The Parliament of Portugal has passed a battery of new work-related laws in response to changes in the labor market that have occurred since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them are measures related to teleworking, with several that regulate the implementation of additional protection measures to those already in place for workers who carry out their tasks outside their company’s facilities. And others to improve the reconciliation of work and family life of workers, such as the prohibition of companies with more than 10 employees to contact their employees outside of working hours.
According to the BBC, this regulation, in addition to this prohibition, establishes that companies that contact by any means will be sanctioned with fines, from an SMS or an email message to a call to companies that disturb their workers within hours in which they have to be enjoying their leisure time or attending to their family responsibilities. Of course, as often happens in these cases, bosses will be able to contact their employees in exceptional cases. That is, only if there is a really serious problem.
However, the workers have not achieved a complete victory in this regard, since there was another proposal that advocated that workers could turn off their professional communication systems when they were not at work, which was finally rejected in a vote in parliament. . On the other hand, there are also new regulations that allow workers with children to work remotely. In these cases, parents will be able to work remotely indefinitely without prior approval from their employers until their children are eight years old.
In addition, with these new laws, companies have to compensate their staff for expenses related to remote work they perform, such as those related to electricity or Internet connection. In addition, workers must meet in person with their superiors to prevent remote workers from feeling isolated, something they will have to do at least every two months.
The Minister of Labor and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, stated at a press conference in Lisbon last week that teleworking can be a shock to the world of work, but that if growth needs to be accompanied by regulation. In addition, Godinho also hopes that the improvement of the protections that the worker has will attract more foreign workers to the country, which already has facilities, such as a temporary residence visa for entrepreneurs and freelancers, and facilities for those known as digital nomads in various areas, such as Madeira.