Portugal passes law that bans employers from contacting workers after work

Portugal recently introduced legislation that bans employers from contacting workers outside of their contracted office hours.

The law, which was passed in the country’s parliament last Friday, is a response to some of the problems that have resulted from remote working, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under the new law, companies could face fines for contacting employees outside of their normal working hours. Employers will also have to help pay for expenses incurred by remote working such as higher electricity and internet bills.

In an effort to tackle the loneliness that comes with remote working, companies are expected to organise face-to-face meetings at least every two months.

Also, parents with young children now have the right to work from home without having to arrange it in advance with their employers, until their child turns eight years old.

But the measures under the new law do not apply to companies with less than 10 employees. 

The law was passed by Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party. Portugal’s Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho told journalists that the change was needed. 

“The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated,” she said. “Telework can be a ‘game changer’ if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages”.

Godinho said she hopes the new law will also attract foreign remote workers to the country.