Remote work regulation in Poland
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Alert – updated: 11.04.2023
New remote work regulation in Poland
On April 7, 2022, the long-awaited legal regulation of remote work come in to force in Poland. Polish Labor Code has been amended and brand new section on remote working employees was introduced. At the same time “old provisions” the so-called telework were repealed and expired.
Remote work in Poland – definition
Remote work is defined as work performed entirely or partially in a place defined by the employee, agreed each time with the employer, including at the address of the employee’s residence, using means of direct communication at a distance.
How to introduce rules of remote work?
The employer shall define the rules of remote work in:
- agreement between the employer and the company’s trade union organization, or
- remote work regulations (handbook), or
- order to perform remote work, or
- agreement concluded with the employee.
Agreeing remote work with particular employee
Remote work can be agreed with the employee at the moment of concluding of the employment contract or during the course of employment.
At the individual request of the employee – remote work may also be performed occasionally, for no more than 24 days in a calendar year.
Benefits for remote working employees
The new law introduces three types of mandatory benefits for the remote working employees:
- providing equipment, and
- providing equipment maintenance, and
- reimbursement of running expenses (running costs).
The new law does not regulate precisely how to reimburse the cost of remote work and provides certain level of discretion to the employers in this regard.
Equipment in remote work
Regarding the obligation to provide equipment to the employee working remotely, the law provides alternative solutions with regards to equipment:
- The employer provides and covers the costs of the equipment necessary to perform remote work, or
- The employee works on his/her own equipment and receives a so-called ‘equivalent’ or a lump sum agreed by the parties.
Installation & maintenance
Equipment / tool of the employee working remotely need to be maintained in and new Polish employment regulations provides three alternative solutions here:
- The employer provides and cover the cost of installation and maintenance of the equipment, or
- The employee arranges the installation and maintenance of equipment but the employer covers the related expenses, or
- The employer pays to the employee a lump sum agreed by the parties.
The employee working remotely incurs so called “running costs”, which most usually include electricity and telecom services. The law provides here two alternative solutions:
- The employer covers the costs of electricity and telecommunication services in a form of a so-called ‘equivalent’, or
- The employer pays a lump sum agreed by the parties.
Running costs related to remote work
Most employers provide and cover expenses related to equipment and maintenance, therefore most of the controversies arise around the running costs. The provisions on remote work do not in any way regulate the amount of the equivalent or the lump sum for remote work. The new provisions only indicate that when determining the amount of the equivalent or lump sum, the following factors are taken into account: consumption standards for materials and work tools, including technical devices, their documented market prices and the amount of material used for the needs of the employer and market prices of this material, as well as electricity consumption standards and costs of telecommunications services.
Equivalent for remote work
Choosing the option of paying the equivalent for remote work involves calculating each month, based on the electricity and internet bills provided by the employee, how much the employee incurred in connection with remote work. It is therefore a 1:1 method of covering the costs incurred. The equivalent rate due to changes in energy prices and its consumption will change practically every month. When choosing this option, the employer can develop a formula that will speed up the calculation of the equivalent, taking into account the ratio of working days and hours to the remaining days in the month. However, this does not change the fact that this amount will be different for each employee – which will require more effort from the employer.
Lump sum for remote work
Many employers decide to pay a lump sum for remote work – i.e. a fixed monthly amount corresponding to the averaged expected costs of remote work. This is a solution preferred by most employers, because although it involves certain concessions on the part of the employer (no verification of the exact costs incurred), it allows the employer to reduce the number of formalities related to determining and paying the equivalent.
When it comes to determining the amount of the lump sum, as in the case of the equivalent, it will consist of two elements: internet costs and electricity costs. In the case of a lump sum, it is also important to determine it the sum will be lowered if the employee is sick or absent from work.
Lump sum for internet
To determine such costs, the employer should find out what the rates are on the market in a given city – e.g. verify several different providers and calculate the monthly cost incurred by the employee, taking into account 8 hours of work, 5 days a week. According to the calculations provided on HR portals, this cost may amount to approx. PLN 13 per month.
Lump sum for electricity
To determine these costs, the employer should find out what the rates are per hour of computer work, and then convert them for 8 hours of work, 5 days a week. Currently, on HR portals, it is stated that an hour of computer work is about PLN 0.30-0.35, which gives the amount of PLN 2.40 – 2.80 per day. With 21 working days in a month, it is about PLN 60 (assuming the maximum rate).
It is reported that currently the amounts of the lump sum on the market are between PLN 30 and PLN 90 for an employee working completely remotely (5 days a week). The amounts of the lump sum vary between cities and industries.