour Law Department, Attorney-at-law
TGC Corporate Lawyers
Company law – see how we can help: