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Remote work in the Labor Code. Compensation for remote work – how much will it be, what fees will be taken into account?

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Remote work in the Labor Code is getting closer to entering into force. The new regulations will come into force at the beginning of April 2023. According to employers and trade unionists, there are many challenges. In their opinion, the biggest ones include the lack of a single pattern of organization and compensation for remote work and occasional remote work.

It is about the act amending the act – Labor Code and some other acts, which the president Andrzej Duda signed on January 27. She introduces remote work to the Labor Code. The amendment defines the forms of remote work and who and under what conditions will be able to apply for it. On April 7, the regulations on remote work will come into force.

Remote work in the Labor Code

– There is no single standard of approach on our labor market to the organization of remote work – told the Polish Press Agency Robert Lisicki, director of the labor department of the Lewiatan Confederation.

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He pointed out that many factors affect the way and scope of introducing remote work in companies. Plans depend on the sector in which a given company operates, on how many employees can use the possibility of working remotely, and how many employees are interested in such work. Lisicki pointed out that a company employing programmers will have a different approach to remote work, and a company dealing with transport services will have a different approach.

In his opinion, the issue of remote work is important from the point of view of many groups of employees, and therefore employers cannot abandon the possibility of remote work. – Often, access to remote work affects the attractiveness of a given employer, such a possibility affects the willingness to start cooperation with a given employer – noted Lisicki.

He said that there will also be employers who will limit themselves to accepting employees’ requests for occasional remote work, i.e. 24 days of remote work in a given calendar year.

He pointed out that with occasional remote work, employers must also create and maintain appropriate documentation. – They will have to have an occupational risk assessment for remote work, appropriate information for employees regarding safe working conditions as part of remote work and receive appropriate statements from these employees that they have read the above documents and that they undertake to comply with them, and that their the remote work position meets the health and safety requirements – said the director of the labor department of the Lewiatan Confederation.

Compensation for remote work

Robert Lisicki pointed out that the costs associated with remote work will vary in individual companies.

– The legislator has not unified the amounts resulting from the costs related to remote work (electricity, access to telecommunications services), so the amounts are determined at the level of each workplace. We expect the amounts to vary even when performing the same tasks between individual employers (…) We will not have a single model of organization and compensation for remote work – he said.

The costs associated with performing remote work and their determination are reported by trade unions as one of two sensitive elements. The second reported problem regarding the introduction of remote work – according to trade unionists – is occasional remote work.

According to Dr. Anna Reda-Ciszewska, an expert NSZZ Solidarity, the biggest problem of employers in the field of remote work will be its costs. – Employers have a problem how to calculate these costs. As a trade union party, we proposed that the range of minimum rates of benefits related to remote work be defined in generally applicable regulations – she said.

Reda-Ciszewska emphasized that from the perspective of trade unions, the only controversy in remote work is occasional work. – We are afraid that it will be abused and that it will be cost-free and the employer will not bear any costs related to remote work – she explained.

“You can’t pass costs on to the employee”

– We will monitor the application of the provisions on remote work in workplaces – announced Paweł Śmigielski, director of the legal and intervention department of OPZZ.

– The Labor Code allows for several methods of introducing remote work – by agreement with trade unions, issuing by the employer regulations on remote work, in special cases the employer’s order or direct agreement between the employer and the employee – explained Śmigielski.

He noted that although the solutions regarding the introduction of remote work are quite flexible, he hopes that employers will define them in a rational way, especially when it comes to reimbursing the employee for costs related to remote work.

– We assume that the costs related to the work performed by them, which have been borne by the employer so far, cannot be passed on to the employee. It should be noted that the Act explicitly mentions only two costs: electricity and telecommunications services (internet). However, the costs that an employee may incur in connection with remote work may be much wider, for example the costs of heating, water, cleaning products and personal hygiene – he mentioned. He noted that the Labor Code allows them to be covered by the employer, but they must be directly indicated in internal company legal acts.

– Occasional remote work will also be the subject of our attention – announced Śmigielski. He reminded that in the case of occasional remote work, the employer is not obliged to reimburse the employee for the costs related to the performance of such work, and does not have to provide the employee with materials and work tools or technical assistance. He noted that “although this is work performed at the employee’s request, we will be interested in internships in workplaces”.

– The existing rules for performing remote work are included in the Covid Act in one provision that regulates this area in an extremely economical way. Therefore, I am glad that the Labor Code includes provisions that regulate this issue, which is very important for employees and employers, in a much more comprehensive and understandable way, assessed Śmigielski.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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