Portuguese Law Prohibits Employers From Contacting Workers After Hours

Portugal is the latest country to enact new labor laws that will facilitate a better work-life balance for its citizens. Due to legislation passed just last week, employers in the country can now face penalties if they contact workers through email, call, text, or zoom after normal work hours. These new rules affect companies with more than 10 employees and are meant to counteract the increased onset of burnout in those working from home due to the pandemic.

In addition to respecting employees’ time outside of office hours, employers are also prohibited from monitoring employee activity while they work from home. And, to curb home office costs for their workers, companies are required to help cover expenses accumulated due to remote work, such as increased internet or electricity bills. However, unlike some laws enacted in some other countries, Portugal’s new legislation excludes the “right to disconnect,” which gives employees the legal right to turn off or ignore work-related messages after hours.

Still, these measures do a lot to protect workers’ well-being, with special provisions for parents as well. Those with young children now have the right to work from home without arranging it in advance with their employers, up until their child reaches the age of eight. As the first European country to modify its remote working policies as a direct result of COVID-19 earlier this year, Portugal has made it a point to offer remote work as a mandatory option—allowing a few exceptions—and put the responsibility on employers to provide workers with the necessary tools to continue working from home.

“The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated,” says Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s minister of labour and social security. “Telework can be a ‘game changer' if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages.” And, in addition to making things better and facilitating a healthier remote work culture for its own citizens, the government also sees these changes as an opportunity to bring new residents to Portuguese soil. “We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and remote workers to choose to live in,” Godinho continues, “we want to attract them to Portugal.”

Portugal passed a law that prohibits employers from contacting employees after work hours.

h/t: [Boing Boing]

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Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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