Portugal proposes new reforms to Labor Laws in 2021
Portugal is proposing changes to the labor laws in order to facilitate a better work life balance for its workers . Analysis of various sets of labor data from 2015 to 2019 showed a steady increase in work performed outside of normal business hours. From 2020, with Covid – 19 and the resulting popularity of telework, workers are experiencing longer work hours and an increased demand to be digitally connected Surveys show that post-pandemic, more companies are leaning towards making permanent changes to accommodate telework.
In the wake of this, Portugal is following in the footsteps of France, Spain, Italy, and Belgium in providing workers with a “right to disconnect ” after business hours, without any negative consequences. Under this new amendment, employers are not allowed to contact workers through any digital tool outside the normal working period, violations of which may be considered employee harassment. Further, the law emphasizes that the rest period is intended to allow the worker to recover physically and mentally, to satisfy personal and family needs and interests, as well as to carry out activities that are of social, cultural, or recreational in nature. This law enters into force on the day following its publication in the official gazette.
Another bill which is under review applies to workers working under a telework and distance work regime, within the scope of employment relationships covered by the Labor Code. Distance work and telework have been more clearly defined in this amendment. There are updates to articles regarding the contract regime, requests for flexible working times as well as work instrument provisions. Teleworkers are to be treated equally as face-to-face workers in terms of meal subsidies and other remuneration supplements. Privacy of teleworkers is guaranteed by this law which allows employers to contact workers for any work activity only between 9 am and 7 pm. Any visits to the teleworker’s workplace should be made only after giving advance notice. Any accidents in the teleworker’s workplace will also be considered under the same category as an on-site accident. Any violation of this law is considered an administrative offense or harassment which also constitutes a very serious offense, without prejudice to any disciplinary and criminal responsibilities provided for under the law. This law enters into force 30 days after its published in the official gazette
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