The outbreak of the coronavirus led to a state where some sectors stood still and others they are doing worse day by day. Along with the anti-crisis shield and the benefits due to employers, tools were introduced to manage work time, namely to change its system and overtime. Such solutions are regulated by two provisions of the anti-crisis shield, with their scope being different.
The first to be shown are art.15x of the Act of March 2, 2019, amended by the Acts of March 31 and April 17, 2020 (hereinafter the “Act”). In an epidemic or emergency status, until you cancel it, you can:
- Change the system or distribution of working time in such a way as to ensure business continuity;
- Instruct employees to work overtime to the extent and to the extent necessary to ensure the continuity of the enterprise’s or station’s operations
They are needed and at the same time convenient tools for flexible work time management without unnecessary formalities that would normally be needed. However, these changes may not be applicable to every type of enterprise, and the catalog is quite limited. The following groups of entrepreneurs got such a convenience:
- Activities ensuring the functioning of critical infrastructure systems and objects – crucial for the security of the state and citizens, and the efficient functioning of public administration bodies, as well as supplies – entities within the meaning of the Crisis Management Act of 26 April 2007.
- Enterprises that are a subcontractor or contractor that are not part of the critical infrastructure but which are necessary to ensure the continuity of the above critical infrastructure
- Enterprises ensuring the operation of gas stations and natural gas stations
- Entities to which the Prime Minister may, on his own initiative or at the request of a voivode, issue orders in accordance with art. 11 paragraph 2
In connection with the epidemic and changed working conditions, the employer will also have to adapt the issues related to the provision of accommodation and meals necessary for the implementation of employee duties. The value of these benefits will not be subject to the basis of the assessment of social security contributions.
In addition, the employer in this extraordinary situation will be forced to refuse to grant the employee any leave, even unpaid. If someone is already there, you can recall that person or postpone the appointment.
The 2.0 anti-crisis shield signed by the President on April 17 also looked more closely at Article 15x. What is the law preparing that has already entered into force in this regard? First, the obligation for employees to remain in readiness and to instruct employees to exercise their right to rest in the place designated by the employer. Secondly is an extension of the catalog of enterprises that can apply flexible hourly solutions for mailny: banking activities, dealing enterprise mining waste disposal and operations in the agri-food sector.
Solutions for a wider group
Also in terms of legal regulations for employees, Article 15zf of the Act is relevant, which applies to a decidedly larger group of entrepreneurs.
It applies to employers who have experienced a decline in turnover as a result of the occurrence of COVID-19 and who cannot be in arrears with the settlement of tax obligations or the payment of any contributions.
- A decrease in turnover by 15%, calculated as the ratio of turnover in any two-month manner compared to the two months of the previous calendar year. 30 consecutive days are also considered a month.
- A decrease in turnover of not less than 25% calculated as a decrease in turnover in any selected month of 2020 compared to the previous year. 30 consecutive days are also considered a month.
If the employer meets the above requirements, it is permissible:
- Limitation of uninterrupted rest to not less than 8 hours and not less than 32 hours, including at least 8 hours of uninterrupted daily rest;
- Conclusion of an agreement on the introduction of an equivalent working time system, however, not more than 12 hours, in a reference period not exceeding 12 months. The extended daily working time is balanced by shorter daily working hours on certain days or days off;
- Conclusion of an agreement on the application of less favorable employment conditions for employees than resulting from employment contracts concluded with these employees, to the extent and for the time agreed in the agreement.
Entities with whom the employer concludes such an agreement are:
- Representative trade union organizations, each of which associates at least 5% of employees employed by the employer,
- Trade unions representative if the employer does not have representative trade union organizations associating at least 5% of employees employed by the employer,
- Company trade union organization – if the employer has one trade union organization
- Employee representatives selected in accordance with the procedure adopted for a given employer – if the employer does not have a trade union organization; in the event of difficulties in the election of employee representatives due to COVID-19, in particular caused by the absence of employees, ongoing downtime or remote work by some employees, this agreement may be concluded with employee representatives selected by employees previously for other purposes provided for in the labor law – it is worth noting, however, that due to the requirements of the anti-crisis shield, which are also found in other regulations, many employers now conclude such agreements with employees, even those working remotely, for which appropriate procedures have already been developed.