Portugal prohibits by law companies from contacting workers outside of working hours

Correspondent in Lisbon



Portugal the new teleworking law is seasoned with attached provisions that protect employees … and the most prominent measure has to do with the prohibition of companies from contacting their staff outside the working hours.

As the performance of duties at home has become more and more widespread, the Parliament it has decided to take action in this regard and legislate on the matter before its dissolution to call early legislative elections on January 30.

The votes of the socialist bench and the Left Block They served to carry out the rule, which enables workers to denounce their bosses in case of receiving messages at untimely hours.

It is the “right to disconnect”, applicable not only to those who work remotely but to all employees, even those who appear at the company headquarters.

Of course, an exception is established since it contemplates medium and large companies, but not the most little. We are talking about those with one to 10 employees, who are outside the circumscribed area.

And what is the reason for such consideration? Well, because it is understood that those smaller companies may need, at certain times, to contact employees since, if they are few, it may become essential. The others must respect by law the rest and / or vacation time of the workers.

This new Labour code Therefore, it extends its validity to a large majority, with the exception of “force majeure”. In other words, an updated version of the classic ‘if-there-is-no-more-remedy’: in short, unforeseen or urgent situations.

In any case, legal mechanisms to defend themselves are made available to the individuals at stake in the event of a violation of the law. regulation. The weapon is none other than to file a complaint, with the guarantee of constituting “a serious administrative offense”, which would imply fines ranging between the amounts of 612 euros (the least) and 9,690, at the opposite extreme.

The final sanction will depend on two factors, which are the volume of business of the company and the degree of culpability. A piece of information, the latter, that enters the field of a certain interpretative ambiguity.

Legal changes are effective as of December 1, including the right to all employees with young children to work from home without having to previously agree with their boss, at least until the child in question was eight years old.

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