Employers in Portugal could face penalties for contacting workers outside of office hours and monitoring employees while they work at home, according to new labor laws approved by the parliament.
The country’s ruling Socialist Party said that these policies are a response to the surge of home working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the amended law, companies are also obligated to help pay for remote work expenses such as electricity and internet bills.
Additionally, parents of young children now have the right to work from home without arranging it in advance with their employers, up until their child turns eight years old.
Loneliness and isolation issues are also discussed in the amendment with companies now expected to organize face-to-face meetings at least every two months.
Howeverm the amendments to Portugal’s labor laws have limits. The new rules will not be applied to companies with fewer than ten employees.
Members of the parliament also rejected the inclusion of the “right to disconnect”, or the right to switch off work-related messages and devices outside office hours, in the labor laws.