Coronavirus – guidelines for employers

The risk of contracting coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) disease causes a great deal of uncertainty among employers, who analyse what rights and responsibilities they have in relation to the threat of the virus spread. The state authorities enact new regulations to support employers.

Below we present the most important regulations and guidelines by the state authorities on coronavirus-related issues.

  1. Regulation of the Minister of Health of 27 February 2020 on SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection

    From 28 February 2020, the provisions of the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 27 February 2020 on the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infection have been in force. Under the Regulation, with reference to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection applicable are provisions on prevention and control of infections and infectious diseases among humans.

  1. Guidelines of the National Labour Inspectorate

    Referring to the doubts regarding the application of relevant labour law provisions in the event of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection, the National Labour Inspectorate has prepared guidelines that aim at resolving doubts concerning this matter.

  1. Government bill on special measures for preventing, contacting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and emergencies caused by them”

    On 1 March 2020, a bill on extraordinary measures for preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and emergencies caused by them was submitted to the Sejm with the aim of defining the principles and procedures for preventing the infection and spread of the infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 among humans.

Most vital conclusions stemming from the above-mentioned regulations and guidelines are as follows:

  • the decision of the competent state sanitary inspector, issued in accordance with the provisions on controlling infectious diseases – in the event of isolation of an employee for reasons indicated in these provisions (e.g. employee quarantine due to a suspected coronavirus infection), will constitute a justification for the employee’s absence from work,
  • the decision of the competent state sanitary inspector will be the basis for payment of a sick pay and sickness benefit,
  • the employer is not permitted to impose on the employee an obligation to take their leave in connection with the employee’s return to work after a stay in the coronavirus danger zone,
  • the employer, who learns that the employee stayed within an area where they may have been infected with a coronavirus, may offer the employee remote work,
  • the employer is not entitled to independently assess the employee’s health and a refusal to permit the employee to perform work due to a potential virus infection, may expose the employer to allegations of harassment or mobbing,
  • if the employee is sent on a business trip to coronavirus danger zone, the employee has the right to refuse to carry out such an obligation due to an imminent threat to their life or health, and the risk of spreading the disease in the country, i.e. exposing other people to danger (however, if the employee decides to go to endangered areas, the employer should assess the risk associated with such a trip and provide the employee with appropriate risk mitigation measures related to the possibility of contracting a virus and take actions to minimize a potential risk).

Under the bill on extraordinary measures for preventing, counteracting and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases and emergencies caused by them:

  • the employer has the right to instruct the employee to perform their tasks at a certain time at
    home – the so-called home office,
  • the employee (insured employee) has the right to receive additional carer’s allowance for parents who are released from the performance of work due to the need to take care of their child, for a period not exceeding 14 days, in the event where a crèche, children’s club, kindergarten or school, which the child attends, is closed.

How can we be of help?

Our Law Firm offers complex advice on all aspects of the labour law. We have long track record of providing professional legal advisory services in that area to biggest Polish and foreign entrepreneurs. Please contact us if you require legal advice or have questions with reference to the above.

Information contained in this publication is of general nature and does not relate to the situation of a particular company. Due to frequent changes in Polish legislation, we kindly request that you make sure that on the day you are reading this publication the information contained therein is still up to date. We suggest that you consult our advisers before making any decisions.