It is now illegal in Portugal for a company to contact an employee outside of working hours.
According to CNN in the United States and the British daily Independent on the 11th (local time), the Portuguese Parliament passed this bill on the 5th and it came into effect the next day, the 6th.
According to this, it is legally prohibited for the company to contact non-working employees by phone, text message, or e-mail, except in some exceptional circumstances.
The bill includes provisions that “employers must respect the privacy of their employees” and that companies can be fined for violations.
The Portuguese Socialist Party government said the law reflects a trend toward an increase in telecommuting after the COVID-19 pandemic.
For this purpose, the company is required to compensate for work-related expenses incurred while working from home, such as electricity and internet charges.
In addition, since workers may feel alienated, the company must arrange face-to-face meetings at least once every two months.
Employees with children also have the legal right to work from home until the child turns eight.
“If you take advantage of the advantages and hide the disadvantages, telecommuting can become a ‘game changer’ (a person or event that changes existing trends),” said Anna Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s Minister of Labor and Social Security, who planned the bill.
This law only applies to businesses with 10 or more employees.
Meanwhile, recently, Portugal is focusing on attracting ‘digital nomads’, overseas workers who work on the Internet and laptops without having to go to the office, CNN reported.
“I see Portugal as the best place to live for digital nomads and remote workers from all over the world,” Godinho said.
France has already enacted this ‘right to disconnect’ in 2017, recognizing workers’ right to not respond to company communications outside of business hours.
(Photo = Getty Image Bank, Yonhap News)