Portuguese law prohibits employers from communicating with employees outside of working hours

Companies in Portugal will be banned from contacting employees outside of working hours and have to pay extra for their energy and communication costs under one of Europe’s most employee-friendly laws to regulate work. family work.

The law, which will go into effect in the coming weeks, is meant to protect the rights of remote workers and protect their home lives after the pandemic caused a shift to working from home.

Ana Mendes Godinho, the labor minister, told Web Summit in Lisbon this month: “Teleworking has great advantages provided we control the disadvantages. “The pandemic has prompted the need to adjust what already needs to be adjusted.”

The law was one of the last pieces of legislation passed by Portuguese minority socialists government, with the backing of the anti-capitalist Left Bloc, before a political crisis erupted with an election two years ahead of schedule.

Under the new regulations, employers not having “contact” with employees outside of working hours will be considered a serious violation of labor laws, except in urgent cases.

The Farmers’ Union has criticized the new law as an overly hasty response to the pandemic, saying that preventing employers from contacting workers outside of working hours is an “absurd” response to the pandemic. problems caused by the coronavirus.

To protect privacy, companies will also be prohibited from monitoring employees at home in any way. Remote work must be agreed upon between the employer and the employee and is based on contracts that specify the time and place of work, as well as the law. Workers can refuse to work from home without giving a reason, but the company must explain in writing why they cannot accommodate the worker’s request to work remotely.

Parents or carers of children under the age of eight will have the right to work from home without the consent of the employer, as long as their work is suitable for remote working. If both parents are eligible, they are required to alternate periods of housework. However, businesses with fewer than 10 workers will be exempt from the more stringent regulations.

Employers will have to pay the additional costs that remote workers incur from home, including communications, energy and equipment maintenance, as well as any upgrades to connectivity. Their internet needed for work. Some attorneys have expressed concerns about how these costs are calculated.

By law, there should be no discrimination between remote workers and other workers in terms of holidays, occupation, training, health and insurance. Companies will also hold regular face-to-face meetings to help remote workers not feel isolated.

In addition to protecting workers, the new rules are designed to make Portugal more attractive to so-called digital nomads and will add to tax reduction designed to attract tech entrepreneurs and other potential investors.

Mendes Godinho says: “People can live in Portugal and work for the best companies in the world.

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