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The changes in labour law announced for the turn of 2022 and 2023 cover several areas and stem from two separate acts.
The first act is to introduce the concept of remote working into the Labour Code; it will replace the current regulations on teleworking and remote working under the so-called anti-crisis shield. The act will also specify the legal grounds for employers to carry out preventive checks for the presence of alcohol or substances acting similarly to alcohol in the bodies of their employees.
The other act is to implement two EU directives into the Polish legal order, i.e. Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU (the Work-life Balance Directive) and Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union.
The act adopted by the Sejm on 1 December 2022 defines remote working as the performance of work wholly or partly at a place indicated by the employee and always agreed upon with the employer, including at the employee’s home address, in particular by means of distance communication.
How remote working is to be introduced in the workplace, including cases when the employer will be required to grant the employee’s request to work remotely, but also situations when it will be up to the employer to order employees to work remotely are to be laid down in the Labour Code.
In addition, for instance, the following issues will be regulated:
The act adopted by the Sejm on 1 December 2022 assumes that employers will be able to carry out preventive checks for the presence of alcohol or substances that act similarly to alcohol in the bodies of their employees. This will be possible in justified cases, i.e. when necessary to protect the life and health of employees or others or to protect property. A sobriety check will involve a test carried out using methods that do not require laboratory testing and determine either the absence or the presence of alcohol in the employee’s body by means of a device for which a valid document confirming its calibration is held.
The new rules under the act will also address the following issues:
Changes resulting from the implementation of the Work-life Balance Directive will concern the rights of employees as parents and carers of children and will guarantee that they are protected against unequal treatment in employment.
The key issues arising from the bill include:
Significant changes affecting probationary and fixed-term contracts are planned in connection with the implementation of the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union, such as:
one month if the fixed-term contract is to be concluded for less than six months,
two months if the fixed-term contract is to be made for between six months and twelve months;
Although the legislative work is still underway, we think that this is the best time to start preparing for the upcoming changes and, to this end:
Parliamentary work is underway on the acts.
Still, the act on remote working and sobriety checks was adopted by the Sejm on 1 December 2022. We assume that the legislative process will be completed this year. The new regulations on employee sobriety checks will come into effect 14 days, and those on remote working – two months, after the promulgation of the act. However, this period may be extended during parliamentary work on the act at the Senate, due to demands from employers.
The other act implementing the EU directives has not yet been passed to the Sejm. According to EU requirements, the amendment should have come into effect by August 2, 2022. This deadline has already passed. Little progress has been made on the act. The first half of 2023 is mentioned as the likely time when the law will be adopted.
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