Portugal bans bosses from texting employees outside of work hours

Portugal’s parliament passed a new work-from-home labor law, which stipulates that bosses cannot text employees after hours.

The Portuguese government said the new labor law passed at the end of last week is an adaptation to the trend of more and more people working from home during the Covid-19 era. Portuguese officials say there are many benefits to working from home, but want to adjust the labor law accordingly.

Employees work at an office in Porto, Portugal, on July 20.  Photo: Reuters.

Employees work at an office in Porto, Portugal, on July 20. Photo: Reuters.

Under the new law, Portuguese companies that disturb the privacy of their employees or their families will be fined. The company should avoid contacting employees outside of office hours, except in special cases. At least once every two months, employees should meet with their superiors to stay connected at work.

The new law also requires employers to pay some expenses incurred while working from home for employees, like electricity or Internet bills. However, the country’s parliamentarians voted against a regulation that gives workers the right to turn off communication devices during breaks.

Passing the new labor law is one of the last moves made by the Portuguese parliament as it prepares to dissolve before elections in January next year. Workers’ rights may be one of the most talked about issues in the election.

Ngoc Anh (Follow AP)

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