First round of changes
Last week the Sejm was dealing with the sobriety control and remote work regulations and rejected all the Senate-proposed amendments. The bill is now waiting for presidential signature.
Companies will have two months to formulate and adopt remote work policies. One matter to which particular attention should be paid is the degree of employee’s freedom in determining where he or she does their remote work. There are also concerns about how to properly compute the remote work allowance payable to employees. The allowance should take into account various factors, including number of days worked remotely and current prices of energy and telecommunication services.
We finally have a regulation on workplace sobriety testing, an issue which has previously been unreasonably found to be of dubious impact by the Polish personal data watchdog. Sobriety tests will serve the purpose of protecting property as well as employee life and limb. Employers will be required to change their employment manuals (work rules) accordingly. The new law can become effective at the beginning of February.
Second round of changes
The government also adopted a second round of changes to the Labour Code which may become effective even within the first six months of this year.
The new law will regulate mainly:
- new types of leave,
- contracts of employment for a determinate term or for a trial period,
- maternity-related rights.
Another novelty employers will find important is the duty to redesign the notice of working conditions given at the start of employment. The notice will be much broader than currently, basically an extract from employment manual.
The government continues to work on proposed whistleblower legislation and has so far produced as many as 6 subsequent drafts of the law.
Labour inspection to step into the shoes of Civic Rights Ombudsman?
The changes introduced over the last six months involve mainly external reporting. The idea now is that such reports will go to the State Labour Inspectorate instead of the Civic Rights Ombudsman. As you can imagine, the State Labour Inspectorate does not want to have this new power and seeks to avoid having to process such reports.
When is the time for corporate policies?
The Cabinet is expected to adopt the draft law within the first three months of 2023. So businesses may plan to commence working on their whistleblowing policies later during the year.
In the news
In autumn last year, a group of The Left MPs submitted a legislative proposal to reduce the length of a workweek. The idea is to limit the weekly working time standard to 35 hours but keep a workweek of five days on average. However, the proponents suggest that workers could use a three-day weekend in some weeks. According to the proposal, the working time reduction would be gradual with the weekly standard to fall down by a mere 2 hours over the next couple of years.
We think this draft will not be enacted or legislated, although many workers would surely be pleased if it was.
Please contact our employment law specialists for more information.