Portugal: Bosses banned from texting staff after-hours

This is one of the changes being introduced to improve work-life balance as more people work from home.

Portugal: Bosses banned from texting staff after-hours
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A new rule in Portugal has banned employers from texting and emailing their staff outside working hours. The move is part of new measures being put in place to improve work-life balance as more people in the country work from home.

Right to Rest

Under the new policy, companies with a staff-strength of 10 and above could be slapped with fines if they contact staff during after-hours.

New rules have also been introduced allowing staff with children to work remotely. Parents can now work at home indefinitely without seeking prior approval from their employers until their child turns eight.

On top of all that, companies could be made to contribute to higher household bills from being home-based, such as energy and internet costs.

The new regulation also includes measures to address the isolation remote workers can feel, with companies expected to organize regular face-to-face meetings.

However, not all elements of the package was approved by Portugal's parliament. For instance, the house kicked against the ‘right to disconnect’ which sought to allow staff to turn off all work devices out of hours.

Attracting Digital Nomads

Portugal's Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, told a conference in Lisbon last week that although there is so much potential in teleworking, its growth needs to be regulated.

She also hoped the enhanced labour protections would attract more foreigners to the country.

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.

Portugal already has a temporary resident visa scheme designed to attract entrepreneurs and freelancers. The island of Madeira has a digital nomad village, with free wifi and office desk facilities.

Several other countries including Barbados and Croatia have introduced similar schemes to attract this crop of teleworkers.

Thanks to COVID, 2020 has been the worst year for mental health since World War Two Thanks to COVID, 2020 has been the worst year for mental health since World War Two