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01 February 2021
roadmap

Working from home in CEE

This has been a year of huge changes and challenges due to COVID-19. The pandemic has not only had an enormous impact on economies and businesses in general but also on approaches to work. Clearly it has had a revolutionary effect on the world of employment.

This has been a year of huge changes and challenges due to COVID-19. The pandemic has not only had an enormous impact on economies and businesses in general but also on approaches to work. Clearly it has had a revolutionary effect on the world of employment.

Thousands of companies and businesses in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) and around the world needed to adapt to the new circumstances and (i) make the switch from normal office mode to remote mode, (ii) apply methods to enhance work flexibility or (iii) reorganise/rethink their approach to work.

These new trends and developments have raised and continue to raise legal questions about remote work. Below we provide a snapshot of the regulations in CEE by answering the following basic questions:

  1. Is there a specific regulation on remote work in the country?
  2. Is employee consent required to introduce remote work?
  3. Is works council involvement or consent necessary to introduce remote work?
  4. Is an employer required to compensate costs incurred by an employee when working from home?
  5. How difficult is it for companies to introduce remote work in terms of employment law?*
[Use your arrow keys or swipe to scroll through the table.]

Question / Country

Is there a specific regulation on remote work in the country?

Is employee consent required to introduce remote work?

Is works council involvement or consent necessary to introduce remote work?

Is an employer required to compensate costs incurred by an employee when working from home?

How difficult is it for companies to introduce remote work in terms of employment law?*

Austria

No.

Austrian Labour law does not currently provide for specific regulations regarding remote work. However, the Austrian government is considering adopting regulations on remote work. In addition, certain collective bargaining agreements include provisions on remote work.

Yes.

Yes.

The works council needs to be informed if remote work is to be introduced. In addition, the works council and the employer may conclude a shop agreement ("Betriebsvereinbarung") stating the terms and conditions of remote work.

Yes.

The employer is obliged to reimburse costs in connection with remote work unless otherwise agreed between the parties.

2

Bulgaria

Yes.

Remote work is regulated as a specific type of work where the employee regularly works from a location other than the employer's premises and work is performed by using IT equipment. Employment law further regulates remote work / other location-based work for the manufacturing sector or provision of services (i.e. not related to using IT equipment). In both cases the location where the employee works can be their home.

Yes.

In the event of an emergency, the employer may exceptionally order remote work unilaterally for a temporary period.

Yes.

Employee representatives / employees themselves need to be informed and consulted, if remote work / other location-based work is to be introduced at the employer.

No.

However, the employer must provide the necessary equipment, consumables, software, technical maintenance, communication devices (incl. internet connection), etc. at its own cost.

2

Croatia

Yes.

Remote work is regulated as a specific type of work where the employee regularly works from home or another location other than the employer's premises. Although not specifically stated in law, remote work is naturally associated with administrative and similar work that largely depends on the use of IT.

Yes.

Yes.

The works council needs to be informed on a quarterly basis about the number and type of employees working remotely.

No.

A duty to compensate this is not expressly stipulated by law, but in practice it is usually done this way. It is widely believed that employees working remotely should be entitled to reimbursement of all costs "paid" by the employer to employees working at the employer's premises.

3

Czech Republic

Yes.

Remote work is regulated only very briefly, i.e. specifically where an employee works remotely within working hours which they organise themselves.

Yes.

Yes.

The works council needs to be informed and consulted if remote work is to be introduced for many employees.

Yes.

The employer must reimburse actual costs or may provide the employee with monthly lump sum compensation (that approximately reflects the actual costs/expenses).

2

Hungary

Yes.

Remote work is regulated as a specific type of work where the employee regularly works from a location other than the employer's premises and work is performed using IT equipment. It is not equivalent to "work from home", which is not legally defined.

Yes.

During the state of emergency (between March and June 2020), employers were entitled to exceptionally order remote work unilaterally.

Yes.

The works council needs to be informed and consulted if remote work is to be introduced for many employees.

Yes.

A tax-free lump sum compensation will be introduced to cover the costs of "work from home".

2

Poland

Yes.

Remote work is regulated by the Polish Labour Code as teleworking, which means work performed regularly outside the workplace and via electronic means of communication, where the employee provides the employer with the results of work via electronic means of communication. It is not equivalent to "work from home", which is not legally defined under Polish law.

Yes.

Yes.

If there are trade unions:

·  it must be co-determined;

·  the term is 30 days;

·  if no agreement is reached the employer establishes it by itself taking into account arrangements with trade unions.

If there are no trade unions:

·  it must be consulted with the employee representatives;

·  after the consultation the employer establishes it by itself.

In case of an individual request by the employee:

·  there is no need to co-determine it with the trade unions / employee representatives.

Yes.

If the employer provides the necessary equipment:

·      insure the equipment;

·      cover the costs related to installation, service, operation and maintenance;

·      provide the employee with technical assistance and the necessary training in the use of the equipment.

If the employer does not provide the necessary equipment:

·      the employee uses private equipment;

·      the employer and the employee conclude an agreement.

The employee is entitled to a cash equivalent for using private equipment.

4

Romania

Yes.

Romanian legislation contemplates two different concepts that may cover remote work, namely:

1)    work from home, where the place of work can only be set at the employee's domicile/residence; and

2)    telework, where the employee regularly and voluntarily performs work from any place other than the place organised by the employer, at least one day per month, using IT equipment.

Yes.

No.

There is no specific obligation to consult. However, the trade union / employee representatives may be informed and consulted under the general information and consultation framework.

Yes.

The parties may agree otherwise.

3

Slovakia

Yes.

Slovak law regulates
(i) domestic work (work regularly performed at home or at another agreed place) and (ii) teleworking (work regularly performed at home or at another agreed place using information technology). Occasional home office is recognised but not legally defined.

Yes.

The employer may unilaterally order remote work (without consent)
(i) during a state of emergency declared by competent authorities and for two months after its recall, and
(ii) if measures to prevent the emergence and spread of transmittable diseases imposed by the relevant authorities when public health is endangered are in place, and
(iii) if the nature of the work allows it.

No.

Yes.

3

Slovenia

Yes.

Remote work is regulated as a type of work where the employee regularly works from home / a location other than the employer's premises (work-at-home) or as remote work performed via IT equipment (telework). While the law makes a formal distinction between work-at-home and telework, this distinction has no practical impact (i.e. the same rules apply to both).

Yes.

In the event of an emergency the employer may exceptionally order remote work unilaterally.

No.

However, employers must notify the Slovenian Labour Inspectorate (SLI) of each employee who agreed to work remotely. The employer is also obliged to prepare a risk assessment related to the employee's remote place of work. Furthermore, the SLI is empowered to inspect the employee's remote place of work and prohibit remote work in case it deems it is not in line with occupational health and safety requirements.

Yes.

Compensation is tax-free provided that (i) the amount is determined in specific regulations or on the basis of a collective bargaining agreement or an internal act of the employer, (ii) the incurred costs are specific, regular and customary for the performance of the job in question, (iii) it corresponds to actual costs, and (iv) the amount does not exceed 5 % of the employee's monthly salary or 5 % of the Slovenian average monthly salary.

4

 

* (On a scale of 1-5, where 1 is easy and 5 is very difficult).