Paperless but Completely Legal: A Guide to Hiring Remote Workers

Operational, recruitment, and HR processes have all moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these areas have complicated regulations that must be complied with. So, what should you pay attention to when filling in, submitting, and signing documents electronically?

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Q1 last year, more and more companies are undergoing accelerated, and even forced, digitization. These same companies are now learning how to take advantage of legal changes, introduced in Poland on January 1, 2019, which allow contracts to be signed remotely, and employee documentation to be kept electronically. 

Consistency: Digitally Proven

In order to be able to introduce legally binding digital agreements, all the electronic documents must receive a qualified electronic signature (QES) or a qualified company seal by a duly authorized representative. This ensures the consistency and integrity of the documents, as well as the correctness of the dates.

In accordance with eIDAS regulations, an electronic signature cannot be denied legal effect or admissibility as evidence in court proceedings solely on the grounds that the signature is in electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements of a qualified electronic signature. This means advanced signatures, e.g. signatures confirmed with a SMS code, can be used when signing temporary contracts, such as work orders, and signing other documents, e.g. time sheets, protocols, or vacation requests.

Hiring: Remotely and Legally

When a new employee begins working in a company it should be on the basis of a written employment contract. (Labor Code Art. 29 par. 2) Fortunately, since even before the pandemic, it has been possible to submit an electronic declaration of will signed with a qualified electronic signature. (Civil Code Art. 78.1 par. 2)

However, most average people do not have qualified electronic certificates, and it is unreasonable to expect people to acquire them just to sign an employment contract. Again, the regulations (Civil Code Art. 73 par. 1) come to our rescue with a special form for employment contracts. This form, a documentary (electronic) form, is not under pain of nullity, does not have any evidentiary limitations, and may be signed with other electronic signature types, such as advanced (AES).

The fact that an employment contract is valid does not preclude the possibility of breaching labor regulations when signing it. Potential problems arising during National Labor Inspectorate inspections can be avoided by applying Labor Code Art. 29 par. 2, i.e. by concluding an employment contract in a documentary form and signing it with an simple or advanced electronic signature by the employee, and with a qualified electronic signature by the employer. This method has the same legal value  as a written declaration by the parties, including the type, date, and conditions of the contract. Before allowing a new employee to begin work it is important that this kind of electronic agreement is signed.

If you would like to get some experience with signing documents legally with eIDAS compliant e-signatures try our Free Demo.