Work from home
The Polish government is currently working on creating regulations specifically for remote working, which involves performing work entirely or partially away from the employer's office or the permanent workplace. This is a step up from the current recognition of teleworking alone. This also means that regulations as outlined before may change and some employer duties that are currently advisable, may become mandatory such as the exact workspace provision regulations.
The employer agrees individually with each employee on including telework and remote working, which both sides need to consent to. Often employers introduce internal regulations governing the organisation of remote work (home office).
Employers who have employees working from home must:
- Implement rules of remote work onto the agreement between the employer and employee (trade union or employee representative, if applicable).
- Provide the worker with the equipment necessary to perform work, which meets the Labour Code requirements (this is understood to be equipment necessary to perform work such as laptop, phone etc, and not equipment such as desk, chair, etc )
- Insure the equipment
- Cover the costs of installing, servicing, operating and maintaining the equipment
- Provide the employee with an appropriate technical support facility and necessary training targeted at the equipment's service - unless there is a separate agreement
The separate agreement may determine:
- The scope of the insurance and the rules of using the equipment
- The rules of communication between the employer and the employee, including how the employee confirms their presence
- The procedure for managing the employee's work
If an employee uses their equipment necessary to perform work, they are entitled to a cash reimbursement for it. When calculating the exact amount, the employer should consider equipment wear and tear standards, documented market prices, and work usage percentage.
Health & safety at home
Employers must provide employees working from home with initial training in health and safety at work and follow-up training. They can skip the parts of the training, which are exclusively about the office. The employer's obligations are:
- Inform the employee of health and safety rules and regulations related to the work performed. The employee should confirm they have received this information in writing
- Issue detailed instructions and guidance on occupational health and safety for those working from home
- Provide the employee with preliminary, periodic and control medical examinations
For employees working from a computer for at least half of their daily working hours, the employer must ensure:
- That the workstation meets the specific requirements set out in the health and safety at work regulations
- Co-finance the purchase of any eye-correcting glasses if the eye exam results show the need to use them while working with a screen
Security of information
The employer must implement data protection rules. The employer should set out those rules for any data transferred to the employee and, when feasible, conduct a briefing and provide training for that purpose.
It is a good practice if the employee confirms, in writing, that they have been made aware of the rules of data protection and are obliged to comply with them.
Employers are responsible for providing an appropriate workstation compliant with employees' health and safety regulations working from home. As mentioned at the beginning what that involves is still not regulated by the Labour Code and it’s left to the determination of each individual employer and the nature of work of employees.
All workplace elements should meet the minimum requirements of occupational health and safety and ergonomics specified by regulations.
An employer's breach of obligations such as a failure to provide employees with an ergonomic workstation (desk, chair, etc.), if it turned out that in a given situation it was justified may:
- be the basis for employee claims for e.g. occupational disease / accident at work (such as compensation etc.)
- constitute an offence for violation of health and safety regulations (PIP inspection and a fine ranging between 1,000zł and 30,000zł)
A good practice is to have photos of the employee's workstation attached to the teleworking contract.
The employer can inspect the work performed by the employee at the workplace. When the workplace is the employee's home, the employer has the right to inspect:
- The progress of the work performed
- The state of the equipment for installation, stocktaking, maintenance, service or repair
- If the inspection is within the scope of health and safety at work. The employee needs to agree in writing
The employer must adjust the inspection procedure to suit the place where work is performed and its characteristics. The inspection must not violate the employee and their family's privacy or prevent the appropriate use of the home premises.
The first health and safety at work inspection should be conducted at the employee's request before they start work.
Employers cannot discriminate against an employee who works from home or treat them any less favourably than another employee. This includes the start or end of the employment relationship, the employment conditions, promotion and access to training to improve professional qualifications. The Labour Code also stipulates that those working from home must have the same training as workers at the employer's premises.
Employers are exempt from controlling and recording employees' daily working time working from home but should still keep records of holidays, days off, and sick leave.