[Portugal] ‘Game changer’ remote work law approved

[Portugal] ‘Game changer’ remote work law approved
10 Nov 2021

Portugal’s could enjoy a healthier work-life balance following the implementation of new labour laws approved by the country's parliament, Euronews reports.

Approved on November 5, the new rules are a reaction to the sudden leap in the frequency of home working resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Portugal's ruling Socialist Party said.

Under the new rules, employers could reportedly face penalties for contacting workers outside regular office hours. Companies will also have to contribute towards expenses incurred by remote working, such as higher electricity and internet bills.

The amendments to Portugal's labour laws do have limits; they will not apply to companies with fewer than ten employees.

The new rules state that companies can now face fines for contacting workers outside of their normal working hours.

Employers are also forbidden from monitoring employees while they work from home.

A proposal to include the "right to disconnect" - the legal right to turn off work-related messages and devices outside office hours - was rejected by Portuguese MPs.

Companies must also now pay towards expenses that workers have incurred as a result of switching to remote working. This may include bills for electricity or internet, but not water. Employers can write off these costs as a business expense.

The new rules are also good news for parents of young children who now have the right to work from home without having to arrange it in advance with their employers until a child reaches eight years old.

Additionally, measures to tackle loneliness are included in the remote working rules. Companies must arrange face-to-face meetings at least every two months.

Portugal was the first European country to alter its remote working rules as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2021.

The temporary rules made remote working a mandatory option - with some exceptions - and obliged employers to provide the necessary tools for getting the job done at home.

Portugal's Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, told the Web Summit conference in Lisbon last week that remote working during the global pandemic had brought new flexibility but also highlighted issues such as unequal access to IT equipment and demonstrated the need for the government to step in.

"The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated," she said.

"Telework can be a 'game changer' if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages".

Building a healthy remote working culture could also bring other benefits to Portugal, Ms Mendes Godinho said, in the shape of foreign remote workers looking for a change of scene.

"We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and remote workers to choose to live in, we want to attract them to Portugal," the minister told the Web Summit audience.


Source: Euronews

Portugal’s could enjoy a healthier work-life balance following the implementation of new labour laws approved by the country's parliament, Euronews reports.

Approved on November 5, the new rules are a reaction to the sudden leap in the frequency of home working resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Portugal's ruling Socialist Party said.

Under the new rules, employers could reportedly face penalties for contacting workers outside regular office hours. Companies will also have to contribute towards expenses incurred by remote working, such as higher electricity and internet bills.

The amendments to Portugal's labour laws do have limits; they will not apply to companies with fewer than ten employees.

The new rules state that companies can now face fines for contacting workers outside of their normal working hours.

Employers are also forbidden from monitoring employees while they work from home.

A proposal to include the "right to disconnect" - the legal right to turn off work-related messages and devices outside office hours - was rejected by Portuguese MPs.

Companies must also now pay towards expenses that workers have incurred as a result of switching to remote working. This may include bills for electricity or internet, but not water. Employers can write off these costs as a business expense.

The new rules are also good news for parents of young children who now have the right to work from home without having to arrange it in advance with their employers until a child reaches eight years old.

Additionally, measures to tackle loneliness are included in the remote working rules. Companies must arrange face-to-face meetings at least every two months.

Portugal was the first European country to alter its remote working rules as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2021.

The temporary rules made remote working a mandatory option - with some exceptions - and obliged employers to provide the necessary tools for getting the job done at home.

Portugal's Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, told the Web Summit conference in Lisbon last week that remote working during the global pandemic had brought new flexibility but also highlighted issues such as unequal access to IT equipment and demonstrated the need for the government to step in.

"The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated," she said.

"Telework can be a 'game changer' if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages".

Building a healthy remote working culture could also bring other benefits to Portugal, Ms Mendes Godinho said, in the shape of foreign remote workers looking for a change of scene.

"We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and remote workers to choose to live in, we want to attract them to Portugal," the minister told the Web Summit audience.


Source: Euronews

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