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Coronavirus. From July 1, the state of epidemic threat is canceled – changes for employers and employees

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From July 1, the state of epidemic threat ceases to apply. Therefore, employees and employers are waiting for changes – it will be necessary, among others, to do overdue periodic examinations, some documents legalizing the stay and employment of foreigners will also lose their validity, experts from the Trenkwalder employment agency said.

According to the regulation of the Minister of Health, On July 1, the state of epidemic emergency will be canceled. Therefore, experts pointed out, a number of regulations introduced under the so-called the Covid Act, i.e. the Act of March 2, 2020 on special solutions related to the prevention, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them, and the Act of March 31, 2020 amending certain acts in the field of the protection system related to the prevention, counteracting and combating COVID-19.

Epidemic threat canceled – changes

Although the legislator has provided for transitional provisions on many issues, which give time to prepare for these changes, employers should not wait until the last minute to introduce them, experts advise.

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As they mentioned, the short transitional period applies especially to employers employing foreigners and foreigners themselves, whose legality of stay and employment was extended on the basis of the Covid law.

– The legal consequence of lifting the state of epidemic threat will be the loss of validity of documents legalizing the stay and work of foreigners who have so far stayed and worked in Poland on the basis of the so-called Covid Act. This applies to both employees Ukrainewho entered Poland before February 24, 2022, as well as other foreigners from outside the EU. They will only have 30 days to extend their legal stay. Employers, on the other hand, will only have 30 days to extend their work permits, reminded Daniel Sola, director of international projects at Trenkwalder.

In his opinion, in the case of foreigners residing and working in Poland so far on the basis of a declaration of entrusting work, the procedure of registering the declaration at the poviat labor office currently takes about a week. However, in the case of work permits, which are examined by the voivodship office, the deadline for processing applications is 2-3 months. Employers who have not taken care of it earlier must take into account a break in the work of a foreigner, because after the lapse of the 30-day transitional period, they will have to wait for another 1-2 months for the issuance of such a permit, noted Sola.

He emphasized that the cancellation of the state of epidemic threat does not change anything in the status of Ukrainian citizens who entered Poland after February 24, 2022 and their stay was regulated on the basis of the Special Act on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens.

Periodic inspections and OHS training

Agency experts reminded that after the cancellation of the state of epidemic threat, employees will have to go for examinations, including those that are overdue. Employers will have 180 days to refer employees to overdue periodic examinations and 60 days for the implementation of overdue periodic health and safety training. Initial health and safety training will have to be stationary, but this does not apply to persons admitted to remote work for administrative and office positions.

Experts have also calculated further changes from July 1. Employers will lose the right to unilaterally send an employee to work overdue vacation leave of up to 30 days. A 14-day period will begin to run, after which the contracts of all employees who have not collected letters for the last 3 years will be terminated – for employers this means preparing employment certificates, submitting relevant documents to ZUS and payment of the equivalent for unused leave. Redundant employees will be entitled to higher severance pay and compensation – the end of the state of epidemic emergency removes the restrictions on their amount (so far they amounted to ten times the minimum wage).

Employers will also have to return to the higher amount of the ZFŚS write-off, established in collective labor agreements or remuneration regulations, if it was reduced during the state of epidemic threat, e.g. due to a decrease in the company’s economic turnover.

“The pandemic has irrevocably changed the way we work”

Vice-President of the Polish HR Forum and President of Trenkwalder, Wojciech Ratajczyk, concluded that the changes related to the lifting of the state of epidemic threat will not have a major impact on the labor market.

– However, it is certain that the labor market after the epidemic threat is lifted is no longer the same as before the pandemic. The pandemic has irrevocably changed the ways of working and increased flexibility. In many professions, it forced raising the level of digital competences of employees, both in the private and public sectors. Due to digital transformation, many processes that were previously carried out personally moved to the digital environment – digital signing of contracts, digital work systems or digital handling of matters in offices, and the postulate of reducing paper in offices, which has been proclaimed for years, has become a fact – said Ratajczyk.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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