World

Portugal to ban employers from contacting employees after work hours

In an effort to promote a healthier work-life balance, Portugal has introduced a new law that prohibits employers from contacting their employees after hours.

As an increased number of people are working from home, it has become more difficult for many people to maintain a healthy balance between their home and work lives. An even higher percentage of people have worked from home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has blurred the boundary lines people may have established previously. Portugal has adopted legislation to change this.

Portugal’s Socialist Party, which is the current party in power, took several measures to combat the issues faced by employees working from home. Not only are employers not allowed to contact employees after hours, but they are also banned from monitoring employees who are working from home. Companies breaking these rules will face fines.

Additionally, companies are required to contribute financially to expenses that have begun as a result of employees switching to remote work. This could include electricity or internet costs, but not water bills. Employees will be able to write these bills off as a work expense.

Parents of children under eight are now allowed to work from home anytime without advance arrangement with their boss. To combat the loneliness that often comes from remote work, companies are required to hold face-to-face meetings at least once every two months.

However, the law applies only to companies with more than 10 employees. There are also exceptions to the law but, in general, remote work is an option that companies must offer. For those that choose this option, provision of the necessary tools to work from home is placed on the company’s shoulders. 

Officials are proud of these advancements and hope it leads to more “digital nomads” working remotely from Portugal. “Telework can be a ‘game changer’ if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages,” Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho said. “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.”

Portugal is one of the first countries to change laws regarding remote work and the first to do so as a direct result of the Covid-19 virus. France created a similar law in 2017 that allowed employees to ignore work emails after hours. 

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: FOX5 VEGAS

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