17.01.2023 Remote work

Remote work in the Labour Code. The act awaits the President’s signature

On 13 January 2023, the legislative work on the amendment to the act introducing remote work to the Labour Code was completed. The Sejm rejected all the amendments of the Senate, and currently the bill is waiting for the President’s signature. Employers will have only two months to adapt procedures and documentation to the changes.

Remote work – only two months to implement the new regulations

Currently, after the Sejm voted through the amendment to the Labour Code, the act introducing remote work to the labour law is waiting for the President’s signature. Importantly, the Sejm rejected all four amendments introduced to the bill by the Senate. This means that employers will have only 2 months to adapt procedures and documentation to the new regulations, not 3 as the senators wanted.

Vacatio legis for the provisions on remote work is therefore 2 months from the publication of the act in the Journal of Laws. Employers should be ready earlier than expected, and new obligations are numerous.

Remote work in the Labour Code – main assumptions

The amendment to the Labour Code introduces remote work permanently to the Code and provides  a definition of remote work consisting in performing work entirely or partially in a place indicated by the employee and agreed with the employer, including the employee’s place of residence.

The employer will be able to order the employee to work remotely when concluding the contract or during the employment, and if remote work is agreed during the employment, both parties will be able to submit a binding request to return to the previous working model.

In addition, the employer will be able to order the staff to work remotely in exceptional circumstances, for example, if the employer is temporarily unable to secure the required working conditions as a result of various random events, such as, for example, a fire in the workplace.

The rules for remote work will be specified in:

  • an agreement concluded between the employer and the company’s trade union organization,
  • remote work regulations – if there is no trade union organization or an agreement between the employer and the company’s trade union organization has not been concluded.

If none of the above documents exist, remote work can be used at the request of the individual concerned.

In addition, in certain circumstances, the employer will not be able to refuse working remotely. If the request for remote work is submitted by:

  • employee/parent of a child with a disability certificate or a moderate or severe disability certificate,
  • a pregnant worker,
  • an employee raising a child up to 4 years of age,
  • an employee caring for another member of their immediate family or another person in the same household, having a disability certificate or a severe degree of disability,
  • the employer will be obliged to grant the request to perform work remotely, unless remote work is impossible due to the type of work or the organization of the employee’s work. Any refusal will have to be made in writing with justification.

Additionally, the employer will have to provide employee working remotely with necessary tools and materials. The employer will also cover the costs of electricity and telecommunications services necessary to perform remote work.

Occasional remote work, on the other hand, will be remote work performed for 24 days in a calendar year at the employee’s request, but in this case the employer will be able to refuse the employee to perform remote work, and it will not be subject to remote work regulations, such as the above-mentioned obligation to provide tools and materials necessary for the employee to perform remote work.

The employer will check the sobriety of employees

The amendment to the labour work regulations also allows the employer to check the sobriety of employees whose work poses a threat to life and health of employees or other persons or threat to property, not only to the employer’s property. The check can be performed on employees who do not show any signs of intoxication (preventive control) and employees showing signs of intoxication. Intoxication can be checked in two ways:

  • in the event of a justified suspicion that the employee is under the influence of alcohol or consumed alcohol at work – the police will be able to carry out a sobriety test,
  • when an employee does not show any signs of being under the influence of alcohol, but the internal regulations provide for preventive sobriety control (the mode of control and the group of employees covered by it will be determined by the employer in an internal act, e.g. in the work regulations or in the announcement).

Remote work – how can we help?

We provide legal support in the implementation of remote work in the organization. We can assist you in development of internal documentation that will take into account the rules for covering the employee’s costs in connection with remote work, such as:

  • Remote work regulations
  • Agreement on remote work
  • Remote work order template
  • Model individual agreement on remote work

Remote work – see how we can help:

Magdalena Wilkoszewska Director of The Labour Law Department, Attorney-At-Law
TGC Corporate Lawyers
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