On 24 May 2022, the Council of Ministers adopted a draft act which amended the Polish Labour Code and certain other acts (the “Act”). The main premise behind this Act was to regulate the rules concerning remote work.
The first reading of the Act in the Sejm ( the lower house of Parliament) took place in the sessions on 23 June 2022 and 7 July 2022. The Act was then referred to the Subcommittee on the Amendments to the Labour Code and the Code of Administrative Procedure and, according to the information made available, work on the Act will resume after the conclusion of the holiday period. Moreover, the Minister for Family and Social Policy, Marlena Maląg, announced that the changes will enter into force in the autumn. This means that the new regulations concerning remote working are drawing ever closer.
The Act now imposes new obligations on employers. Apart from the necessity to provide, as in the case of telework, the necessary materials and tools (as well as to cover the costs of installation or maintenance), the employer will also be obliged to, among other things, cover the costs of electricity and any telecommunication services which are necessary in order to perform this remote work.
Should the employee make use of their own private devices, the employer will have to pay an equivalent in cash instead. However, this obligation can be replaced by the obligation to pay a flat rate, the amount of which will correspond to the expected costs incurred by the employee in connection with their remote work.
The employer is obligated to determine the rules for performing remote work and for determining the abovementioned flat rate and reimbursement of any other costs related to the performance of remote work in the agreement concluded with the company trade union (if the employer has trade union organisations). If the employer does not have company trade unions, or no such agreement is reached, these arrangements should be set out in the internal regulations after consultation with employee representatives selected in accordance with the procedure adopted by the employer. If the employer has not issued any regulations covering the rules for remote work, the employer must specify these rules in the remote work order given to the employee, or in the agreement concluded with the employee. For practical reasons, however, it is recommended that the employer implements regulations that apply to all employees working remotely.
The Act is to come into force only 14 days after the date of its announcement. This means that employers will have very little time to adjust to these new regulations. According to the previous version of the draft, the new regulations were originally to come into force after three months from the date of the cancellation of the state of the epidemic.
Due to the fact that it is unlikely that in the course of further legislative work the Act will significantly change in terms of the basic assumptions and obligations of employers, we recommend commencing work on the implementation of the new provisions as soon as is feasibly possible. In particular, our recommendation is to establish the principles for the election of employees’ representatives (if the employer has not previously adopted a procedure for their election) with whom the employer will then determine the content of the regulations for remote work.
With the above facts in mind, we are at your disposal should you wish to start preparing for the implementation of the new regulations related to remote work.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.
Authored by Agnieszka Szczodra-Hajduk and Paulina Przewoźnik-Lewiński.