The lifting of the state of epidemic threat as of July 1, 2023 introduces numerous changes affecting both employers and employees. As a result of this change, certain regulations introduced by the Act of March 2, 2020, commonly known as the COVID special act, will be repealed. In the following text, we will outline the most important changes that await us in a few days.
Table of Contents
- Lifting the state of epidemic threat. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) trainings (BHP)
- Preventive examinations
- The return of “regular” severance pay and compensations limits
- Foreigners – continuation of legal employment
- Lifting the state of epidemic threat. What steps should an employer take?
- Do we return to “normalcy” after lifting the state of epidemic threat?
Lifting the state of epidemic threat. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) trainings (BHP)
After July 1, 2023, employers will have only 60 days to conduct overdue periodic training in the field of occupational health and safety (OHS). Starting from July 1, 2023, initial OHS training will be required to be conducted in-person. We would like to remind you that allowing an employee to work without a current certificate issued in connection with preliminary, periodic, or control examinations is an offense punishable by a fine ranging from 1000 to 30,000 PLN.
Starting from July 1, 2023, employers will no longer be allowed to exempt individuals applying for administrative or office positions, who already possess a current medical certificate stating their fitness to work under such conditions, from undergoing initial medical examinations. All individuals being hired for employment must undergo initial medical examinations. This regulation ensures that all new employees are evaluated for their medical suitability for the specific job requirements, regardless of their prior medical certificates.
The return of “regular” severance pay and compensations limits
From July 1, 2023, employers will not be allowed to pay severance pay or compensation in connection with the termination of an employment contract at a lower amount than other employers. This regulation ensures that employees are entitled to receive fair and equal treatment when it comes to severance pay or compensation, regardless of their employer. It aims to prevent unfair practices and ensure that employees are appropriately compensated in cases of contract termination.
Foreigners – continuation of legal employment
Lifting the state of epidemic threat from July 1, 2023, means that employers need to ensure the legality of employing foreign workers. The validity period of work permits, which were extended under the special COVID act, expires on July 31, 2023.
IMPORTANT: If employers plan to continue employing foreign workers, they must submit the appropriate applications for obtaining work permits by the end of July.
Furthermore, employers must verify the legality of the residence of the employed foreigners. Many of them have benefited from a similar extension of the validity of temporary residence permits and national visas. As of July 31, 2023, these extensions will expire. Therefore, foreign workers should submit applications for legalizing their stay in Poland by the end of July 2023 at the latest.
Lifting the state of epidemic threat. What steps should an employer take?
The lifting of the state of epidemic threat entails new obligations for employers. These include:
- Verification of medical certificates held by occupational health physicians and identification of a group of employees who need to undergo periodic medical examinations.
- Verification of the legality of employment and residence for foreign workers (it is important for employers to keep in their personnel files documents that legalize the work and residence of foreign employees in Poland).
- Taking steps related to further legalization of the employment of foreign workers.
- If it is determined that any foreign employee remains in Poland illegally after July 31, 2023, the employer should promptly terminate their employment contract.
- Ensuring the completion of all overdue occupational health and safety (OHS) training.
These steps are important for employers to comply with legal requirements and maintain a safe and lawful working environment.
Do we return to “normalcy” after lifting the state of epidemic threat?
Lifting the state of epidemic threat from July 1, 2023, entails the repeal of certain regulations introduced by the COVID special act. This brings significant changes for employers and employees. Returning to “normalcy” means the need to adapt to new regulations, which, in many aspects, differ from those that were in place during the state of epidemic threat.