Upcoming changes in labour law
Remote work and sobriety control
The government’s bill to amend the Act – Labor Code and certain other acts concerning remote working and sobriety control is already in the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament – the Sejm. The draft predicts the complete removal of regulations on telework and its’ replacement by new regulations on remote work. The rules for remote work will have to be defined in an agreement between the employer and the labour unions. If the two parties do not agree, the employer will set out the rules in work regulations or individually in an agreement with the employee. In addition, thanks to the new regulations, employers will gain a new tool to carry out random checks for the presence of alcohol or alcohol-like substances (drugs) in employees’ organisms. Sobriety checks will be possible if it is necessary to ensure the protection of the life and health of subordinates or other persons or to safeguard property.
According to Minister of Family and Social Policy Marlena Maląg, the changes are planned to come into force next year, being unclear at this point yet whether this will happen in the first or second half of the year. Employers will have two months to adapt to the new remote work regulations, while the rules on sobriety checks are scheduled to come into force 14 days after the law is signed by the President.
Work-life balance directive and transparency directive
Both directives were due to be implemented into Polish law on 1 August 2022. The directives introduce new entitlements for working parents as well as impose several new obligations on employers.
The changes in terms of new employee entitlements are, in particular:
- 5 days of additional unpaid care leave,
- additional time off due to force majeure,
- flexible working arrangements,
- extension of parental leave from 32/34 to 41/42 weeks and granting each parent of a child the right to 9 weeks of parental leave, which will not be transferable to the other parent,
- extending the time during which an employee will be able to refuse to work overtime or to be posted away from his permanent place of residence – from the 4th to the 8th year of a child’s life.
The draft is currently in the consultation phase and has not yet been referred to the Sejm. There is no information on the government’s website about the timing of further work on this draft, including when the law will enter into force.
The government has prepared a new bill on professional activity. The aim is to modernise the Polish labour market. This draft includes changes concerning employment agencies. The proposed legislation does not impose any new obligation of informing or additional requirements on entities running employment agencies.
On the other hand, the bill primarily provides for the following changes:
- the abolition of the obligation to issue certificates authorising the provision of employment agency services,
- increasing the fee for entry into the register of employment agencies – the fee will amount to PLN 1,000,
- extending the scope of job placement services provided by employment agencies,
- extending the scope of control of employment agencies by the director of the Voivodeship Labour Office.
Currently, the draft is at the consultation stage and has not yet been referred to the Sejm. The planned date of entry into force of this bill is 1 January 2023.
Employment of foreigners
In September 2022 the Ministry of Family and Social Policy published a draft law on the employment of foreigners. Its central premise is full digitalisation of proceedings concerning the legalisation of employment of foreigners – from the application submission to the appeal against an administrative decision. A significant planned change is the abandonment of the so-called ‘labour market test,’ which should streamline and speed up proceedings to obtain a work permit.
Other changes included in the bill are:
- the introduction of a mandatory reason for refusal to grant a work permit when the employer does not pay compulsory social insurance contributions or advance payments for income tax,
- the possibility to increase the working time or the number of working hours in a week or in a month provided that the remuneration is increased proportionally without the necessity to amend or obtain a new work permit – applies to the employment contract and civil law contracts,
- in matters concerning the registration of the declaration in the register of declarations – the authority which will examine the applications will be the starost (Polish burgomaster) appropriate for the registered office or a place of residence of the employer.
As announced, the Act was to come into force by the end of this year, but now, it is at the consultation stage and has not yet been submitted to the Sejm. Some of the regulations, especially those related to the preparation of systems for the digitalisation of proceedings, are likely to be introduced in the coming months.
Protection of whistle-blowers
In July 2022, another bill on the protection of whistle-blowers was released. Although it was supposed to be implemented in mid-December 2021, it has still not been enacted. Despite passing the consultation and opinion process, the bill has not yet been referred to the Sejm. We anticipate that the earliest date for enactment of this legislation will be the first quarter of 2023.
Source: The article was created in collaboration with our cooperation partner – sdzlegal Schindhelm Law Office
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