COVID-19: Draft special-purpose act on tackling COVID-19 and the consequences for employers and employees

We would like to inform that on 1 March, a governmental draft Act on extraordinary solutions to prevent, counteract and combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases as well as crisis situations caused thereby was submitted to the Sejm (Sejm paper No. 265).

You can follow the legislative process under the following link.

As we read in the draft’s substantiation, in connection with the threat of the spread of SARS CoV-2 coronavirus infections, there is a need to introduce extraordinary solutions which will allow to take actions minimising the threat to public health, and which are supplementary to the basic regulations contained in particular in the Act of 5 December 2008 on preventing and combating infections and infectious diseases in humans (Journal of Laws from 2019, item 1239, as amended). The new coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome, while the disease associated with it is referred to as COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 was identified at the end of 2019 and is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

The bill lays down, in particular, the principles and procedures for preventing and combating the infection and spread of the infectious disease in humans caused by SARS-CoV-2, including the principles and procedures for taking anti-epidemic and preventive measures so as to inactivate the sources of infection and to cut off the ways in which the disease spreads, etc.

From the point of view of labour law, it is crucial to, among others, introduce remote work for a fixed period (Article 3). In the event that the above-mentioned draft is adopted in its current form, the employer will obtain a legal basis for introducing remote work to the workplace in order to prevent a coronavirus infection. As we understand it, the employer should be entitled to introduce remote work also in the case of suspicion of other infectious diseases, as suggested by the name of the proposed bill, something which currently does not arise out of its content.

In the previous article we pointed out to the need to regulate the issue of remote work.

In addition, regulations have been introduced in order to ensure that parents forced to stay at home due to the need to take care of a child, for a period not longer than 14 days, in the event that a nursery, children’s club, kindergarten or school attended by the child gets closed, have the right to receive an additional attendance allowance (Article 4).

Should the draft law be passed, we will discuss the legal consequences of the changes it introduces.

We are at your disposal for any further questions.