Working remotely in the labor law

Working remotely – definition

The concept of remote work should be understood to mean tasks that are performed in whole or in part at the place specified by the employee, incl. at his home address. It must always be agreed with the employer and its effects must be communicated to the supervisor via direct remote communication.

Remote working can be done completely remotely or in a hybrid model, ie partly remotely and partly in the company. It will be possible to lay down rules and duration of remote working between the parties to the employment contract, ie entrepreneurs and employees.

What are the rules for remote working?

Until now, the provisions on remote working were only temporary and in effect due to the transitional provisions regarding the state of the epidemic. They were precisely based on the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of May 6, 2021 establishing specific restrictions, orders and prohibitions related to the outbreak of the epidemic and the provisions of the law of March 2, 2020 on special solutions related to prevention, countering and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and emergencies caused by them.

Article 3 paragraph 1 of this law indicates that during the period of the epidemic threat or epidemic situation announced as a result of COVID-19, and within 3 months after their notice of termination, the employer can instruct the employee to combat COVID-19, for a certain period, , work specified in the contract, outside the place of final performance, which is called remote work.

In addition, the legislator has indicated that the entrepreneur can instruct his subordinate to perform tasks remotely, if the employee has the technical and local skills and capabilities to perform them, and the type of work permits. However, remote working at KP did not exist until now. He only defined telecommuting, but that is expected to change soon.

Working remotely in the labor law

Article 675 of the Tax Act provides that regular work may be performed outside the workplace using electronic means of communication within the meaning of the provisions on electronic services. This is known as telecommuting.

On June 7, 2022, a draft law amending the Labor Code and certain other laws was submitted to the Sejm. It provides for the permanent introduction of a home working institution at the KP. The regulations have not yet been established, but it is known what form they will take.

Remote working will be based on the agreements made between the contracting parties, ie entrepreneurs and employees. The rules for their implementation are laid down in an agreement between the employer and the trade union organization in the workplace, and in the absence of such an organization in the workplace, these agreements must be included in the regulations established after consultation with the employees’ representatives. The new regulations offer the possibility to work remotely, also on assignment or agreement with an employee.

Under the draft law, the provisions on remote working provide for the possibility for entrepreneurs to order the performance of tasks remotely in case of:

  • pregnant employees,
  • employees raising children up to 4 years of age,
  • employees caring for a family member or other person with a disability certificate,
  • employees – parents of children with a certificate of serious and irreversible disability or an incurable disease threatening life, which arose during the prenatal development of the child or during childbirth,
  • employees – parents of children with a statement of disability or an opinion about the need for early development support.

Health and safety while working remotely

Working remotely does not relieve entrepreneurs of the obligation to provide their subordinates with safe and hygienic conditions to perform their duties. It is their responsibility to provide remote workers with appropriate materials and tools, their installation, service and maintenance. They also cover the cost of electricity and telecommunications services required to perform the tasks.

If the employee is allowed to work remotely, the entrepreneur will have to receive a statement on paper or electronically that he has taken note of the risk assessment and working conditions rules drawn up by the employer. The employee will also have to submit a statement that the remote work position specified by him and agreed with the employer is provided with safe and hygienic conditions for performing the work.

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