In recent years, remote work has grown in popularity. The provisions concerning it have been broadened and clarified. What does remote work in 2024 look like? How to introduce it? Who is prohibited by law from working remotely? We answer these and other questions in the article below.
Table of Contents
- What regulations govern issues related to remote work in 2024?
- What does remote work mean under current regulations?
- How to introduce remote work in 2024 under current regulations?
- Who, according to the regulations, can apply for remote work in 2024?
- Who cannot work remotely under current regulations?
- When do regulations allow an employer to instruct someone to work remotely?
- How to define rules for remote work in 2024?
- What obligations regarding remote work in 2024 does the employer have?
- What rights does the employer have in terms of health and safety of remote work in 2024?
What regulations govern issues related to remote work in 2024?
The Act of 26 June 1974 – the Labor Code, regulates the institution of remote work. These regulations were introduced by the Act of 1 December 2022, amending the Labor Code and some other Acts. 2 months after the announcement of the law, on 7 April 2023, the regulations on remote work came into effect. They cover aspects such as the introduction of remote work and the order to perform it. It also specifies the employer’s duties and rights associated with such employment.
What does remote work mean under current regulations?
The Labor Code defines what constitutes remote work. It is performed entirely or partially in a place indicated by the employee and each time agreed upon with the employer. It also includes work performed at the employee’s place of residence. Its characteristic feature is using the means of direct communication at a distance.
Remote work in 2024 can be performed either full-time or part-time. The regulations specify that its location is determined by the employee. Yet, the employer must approve it. One can work remotely not only through electronic communication means but also through means of direct communication at a distance.
How to introduce remote work in 2024 under current regulations?
The parties to employment contract can agree on the performance of remote work. The regulations distinguish between two methods:
- At the time of entering into an employment contract.
- During an already existing employment relationship.
When concluding an employment contract, the parties may decide about remote work form. In this case, to change the conditions of work from remote to stationary, an agreement between the employee and employer is necessary. Alternatively, the parties may choose termination of the work conditions on general terms.
An employer may also introduce remote work during the course of employment. The regulations provide several modes for starting remote work in 2024. The same applies to transitioning back to stationary mode.
Who, according to the regulations, can apply for remote work in 2024?
There are several groups of employees who can apply for remote work in 2024 and their request is binding. The regulations include, among others:
- Pregnant employees.
- Employees raising a child up to the age of 4.
- Employees providing care for a close family member or household member with a disability certificate.
- Some employees who, based on previous regulations, were entitled to submit a binding application to the employer for work in an individual, intermittent, or flexible working time system.
These groups were identified to help balance caregiving, parenting and work duties. This reflects a consistent trend in changes to labour law regulations.
Who cannot work remotely under current regulations?
The legislator has also addressed the safety of remote work. The regulations exclude the possibility of performing certain types of work remotely. These include:
- Particularly hazardous work.
- Work resulting in exceeding permissible norms of physical factors specified for residential premises.
- Work involving chemical factors posing a threat.
- Work related to the use or release of harmful biological agents, radioactive substances, or other substances or mixtures emitting unpleasant odours.
- Work causing intense pollution.
When do regulations allow an employer to instruct someone to work remotely?
An employer can instruct employees to perform remote work in 2024. The regulations allow the exercise of this right in following cases:
1) During a state of emergency, an epidemic threat, or an epidemic. Additionally, within 3 months after their cancellation.
2) During a period in which the employer cannot temporarily provide safe and hygienic working conditions at the current workplace due to force majeure. This is possible if the employee has previously submitted an electronic or written statement, declaring he has the local and technical conditions to work remotely.
The employer can revoke the instruction for remote work at any time. According to regulations, such action requires at least a two-day notice.
How to define rules for remote work in 2024?
The legislator has also outlined how to define the rules for remote work. The regulations provide the following guidelines:
- The agreement between the employer and the company’s trade union determines the rules for remote work. If there is more than one trade union, employer negotiates an agreement with all of them.
- If no agreement is reached within 30 days of the employer’s draft, the employer sets remote work rules in the regulations. It must take into account arrangements reached with the trade unions during negotiations.
- If there are no trade unions, the employer defines the rules for remote work in the regulations. He must consult with employee representatives beforehand.
- If no agreement is reached, and no regulations have been issued, the employer defines the rules for remote work respectively in the instruction or individual agreement with the employee.
According to the regulations on remote work, the agreement and regulations specify:
- The group or groups of employees who may work remotely.
- The communication rules between the employer and the employee performing remote work. This also concerns the method of confirming the employee’s presence at the workplace.
- The rules for controlling employees who work remotely
- The rules for controlling the occupational health and safety conditions.
What obligations regarding remote work in 2024 does the employer have?
The employer has certain obligations related to remote work in 2024. The regulations state that the employer must:
1) Provide the employee performing remote work with materials and tools. This includes technical devices, necessary for remote work.
2) Provide employees with the installation, service, and maintenance of work tools, and technical devices for remote work. Alternatively, covering associated costs. This concerns also the costs of electricity and telecommunication services necessary for remote work.
3) Cover other costs directly related to performing remote work if the reimbursement of such costs has been specified in the agreement, regulations, or instruction.
4) Provide employees with training and technical support necessary for remote work.
The parties establish rules for using materials and work tools not provided by the employer. In such cases, the employee is entitled to a monetary equivalent. Its value is usually settled with the employer.
What rights does the employer have in terms of health and safety of remote work in 2024?
The legislator granted employers several rights in the field of health and safety at remote work. The regulations authorize the employer to:
- Control the employee’s performance of remote work.
- Control conditions related to occupational health and safety.
- Control compliance with rules governing safety and protection of information.
Such supervision is based on arrangements adopted in agreements or regulations.
The control is carried out in agreement with the employee at the place of remote work. It must be during the employee’s working hours. Control activities must not violate the privacy of remote workers and others. It should not influence the use of domestic premises.
Remote work has been regulated relatively recently in the Polish Labor Code. The relevant regulations meet the expectations of both employees and employers. The experience gained from legal solutions applied in the COVID-19 Act for telework and remote work served as a basis for new regulations.
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