Poland: Businesses to shortly face revolutionary labour law changes. How will remote working be impacted?

The changes establishing a firm place for remote working in the Labour Code entailed more than two years of legislative work and are likely to take effect as early the first quarter of 2023. The new definition of remote working establishes a clear-cut distinction between that term and teleworking.

– The fossil-like regulations on teleworking and temporary solutions of the Covid-19 Special Act will be replaced by regulations on remote working. They will be more flexible and adapted to suit the current working environment and market conditions – says Paulina Grotkowska in her interview with MarketNews24.

The new definition of remote working introduced into the Labour Code lays down a clear-cut distinction between this term and teleworking. The aim is to make long-term remote working more flexible and popular. Remote working will be implemented in the workplace on a basis paralleling that applicable to teleworking, but with one difference. The new Labour Code regulations will impose minimum (and quite extensive) content requirements for regulations or agreements governing remote working. They will also result in additional obligations for employers, including the requirement to define what groups of employees are covered by the new solutions and what principles will apply with regard to work supervision, information security and personal data protection as well as how employees are to be reimbursed for the costs they incur when working remotely, etc.

Additionally, employers will be granted a new right to unilaterally instruct employees to perform remote work (namely, without the need to secure employee consent), but only in exceptional circumstances and for a defined period of time. Hence, in all standard situations, remote working will entail the need for arrangements to be concluded with specific employees, including arrangements as to the place from which they will work remotely.

It will become obligatory for employers to cover costs incurred by employees when working remotely. New workplace health and safety solutions will mean that the existing ones will have to modified when applied to remote working.

What are the practical consequences for employers?

– Once the amended law takes effect, each organization where employees perform work from outside the office will be required to adjust the forms of remote working that are currently in use to the new regulations – adds Paulina Grotkowska.

As an alternative to the new obligations regarding remote working deriving from the Labour Code, employers may decide to change how employees perform their work, namely by requiring them to work from offices, or by placing a limit on remote work of up to no more than 24 days per year. This will then be treated as what is termed occasional remote working. The provisions of the Labour Code have now been extended to cover the latter. This form of work is not subject to any formalities or requirements, and, most importantly, it does not entail any obligation to cover costs incurred by employees when working remotely.

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