• 1000

The year 2023 may without exaggeration be called a year of constant change in the labour law. Remote work, work-life balance, workplace alcohol testing, new information on terms and conditions of employment, amended rules for reinstating employees at work, abolition of court fees on employment lawsuits - these are just a few of entirely new or amended labour law provisions. 2023 has seen introduction of numerous changes that both employers and employees were anxiously waiting for.

Below we present a summary of 2023 labour law changes.

New rules of remote work and farewell to telework

At the beginning of 2023 the legislator determined the rules of rendering work from outside the employer’s premises, with the use of means of distance communication. On 7 April 2023, new regulations on remote work entered into force. The adopted provisions enable the performance of remote work in full or in part (hybrid work) at a location designated by the employee, but each time agreed with the employer. Following an introduction of the new legislation, it was necessary to regulate remote work in intra-company regulations or directly with the employees – the employers were required to set out the principles of remote work in an agreement concluded between the employer and the company trade union organisation, the remote work regulations, an order to render work from home or in an agreement concluded with the employee. In addition to an obligation to adequately determine the rules for remote work, the employers were imposed other duties, including a coverage of costs associated with remote work.

From 7 April 2023, employers had six months to adapt their telework rules to the new legislation on remote work. On 7 October 2023 expired the transitional period aimed at permitting the employers to amend employment contracts that provided for the performance of work in the form of telework, and employers' internal regulations (in particular, work regulations) based on the hitherto applicable regulations.

It is also worth noting that on 1 July 2023, Poland acceded to the Framework Agreement on the application of Article 16(1) of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 in cases of habitual cross-border telework. Provisions of the Agreement permit determining the legislation applicable in the scope of social security to employees residing in the territory of one of the countries that acceded to the aforementioned Agreement, who perform work remotely for an employer with its registered office in one of the other signatories to the Agreement.

Work-life balance

Another vital change in labour law introduced in 2023 was an implementation to the Polish legal system of two work-life balance directives, i.e., the so-called work-life balance directive (on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union) and the directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. On 26 April, in addition to the new solutions to parental and carer's leave, introduced was also an exemption from work due to a force majeure event (2 days or 16 hours off work in a calendar year) with a retention of the right to 50% of remuneration.

Moreover, under the amended Labour Code regulations, employers were imposed an obligation to provide information on vacancies, promotion opportunities or changes of address of the employer. Due regard should be given also to the new obligation to justify the termination of a fixed-term employment contract and amended rules on probationary employment contracts. In addition, provisions of the Labour Code on the information on terms and conditions of employment that employers are required to transfer to the employees were also amended. New term and for of transmitting and updating the said information were provided for as well. Furthermore, the scope of the information was significantly expanded, which brings about the duty to swiftly identify changes in the employees’ working conditions and informing the employees thereof.

Following the above changes, it was necessary also to update a model employment certificate.

Next, noted should be the changes to parental leave for foster families and adoptive parents, which also came into effect in 2023.

Workplace alcohol testing

Among major 2023 labour law changes mentioned should be an introduction to the Labour Code of new regulations on alcohol testing at the workplace, which have been in force since 21 February 2023. According to the said provisions, an employer may introduce workplace regulations relating to testing employees for alcohol consumption in situations where this is necessary to ensure safety of life and health of employees, other persons or safety of property. As a result of the adopted changes it is necessary to properly regulate and introduce rules relating to the control of employees in this respect, as well as to update procedures for data processing and a proper compliance therewith.

New days off

Due to the cessation of the state of epidemic emergency (and applicability of special covid provisions) and an enactment of the new National Cancer Network Act, two “days off” for blood donors were permanently introduced. At present, an employee who donates blood is entitled to time off from work and exemption from business-related duties on the day s/he donates blood and on the following day, as well as for the time necessary for blood donors to undergo periodic medical examination.

Changes regarding labour law litigation

2023 is also a year of changes in labour law litigation. First, noted should be the changes to court fees. In accordance with the provisions in force since 28 September 2023, an employee is exempt from paying court fees for lawsuits filed in employment cases, regardless of the value of the subject-matter of the dispute. This solution was intended to expand employees’ entitlements to pursue their rights in the court. However, on the basis of this amendment, many concerns have been raised in connection with an unrestricted possibility of suing employers by the employees.

Second, new regulations were enacted regarding a reinstatement of employees at work and the provision of security in labour law cases. The amended Code of Civil Procedure provides for an obligation to continue employment at the employee’s request until the proceedings have become final. In addition, introduced was the possibility of granting security in the form of an order for the continued employment of employees subject to special protection until the proceedings have become final.

Cross-border transformations

One should also not overlook the new Act on the Participation of Employees in a Company Resulting from a Cross-Border Transformation, Merger or Division of Companies, which has extended the existing rights of employees in cross-border reorganisations. The Act regulates the models and forms of employee participation in cross-border reorganisations, mergers and divisions of companies, provides for special protection for members of the special negotiating team and members of the representative team, and introduces additional obligations to, among others, ensure that employees have the right to participate in any subsequent domestic or cross-border reorganisations, mergers or divisions within a period of four years and an obligation to provide information to the minister responsible for labour-related matters.

Employee Benefits Fund

The rules for calculating write-offs for the Employee Benefits Fund have also changed in 2023. The provisions of the Act of 7 July 2023 amending the Act on Special Solutions for Implementation of the 2023 Budget Act and certain other acts introduced a new basis for calculating the write-off for the Employee Benefits Fund from 1 July 2023. Consequently, in 2023, there are two bases for calculating the write-off for the Fund.

In addition, we would like to remind you of the necessary verification of the employment level in your workplace, which should be done now. Pursuant to the Act on the Employee Benefits Fund, an employer employing at least 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees on 1 January of a certain year is required to establish the Fund.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees may voluntarily set up the Fund or to decide to pay a holiday pay. However, if they do not intend to do so and they are not covered by a collective labour agreement or required to issue remuneration regulations, in the first month of a calendar year they should inform the employees that the Fund will not be created and that holiday pay will not be paid.

Posting of drivers

From 19 August 2023, new rules for the posting of drivers apply. The regulations adopted in this area result from the implementation of the EU legislation comprising the Mobility Package determining the conditions for conducting business in the road transport sector. One of the result of the said changes is an obligation to regard drivers carrying out certain transport operations in Poland as posted workers. Granting drivers the status of posted workers in Poland entails the necessity of providing them with conditions of employment no less favourable than those arising from Polish legal regulations.

Other vital 2023 labour law changes

Finally, we would like to remind you of the obligation to provide employees working at workplaces with screen monitors not only corrective eye glasses but also contact lenses. The obligation has been in force since 17 November 2023. In addition we also draw your attention to the new rules regulating the list of activities prohibited to juvenile workers. The above two changes may require employers to review their intra-company regulations.

Submit request for proposal