With the pandemic induced lockdowns, many offices around the world shifted to a work-from-home basis. While many struggled to maintain a healthy work-life balance, Portugal could soon see a change under the new labour laws approved by the country’s parliament.
The Portugal parliament recently approved a new set of laws as a response to the home working because of the pandemic. Under the new rules, employers could face penalties if they contact their workers after working hours.
Meanwhile, employers are forbidden from monitoring their employees while they are working from home. A proposal was made called “right to disconnect”, this would make a legal right to switch off work-related messages and devices outside the working hours but was rejected by the Portuguese MPs.
The rules also mandate the companies to help pay the expenses incurred by the remote working like higher electricity and internet bills. These expenses can be noted as “business expenses” for the company records.
However, these will not apply to companies that have less than 10 employees.
The new rules also include that the employees have the right to work from home until their child turns eight without having to arrange it in advance with their employers.
Furthermore, to tackle the loneliness the rules also included that the companies are expected to organise face-to-face meetings at least every two months.
Portugal was the first European country to alter their remote working rules as a direct result of the Covid 19 pandemic in January this year. The temporary rules made remote working a mandatory option along with a few exceptions. The employers were obliged to provide the necessary tools for work from home.
However, while working from home brought in new issues like unequal access to IT equipment, the government intervened to step in.
Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s Minister of Labour and Social Security said, “the pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated.”
She added that they consider Portugal to be one of the best places in the world for the digital nomads and remote workers to live in. And they want to attract them to the country.