Remote workers in Portugal could see a healthier work-life balance under new labor laws approved by the country’s parliament, according to an Associated Press story, which reported new rules respond to the explosion remote working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the new rules, employers could face penalties for contacting workers outside of office hours, the AP’s story states. Companies also will have to help pay for expenses incurred by remote working, such as higher electricity and internet bills.
What will change with the new rules: Companies can face fines for contacting workers outside of their normal working hours; and employers are forbidden from monitoring their employees while they work at home.
However, a proposal to include the “right to disconnect” – the legal right to switch off work-related messages and devices outside office hours – was rejected.
Companies also must pay expenses workers incur as a result of switching to remote working. This can include bills for electricity or internet. Employers can write off these costs as a business expense.
Measures to tackle loneliness are included in the remote working rules, with companies expected to organize face-to-face meetings at least every two months.