One of the most significant labour law changes in 2023 in Poland will be the comprehensive regulation of remote work, which has become extremely popular in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote work has become a permanent feature of workplaces, and enabling staff to work from home has become standard in the post-pandemic world.
Until now, remote work has been performed on the basis of specific legislation adopted in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, remote work rules will be introduced into the Labour Code. The draft, in its agreed form, is expected to be enacted as early as December 2022, meaning that it is likely that the amendments will take effect in the first quarter of 2023. The effective date is set at two months from the date of publication in the Journal of Laws.
The introduction of a remote work system will be agreed between the employer and the employee. The employer will only be able to unilaterally instruct a particular employee to perform remote work in exceptional situations, both when executing the employment contract and during employment.
Arrangements made during the employment can be amended, but the initiative to stop working remotely must be agreed by both the employer and the employee. A relevant request to change the terms and conditions of the work will be binding on the other party. On the other hand, in the case of arrangements made when executing the employment contract, it will be necessary to enter into an agreement amending the terms and conditions of work (or to give notice of termination for amending the employment contract).
The terms and conditions of remote work should be included in the remote working regulations. This document should establish:
the group of employees who have the option to work remotely;
the rules for the reimbursement of expenses related to remote working (including a lump sum for increased consumption of utilities and an allowance for the use of the employee’s own tools);
the rules for communication between the employer and remote workers (including the method of confirming attendance at work);
the principles of control of work performance;
the principles of health and safety inspections;
the principles for checking compliance with security and information protection requirements, including procedures for the protection of personal data; and
the rules of installation, inventory, maintenance, updating of software and servicing of work tools provided with remote workers.
According to the draft, remote working regulations will be introduced after consulting employee representatives. At workplaces with trade unions, an agreement with these organisations will be necessary. If there is no such representation in the workplace, it will be necessary to hold a prior election of employee representatives.
An additional obligation for employers will be the need to carry out supplementary occupational risk assessments taking into account factors specific to the provision of work in a teleworking mode.
The remote working regulations will undoubtedly be an essential document from the point of view of the operation of a workplace – their preparation and introduction will require an analysis of the specific issues related to the provision of work outside the employer’s premises.
At Ecovis, we provide full support to employers in introducing remote working in the workplace.