Future of work

Labor code-governed remote working is just around the corner – what should you expect?

Published on 27th Apr 2022

Another stage of the legislative process for the new provisions on remote working has been completed. Draft amendment to the labor code introducing, among others, the remote working was discussed by the Legal Affairs Committee. It is one of the last steps in the government’s legislative process. Once it is over, the new regulations will be filed with the Sejm. 
 

The proposed regulations replace telework with the concept of “remote working”. It is defined as performing work in full or in part in the place indicated by the employee and agreed with the employer in each case. Such a place may be the employee’s place of residence and the work may, in particular, be performed with the use of means of direct remote communication.

The condition for performing remote working – within the Labor Code meaning – is that it is agreed with the employer: upon making the employment contract or later during employment (e.g. in the form of an annex to the employment contract). This means that the remote working must directly result from the agreement with the employee. Remote working may be – as an exception – instructed by the employer, including in the event of an epidemic or emergency. Please note that such an instruction will be possible only if the employee – before such an instruction is made – files a declaration of having the housing and technical conditions for remote working.

The rules of remote working should be additionally specified in consultation with trade unions or in the regulations consulted with employees’ representatives. However, it is permissible for the rules of remote working to be addressed in an agreement with the employee or in the employer’s instruction. 

Importantly, the new regulations will more precisely specify employers’ obligations related to remote working. Here are the key ones:

  • providing employees with materials and work tools, including technical devices necessary for work, and if the employee uses his/her own equipment, it will be necessary to address the matter of an equivalent in this respect,
  • covering the costs of installation, service, operation and maintenance of work tools, electricity costs and necessary telecommunications services,
  • covering costs other than the above, if they have been specified in the regulations, instruction or agreement on remote working,
  • providing employees with training and technical support.

The draft also provides an option to perform work remotely without the need to make agreements or issue regulations. Such remote working may, however, be occasional and may not exceed 24 days in a calendar year. 

The draft amendment to the Labor Code provides that the new provisions on remote working will enter into force 3 months after the epidemic state is cancelled in Poland. However, employers should already consider the need to adjust their current in-house regulations related to remote working. 

On top of possible changes in internal regulations or agreements with staff members, the employers should also focus on the risks involved in working remotely. The main challenges faced are:

  • legal and tax matters when remote working is outside Poland (including the legalizing of work abroad);
  • employer’s data protection;
  • ensuring compliance with occupational health and safety in the field of remote working.

You can learn more about the risks involved in the case of remote working and how to mitigate them in the report Hybrid working: ‘The Risk Factor’.

Osborne Clarke helps employers to prepare organizations for remote working, to implement hybrid work and other forms of flexible working.

We support clients in developing the required documentation and assessing the risks associated with the hybrid work model. Do contact us if you need advice in this area!
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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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