Remote work to be regulated in the Labour Code. What changes can employers expect?
On 24 May, the Council of Ministers adopted a bill to permanently introduce provisions on remote work to the Labour Code. What new obligations will they impose on employers?
The Council of Ministers approved the bill and it will soon be sent for further legislative work. This is a long-awaited moment for both the employers and employees, because work on introducing remote work to the Labour Code has been going on almost from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. What important changes did the law makers prepare?
Remote work in the Labour Code – what will change?
Introducing provisions on remote work will mean that employers will have to adapt to the new rules of entrusting work and fulfil a number of obligations.
Three most important assumptions of the bill are:
- introducing definition of remote work to the Labour Code - remote work is work performed wholly or partially in a place indicated by an employee and each time agreed with an employer
- distinguishing two types of remote work – full-time remote work and hybrid remote work,
- possibility to instruct an employee to perform work remotely in special cases - in an emergency, epidemic or, for example, fire or flooding at workplace.
Key obligations of employers resulting from the new provisions of the Labour Code:
- employers will be obliged to provide an employee working remotely with materials and work tools, including technical devices necessary to perform remote work, and will also be obliged to cover the costs of electricity and telecommunications services necessary to perform remote work,
- if an employee uses private work tools, the employer will pay the employee a cash equivalent in the agreed amount,
- employers will not be able to refuse to entrust remote work at the employee's request, if an employee:
- is a parent of a child with certificate of disability or certificate of moderate or severe disability,
- is pregnant ,
- raises a child up to the age of 4,
- provides care to another member of immediate family or another person in the same household with a certificate of disability or certificate of severe disability,
- employers will be able to refuse to entrust remote work in the above-mentioned case only in a situation where remote work is not possible due to the nature / type / organization of work at a given job,
- employers will be responsible for security of personal data and confidential information entrusted to the employee performing remote work.
Moreover, pursuant to the proposed provisions of the labour law, an employee will be able to apply for occasional remote work for a maximum of 24 days in a calendar year. For this purpose, the employee will submit an appropriate application, and occasional remote work is to be justified only by the employee's interest.
Changes to the Labour Code - when?
The draft amendment to the Labour Code was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 24 May and will soon be submitted to the Sejm. It is also known that the proposed act is to enter into force 14 days after its publication in the Journal of Laws. However, the provisions introducing remote work to the Labour Code are to enter into force after 3 months from the date of lifting the state of epidemic in Poland, which took place on 16 May 2022.