Portugal makes it illegal for bosses to text employees after work in new remote work laws

The new rules passed by the country’s parliament on Friday are in response to the home-working explosion as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

Portuguese employers are also required to provide the tools necessary to get work done at home (

Image: Getty Images / Maskot)

It is illegal for your boss to text you after work and companies must share the costs of working remotely under new laws in Portugal.

The new rules passed by the country’s parliament on Friday are in response to the home working explosion as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party said.

According to the new laws, companies have to co-finance the expenses caused by remote work such as higher electricity and internet bills.

Employers could also face sanctions for contacting employees outside of office hours.

The new law also prohibits employers from monitoring their employees while they are working at home.

The changes in Portuguese labor laws have limits; they do not apply to companies with fewer than ten employees.

Corresponding euronews reports , a proposal to include the “right to be interrupted” – the legal right to turn off work-related messages and equipment outside of office hours – was rejected by Portuguese MEPs.

Portugal was the first country in Europe to change its rules on remote working due to the pandemic
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Getty Images / iStockphoto)

The new regulations will be welcome news for parents of young children, who now have the right to work until their child turns eight without prior consultation with their employer.

The new measures also aim to combat loneliness, with companies expected to organize face-to-face meetings at least every two months.

Portugal was the first country in Europe to change its rules on remote working due to the pandemic.

Temporary measures introduced in January of this year made remote work compulsory with a few exceptions. Employers were also required to provide the tools necessary to get work done at home.

While remote working provided new flexibility for many during the pandemic, the need for further intervention was highlighted by issues such as unequal access to IT equipment.

Portugal’s Minister of Labor and Social Security Ana Mendes Godinho said at the Web Summit Conference in Lisbon last week that the pandemic had accelerated the need to “regulate what needs to be regulated”.

“Teleworking can be a game changer if we get the benefits and reduce the drawbacks,” she added.

Creating a healthy teleworking culture could also bring other benefits to Portugal, Mendes Godinho said, by attracting foreign teleworkers.

“We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and teleworkers to live. We want to attract them to Portugal,” she said.

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