For over a year, employers have been able to instruct employees to work from home. Such a possibility introduced by the provisions of the Anti-Crisis Shield has proved to all employers that this form of work may not only be effective, but also generates significant savings. Last week, the long-awaited bill amending the Labor Code, the law on professional and social rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities and the law on employment promotion and labor market institutions was sent for public consultations. The bill envisages repealing of the provisions on teleworking and replacing them with new, slightly more flexible solutions for remote work.
The main assumptions of the bill are the following:
1. Remote work will be a broader concept than teleworking. As indicated in the justification, remote work may be performed with the use of means of direct remote communication or apply to the performance of manufacturing or material services.
2. Remote work can be introduced either at the stage of concluding an employment contract or during the employment. The employer will be able to unilaterally assign remote work only in special cases – during the declared state of emergency, epidemic threat or epidemic and within 3 months after it was lifted or when necessary due to the obligation to ensure conditions of health and safety at work for the employee. In principle, remote work will require the employee’s consent.
3. The terms of performing remote work will be defined in the form of:
- an agreement concluded with trade unions,
- regulations issued by the employer after consultations with employee representatives;
- an agreement concluded with the employee, or
- an assignment to perform remote work.
4. The place of performing remote work is specified by the employee, however it must be agreed with the employer. In particular, the place of performing remote work may be the employee’s place of residence
5. The employer will be obliged to provide the employee with the materials and tools necessary for remote work. In addition, it will be obliged to cover the costs related to installation, technical service, access to telecommunications network and to provide appropriate technical support. If the employees use their own equipment, materials and tools they will be entitled to receive a cash equivalent or a lump sum. The employer is under no obligation to provide employees with the essential personal care products.
6. Provision by the employer of materials and work tools necessary to perform remote work and reimbursement of costs directly related to the remote work performed by the employee do not constitute income within the meaning of the PIT Act.
7. The employee may be allowed to perform remote work only after the employee submits a statement confirming that the workplace ensures conditions of health and safety at work and that the employee has appropriate premises and technical conditions to work in this mode.
8. Before the employee is admitted to work, the employer is required to prepare an occupational risk assessment as a basis for providing information on the proper organization of the workplace. The employer is not responsible for organizing the workplace in accordance with rules and regulations of health and safety at work.
9. The entire initial training in the field of health and safety at work for persons assigned to office and administrative posts may be conducted online.
10. The employer will be required to appoint a person or body responsible for cooperation with the employee performing remote work and authorized to carry out inspections at the place of performing remote work.
11. Remote work may also be performed on an occasional basis, at the employee’s request, subject to the employer’s approval. Remote work in this mode may be performed for up to a maximum of 12 days a year. Detailed regulations on the organization of remote work will not apply to occasional remote work.
12. The employee may be allowed to submit requests for which the Labour Code provides written form, in electronic form. In addition, arrangements for transition to remote working during the course of employment, confirmation that the employee has read the risk assessment and completed the occupational health and safety training, confirmation that the employee has read the data protection rules, and the employee’s statement confirming that the premises are suitable for remote working, may be in paper or electronic form.