Portugal introduces “don’t call me at home” law
A raft of new labour legislation which aims to improve the work-life balance of employers in Portugal now makes it illegal for bosses to contact their staff — without prior permission — outside of working hours.
Under the new laws, employers can face penalties for contacting their staff after working hours. It means staff don’t have to respond to e-mails, text messages or pick up calls once they’ve clocked off.
The new laws also oblige employers to help pay for expenses such as higher electric and internet bills incurred from remote working.
Not only that, the new laws also prohibit companies from monitoring staff when working from home and allow the parents of young children to work form home without making arrangements in advance.
However, the laws are limited to companies with 10 employees for more, meaning some startups and micro enterprises are let off the hook.
The Minister of Labour and Social Security Ana Mendes Godinho said “the pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needed regulating” and added that the new laws should make Portugal a more attractive place for remote workers to relocate.
“We think that Portugal is 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”.
However, digital nomads are often freelance and work for themselves, often in co-working or working from home setups.
Those overseas employees that are attached to companies, tend to work for startups which often have 10 staff or fewer. Also, the law may be difficult to police since staff may feel they need to tacitly waiver the law in an understanding with their bosses, feeling they may or should not refuse without risking their jobs, or risk being treated unfavourably by their bosses compared to their work peers.