9.12.2022 Labour law

[Poland] Changes to employee medical examinations. Will mandatory periodic examinations return in 2023?

A draft Ordinance of the Minister of Health is to revise the regulations on the medical examination of employees. It will, among other things, re-impose the obligation to conduct periodic examinations suspended for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Health has drafted an amendment modifying the current regulation on the medical examination of employees, the scope of preventive health care for employees and medical certificates issued for the purposes provided for in the Labour Code. In addition, the government is considering abolishing the epidemic threat state at the beginning of next year, which will mean the return of the obligation to conduct periodic examinations.

Amendment of the Ordinance – updating the content

On 7 November, the amending Ordinance was published on the website of the Government Legislation Centre and it provides for the making several changes to update the current content, as some of the institutions mentioned in the legislation no longer exist.

In addition, the proposed Ordinance assumes that examination referrals issued before the date of its entry into force will remain valid for the period for which they were issued.

The Ordinance is expected to enter into force 14 days after its publication in the Journal of Laws. The planned changes will not affect the activities of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, as they are of an updating nature.

State of epidemic threat – possible lifting in 2023

The Council of Ministers Ordinance amending the Ordinance on the Establishment of Certain Restrictions, Orders and Prohibitions in Connection with the Occurrence of a State of Epidemic Threat extends the requirement to wear masks in hospitals and pharmacies until 31 December 2022 in connection with the state of epidemic threat in force from 16 May 2022.

According to the government’s announcement, the epidemic threat state could be lifted on 1 January 2023.

If this happens, it is worth noting that the employer and the employee are both obliged to assume the suspended duties immediately and perform them within a period of no more than 180 days from the date of the cancellation of the state in question. This applies to periodic examinations of employees, as the suspension does not apply to preliminary examinations and check-ups.

There will not be much time, so it is worth considering starting to catch up on unrequested examinations now.

Read also: COVID-19 infection – when can it be considered an occupational disease?

Periodic examinations – when should they be done?

It is important to note that referrals for periodic examinations are issued by employers and that the employers cover the cost of these examinations.

Periodic examinations shall be subject to:

  • cyclically to all employed workers within the time limits set by the occupational physician, as indicated in the certificate of no work contraindications,
  • workers exposed to substances and carcinogens or fibrous dusts also after they have ceased to be exposed to those substances, agents, or dusts and after termination of their employment, if they request such examinations.

An employer who neglects the obligation to order periodic examinations and allows an employee without up-to-date examinations to work faces a fine for violation of health and safety rules of an amount between PLN 1 000 and PLN 30 000.

Read also: Foreign sick leave – does it entitle to sick pay?

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