Factsheet for case PT-2020-13/307 – Updated – measures in Portugal
|Country||Portugal , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 22 March 2020 – 31 December 2021|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Teleworking arrangements, remote working
|Author||Heloisa Perista and Maria da Paz Campos Lima (CESIS) and Eurofound|
|Case created||06 April 2020 (updated 20 July 2021)|
Decree Law No. 2-A/2020 of 20 March, which proceed with the state of emergency concerning COVID-19 pandemic declared on 18 March 2020, established in article 6 that it is mandatory to adopt the teleworking regime, regardless of the employment relationship, whenever the functions concerned will allow it.
It altered Decree Law No. 10-A/2020 of 13 March, setting the first exceptional and temporary measures concerning COVID-19 pandemic, set new rules concerning teleworking (article 29).
With the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 40-A/2020, teleworking is mandatory only when requested by the worker in the following situations, regardless of the employment relationship and whenever the functions allow: specific health conditions of the worker; in specific situations of support to children under 12 years of age; and when workplaces or organisation of work do not ensure safety.
The Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 51-A/2020 that came into force in July extended the period of validity of these regulations.
The Resolution of the Council of Ministers 55-A/2020 of 31 July, allowed in Article 4 the implementation of turnover between teleworking regime and the work performed in the usual workplace, daily or weekly, with differentiated times for entry and exit or different times for breaks and meals (paragraph 4); under the employer prerogative to change the organization of working time provided for in applicable legislation (paragraph 5).
The Resolution of the Council of Ministers 70-A/2020 established that the provisions of article 4 regulating teleworking and organization of work, provided for in paragraph 4 are mandatory in the Metropolitan Areas of Lisbon and Porto, unless they are manifestly impracticable (paragraph 5).
Decree Decree-Law 79-A/2020, following the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 70-A/2020 of 11 September, accounting for the return of most Portuguese to work and the start of the school year, leading to higher levels of contact and a larger number of social interactions, as well as of people on the move, especially in areas with a higher population density and commuting, establishes rules for risk mitigation applying in workplaces with 50 or more workers in the territorial areas, where the epidemiological situation justifies to be defined by the government (article 2). They refer mainly to the terms and conditions of implementation of staggered clock-in and clock-out times and alternating breaks ( see case PT-2020-40/1273 ), but the decree establishes that in order to reduce contagion, preference is also given to the use of the teleworking regime, whenever the nature of the activity allows it (Article 3, paragraph 2 c).
Decree Law No. 2-A/2020 of 20 March which proceed with the state of emergency concerning COVID-19 pandemic declared on 18 March 2020 established in article 6 that it is mandatory to adopt the teleworking regime, regardless of the employment relationship, whenever the functions concerned allow it.
Previously Decree Law No. 10-A/2020 of 13 March, setting the first exceptional and temporary measures concerning COVID-19 pandemic, set new rules concerning teleworking (article 29) - which do not apply to workers performing essential services - establishing that the regime of telework for dependent workers could be determined unilaterally by the employer or required by the worker, without need for agreement by the parties, provided it is compatible with the functions performed.
With the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 40-A/2020 teleworking is mandatory only when requested by the worker in the following situations, regardless of the employment relationship and whenever the functions allow: specific health conditions of the worker; in specific situations of support to children under 12 years of age; and when workplaces or the organisation of work do not ensure safety.
The Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 51-A/2020 that came into force on 1st July 2020 extended the period of validity of these regulations and mandatory conditions, with the exception of the support to children under 12 years of age, which is no longer a reason to invoke.
With basis on Labour Force Survey ad hoc module ‘Working from home’, Statistics Portugal reported that, in the second quarter of 2020,1,094.4 thousand employed persons declared having worked always or almost always from home (in the reference week or in the three weeks before), which represented a share of 23.1% of the total employed population; and that for 91.2% of these the main reason for having worked at home was the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics Portugal highlights that 1.04 million people used information and communication technologies to be able to work from home, a share of 21.9% of the total employed population and 94.8% of those who worked always or almost always at home in the reference period.
In the third quarter of 2020, the share of the employed population who has worked remotely decreased to 14.2% of the employed population; and in the fourth quarter of 2020 decreased to 12.3% of the employed population (597,500 people). In both quarters around 79% of the persons that worked from home indicated the main reason was the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employees in standard employment
Other groups of workers
|Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
No special funding required
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies||Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Trade union and employer confederations were consulted at the Standing Committee for Social Concertation.
Employer and trade union confederations were consulted at the tripartite Standing Committee for Social Concertation.
The newly formed (on18 May 2021, National Council of Employers' Confederations (CNCP) including all employer confederations [the Confederation of Farmers of Portugal (CAP), the Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal (CCP), the Business Confederation of Portugal (CIP), the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (CTP) and the Portuguese Confederation of Construction and Real Estate (CPCI)] - opposed the government's decision maintaining compulsory teleworking until 13 June 2021 to all municipalities arguing that this extension “conflicts with other constitutionally protected rights, freedoms and guarantees, such as the development of economic activity, which it presupposes the freedom to determine its mode of organization and functioning” as, it stands out, is in the Constitution. Moreover CNCP stressed that the government ignored its own provisions applying mandatory teleworking only in municipalities considered (...) as being of high, very high and extreme risk in terms of COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Público, 2 June 2021.
Eurofound (2020), Telework - exceptional and temporary measure in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, case PT-2020-13/307 (measures in Portugal), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch
Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.