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Remote work in the TSL industry: what changed after April 7

>A few years ago, remote work in the TSL (transport, shipping, logistics) sector seemed to be an abstract notion. However, the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing restrictions forced companies to be flexible and implement new solutions that changed the labour market forever. The Act amending the existing provisions of the Labor Code was published on December 1, 2022. However, the regulations on remote work in the transport, shipping and logistics sector came into force on April 7, 2023. What obligations have been imposed on employers? How many days of remote work in a calendar year are employees entitled to? Read on to find out. 

New obligations for employers 

One of the main aspects of the amendment to the regulations was the issue of employer obligations. The employer is now required to prepare remote work regulations and to cover certain costs related to employees working remotely. The employer must: 

  • provide the employee working remotely with materials and work tools, including technical devices necessary to perform remote work 
  • provide the employee working remotely with the installation, service and maintenance of work tools, including technical devices, necessary to perform remote work, or cover the necessary costs related to the installation, service, operation and maintenance of work tools 
  • cover the costs of electricity and telecommunications services necessary to perform remote work 
  • cover other costs directly related to the performance of remote work, if the reimbursement of such costs is specified in the agreement 

The scope of the employer’s financial liability is very wide and includes, among others, documented costs of using a private phone by the employee for the purposes of remote work. 

The procedure for determining the rules of remote work after April 7 

The rules of remote work must be defined in an agreement between the employer and the trade union organization. In the absence of an agreement within 30 days, these rules should be set out in the remote work regulations. The new regulations allow employees to work remotely both full-time and part-time (hybrid system). The place of remote work is indicated by the employee, but it must be agreed with the employer. 

The work location may be changed by concluding an amending agreement, if both parties agree, or by amending notice, if the employer wants to change the working conditions. Thus, if an employee performs remote work from home, but also wants to perform it while traveling to another place, they must conclude an appropriate agreement with their employer in this regard. The employer also has the right to order remote work during states of emergency, including during an epidemic, and for three months after their end. 

Remote work in the TSL industry and the employment contract 

If remote work in the TSL industry is introduced during the term of the employment contract, both parties have the right to submit a request to end remote work and return to the previous conditions. The deadline for returning to the previous conditions cannot be longer than 30 days from the date the request is received. In the absence of an agreement, the return to the previous conditions takes place after 30 days from the date the request is received. 

Occasional remote work after April 7th 

Occasional remote work has also been introduced in addition to regular and part-time remote work. This form of remote work differs from others in that the employer is not required to reimburse the employee for the costs associated with performing work outside the place of employment. Each employee is entitled to 24 days of occasional remote work in a calendar year. To take advantage of this option, the employee needs to send the request form to the employer in electronic or paper version. 

Who can take advantage of occasional remote work? 

The amendment to the Act does not specify a closed list of situations in which an employee may undertake remote work. However, there are certain criteria that make it impossible to engage in this form of work, such as work related to chemical, biological or radioactive agents that are harmful to health. 

How do you apply for occasional remote work? 

The employee is required to submit an occasional remote work written request, which should include information such as the anticipated dates of remote work and the location where the work is to be performed. The employer should review the request and respond to it within 3 working days. 

New opportunities for TSL employees 

The change in regulations means new opportunities for TSL employees, opening the door to a more flexible form of work. Remote work can contribute to improving work life balance, as well as enable tasks to be delegated to employees who, for various reasons, cannot be physically present at the workplace. The occasional remote work option can be particularly beneficial for employees who need to temporarily move their workplace for personal reasons. 

Challenges for the transport, forwarding and logistics sector 

Although the new regulations bring many benefits to employees, they also pose some challenges for the TSL sector. First of all, employers have to adapt to the new requirements, such as preparing remote work regulations and covering costs related to remote work. When introducing changes, it is also necessary to ensure that all processes comply with the new regulations. Employers also have to face new challenges, such as data security on employees’ remote devices, or even appropriate forms of communication between employees. 

Remote work in the TSL industry after April 7: a summary 

  • remote work in the TSL industry may be regular or part-time 
  • the employer must cover the costs of remote work 
  • the employee is entitled to 24 calendar days of occasional remote work, which does not impose any financial obligations on the employer 
  • the employer may, in special cases, require that an employee work remotely 

The amendment to the regulations on remote work has introduced many changes to the TSL sector. Employees now have more flexibility in choosing the form of work, which can contribute to improving the quality of their professional and private lives. However, for employers, these changes entail the need to adapt to new responsibilities and ensure that company processes are compliant with the new regulations. The coming months will show whether the change in regulations, effective April 7, will have a real impact on the TSL industry.