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In Portugal, bosses will face criminal charges if they call workers after hours

In Portugal, bosses will face criminal charges if they call workers after hours

In an attempt to promote a healthier work-life balance, Portugal has introduced a new labour law that makes it punishable for bosses to call or text employees after work hours. Portugal's ruling Socialist Party said that the new rules are a response to the work-from-home culture caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Less privacy and more interference have been a common complaint from remote workers across the world since the beginning of the pandemic.

The new law states that employers will be fined for contacting the workers after office hours. Employers are also banned from monitoring workers when they are working from home. However, a proposal to grant legal right to switch off work-related messages and devices outside office hours was rejected, reported Euronews.

Parents now have a right to work from home without having to arrange it in advance until their child turns eight years old.

Another amendment states that companies will have to pay expenses like higher electricity bills and internet bills caused by remote working. Employers can document these costs as a business expense. But it is not applicable to companies with less than 10 employees.

In January 2021, Portugal had introduced temporary rules to help the population cope with the pandemic. The government had made remote working a mandatory option for most companies and positions. Now, the new amendments have made face-to-face meetings at least every two months as a measure to tackle loneliness, reported Euronews.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, said that telework can be a game-changer if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages. "The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated." She added that Portugal is one of the best places in the world for digital nomads and the government wants to attract remote workers to the country.

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