The new rules approved by the country’s parliament on Friday are a response to the explosion of home working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
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It will be illegal for your boss to text you after work and companies must contribute to expenses resulting from remote working, under new laws passed in Portugal.
The new rules approved by the country’s parliament on Friday are a response to the explosion of home working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party said.
Under the new laws, companies will have to help pay for expenses incurred by remote working, such as higher electricity and internet bills.
Employers could also face penalties for contacting workers outside of office hours.
The new laws also forbids employers from monitoring their employees while they work at home.
The amendments to Portugal’s labour laws have limits; they will not apply to companies with fewer than ten employees.
According to euronews reports , a proposal to include the “right to disconnect” – the legal right to switch off work-related messages and devices outside office hours – was rejected by Portuguese MPs.
The new rules will come as welcome news for parents of young children, who now have the right to work without having to arrange it in advance with their employers, up until their child turns eight.
The new measures also aim to tackle loneliness, with companies expected to organise face-to-face meetings at least every two months.
Portugal was the first country in Europe to change its remote working rules as a result of the pandemic.
Temporary measures introduced in January of this year made remote working a mandatory option, with a few exceptions. Employers were also obliged to provide the necessary tools for getting the job done at home.
While remote working throughout the pandemic brought new flexibility to many, the need for further intervention became apparent through issues like unequal access to IT equipment.
Speaking at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon last week, Portugal’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said the pandemic has accelerated the need to “regulate what needs to be regulated”.
“Telework can be a ‘game changer’ if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages,” she added.
The creation of a healthy remote working culture could also bring other benefits to Portugal, Mendes Godinho said, by drawing in foreign remote workers.
“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,” she said.
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