A law passed by the Portuguese parliament makes it illegal for employers to contact employees after work hours, a step the country has made to promote healthier work-life balance amid a surge of home workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
In legislation approved Friday, employers could face financial penalties for contacting employees outside of work hours, including increased gas and electricity bills, according to Portugal’s Socialist Party government.
The law is part of an effort to appeal to remote workers coming to Portugal.
“The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated,” Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s minister of Labor and Social Security, said during a tech conference in Lisbon last week.
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“Telework can be a ‘game changer’ if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages. 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.”
Additional rules are also set to be implemented to bolster workers from home, according to the Associated Press. Those include one to offset loneliness, with a mandatory face-to-face meeting with a boss every few months, and another to assist parents of young children, giving them the right to work from home with kids up to 8 years old without having to arrange in advance with employers
Not all the proposals were passed through parliament. A “right to disconnect” law giving workers the ability to switch off work devices was not approved.
Contributing: The Associated Press.