Below are some of the key areas in which employers must resume pre-Covid requirements.
Health and safety training
The required initial and periodic Health and Safety training must be conducted in person and, if such training is overdue, employers have until 30 August 2023 to provide the training. The requirement for periodic training will vary and depends on the nature of the occupation.
Medical certificates and examinations
Under Polish law, employers cannot allow an employee to work without a valid medical certificate. While there were certain exemptions allowed during the Covid emergency, the requirement that all employees, including administration and office workers, have a valid medical certificate to work has been fully reinstated. Employers are required to refer employees to undergo medical examinations both prior to the commencement of employment, as well as, on a periodic basis during employment. The most common period is annual, but that may vary by the health risk posed by the employee’s occupation.
Employers have 180 days, or until 28 December 2023, to obtain updated certificates for employees without medical certificates or whose medical certificate expired after 7 March 2020. Employers must pay for the medical exams; these may be arranged with a local vendor or as part of the medical insurance package.
Directed annual leave usage
Because of local, carry-over provisions, employees can accumulate significant amounts of annual leave with up to a 3-year carry-over period. As part of the pandemic concessions, employers were able to unilaterally, and without consultation with the employee, choose the date(s) during which that employee must take up to 30 days of unused annual leave from previous years’ entitlements. This concession has been eliminated and employers must again consult with employees after the employee’s application for leave.
Under COVID-19 emergency measures, employers who were significantly financially impacted had been allowed to pay severance under a more limited cap of ten times the minimum wage. The cap for severance payments now returns to 15 times the minimum wage for almost all employers (limited exceptions within the labor law previously existed and continue to exist).
Remote work at an employer’s direction
With the end of COVID-19 emergency measures, remote work at the employer’s direction and without an agreement is only able to be continued until 1 October 2023. After this date, employers must follow obligations under the labor law as amended in April of 2023 including a written agreement, payment of remote work expenses, and health and safety compliance.
Employers should inventory their current medical certificates and, as necessary, refer employees for exams to update them. In addition, employers should review their Health and Safety training procedures to bring them in compliance with the in-person directive.