On 24 May 2022, a new draft amendment to the Labour Code allowing employers to check the sobriety of employees was adopted by the government. Employers have been waiting for a long time for legislation that will unequivocally give them the right to conduct such tests on their own among their staff.
The latest draft maintains for the most part the assumptions of the previous versions of the bill, according to which employers will gain the ability to check employees (as well as persons employed under civil law contracts) for the presence of alcohol and drugs on their own. As a reminder, the most important assumptions of the draft are presented below.
- can be introduced by the employer if it is necessary to ensure the protection of life and health of employees or other persons or the protection of property;
- will be carried out using methods that do not require a laboratory test by means of a device that has a valid document confirming its calibration;
- determine the presence or absence of alcohol or drugs in the employee’s body;
- do not violate the dignity and other personal rights of the employee.
An employer will not be able to allow an employee to work if:
- a sobriety check reveals the presence of alcohol or drugs;
- there is a reasonable suspicion that the employee has come to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs or has consumed alcohol or drugs during work.
The employer or the employee will be able to request that the authorised body conduct a second test.
If the result of the test does not indicate that the employee is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the period in which the employee is not allowed to work will be treated as justified absence with entitlement to remuneration.
If the result of the test indicates the presence of alcohol or drugs, the employer will have to keep this information in the employee’s file for one year. If the employer imposes a disciplinary penalty on the employee for this reason, the information in this respect will be kept until the penalty is declared null and void.
In order to introduce sobriety checks in the company, the employer should:
- introduce in the work regulations / update the work regulations with information on:
– the group (or groups) of employees that will be covered by the check;
– the manner in which the checks will be carried out, including the type of device, time and frequency of checks;
- appoint persons authorised to carry out checks on behalf of the employer and prepare data processing authorisations for them;
- update the information clause.
The bill (together with the provisions on remote working, which we described here), will soon be debated by the Parliament. According to the current version of the bill, the provisions on sobriety checks are to come into force within 14 days of the bill’s announcement.