Portugal passes law criminalising employers contacting staff outside office hours

Nov 14, 2021: Portugal has a new law in place banning employers from contacting their employees outside of working hours.

Euronews quoted Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party as saying that new labor laws passed by the country’s parliament,  were in response to an explosion at home workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new rules, employers could face fines for contacting workers outside of office hours. Companies will also have to help pay for long-distance operating costs, such as higher electricity and internet bills.

But amendments to Portugal’s labor laws have limitations: they will not apply to companies with less than 10 employees.

Experts say the legislation will enable employees in Portugal to strike a balance between their office and domestic affairs. There are also new rules allowing staff to work remotely with children, according to a BBC report.

According to the publication, parents will be allowed to work at home indefinitely without prior approval from their employer until their child reaches the age of eight.

Portugal’s Minister of Labor and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said at a conference in Lisbon last week that “teleeork can be a game changer” but that its development needs to be managed. She also hoped that increasing workers’ protections would attract more foreigners to the country.

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