1. What options do employers have and/or what are you seeing in terms of re-opening the workplace e.g. phased returns, rotating shifts, staggered working hours, etc.?
The Polish government is taking gradual steps to return to normality. The process has been divided into four stages to maintain maximum safety for citizens. Currently it is recommended to maintain remote working where possible. If it is not possible, there are a number of requirements for the protection of employees that must be met.
2. Does an employer have to give notice to employees to return to the workplace?
Yes, an employer should inform employees when they are required to return to the workplace.
3. Is an employer obliged to consult with employees/representatives about the return to work process?
No, an employer may inform employees about the to return-to-work process without any consultations with employees or trade unions.
4. Are there any requirements or recommendations for employees to wear or employers to provide masks or other protective equipment in the workplace?
Yes. An employer must provide single-use gloves or hand disinfectants for everyone. In addition, if employees provide direct services to customers, the employer must also provide them with masks. There is no obligation to provide specialist masks – they need only cover the nose and mouth.
5. When can business travel resume and what are the key considerations for employers?
The Polish government recommends limiting business trips to the necessary minimum.
Despite the COVID-19-related restrictions, it is possible to travel in Poland by car or by public transport (i.e. trains, buses, planes), even between cities. However, the need for domestic business trips should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Many countries (including Poland) have closed their international borders or have screening measures and entry restrictions at border crossings and transport hubs. As such, employees may not be permitted to enter another country, or may be required to enter a period of quarantine after entry.
6. If schools remain closed, can working parents continue to work from home?
Generally, the decision on remote work rests with the employer. If the employer so decides, employees can continue to work remotely regardless of whether schools remain closed. Until 24 May, parents are entitled to receive a care allowance for children under eight years of age. The allowance is granted to one of the parents.