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Portugal imposes a remote work regime: what do employers need to know?

Written by
pbbr, the exclusive Portuguese member of Ius Laboris.
From 15 January 2021, employers in Portugal must introduce a remote work regime where it is possible to do so. This article explains.

A State of Emergency is in force in Portugal as of 15 January 2021. Among the various measures imposed, those related to the mandatory remote work regime are set out below. 

  • The remote work regime must be adopted regardless of the employment relationship, whenever the employee’s duties allow it and the employees living conditions allow it. 
  • No agreement between the employer and the employee is required. 
  • Regardless of the number of employees or the location of its premises, this obligation applies to all organisations. 
  • Remote work it is not mandatory for employees working in essential services or for employees working in pre-school education facilities in the social and solidarity sector and in education and training in basic and secondary education. 
  • The employer must provide the employee with the necessary equipment and working tools to work remotely. 
  • When this provision is not possible and the employee agrees, remote work can be carried out using their own means (such as computer). The employer is responsible for programming and adapting them so the employee can provide the required work. 
  • Employees working on a remote work regime have the same rights and duties as any other employee, without any reduction in pay, particularly with regards to normal working hours limits and other working conditions, health and safety and remediating any occupational injuries or occupational diseases. Employees working remotely maintain the right to be paid any meal allowance that was already due. 
  • When the adoption of remote work is impossible, the employer should adopt the remaining measures, particularly staggered working hours and organising working times to minimise contact. 
  • Breaches of the obligation to adopt a remote work regime are considered very serious misconduct and may lead to the application of fines varying between EUR 2,040.00 and EUR 61,200.00. 
Márcia Romeira
Associate - Portugal