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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure PT-2020-31/1281 Updated – measures in Portugal

Training plan for companies with temporary reduction of the normal period of working time

Plano de formação para empresas com redução do período normal de trabalho

Country Portugal , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 August 2020 – 30 June 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Heloisa Perista and Maria da Paz Campos Lima (CESIS) and Eurofound
Measure added 15 October 2020 (updated 17 November 2021)

Background information

Under the scope of the Economic and Social Stabilisation Programme approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 41/2020 of 6 of June, the Decree-Law 46-A/2020 of 30 July creates extraordinary support for the progressive recovery of companies in a situation of business crisis, for the temporary reduction of the normal working time, with a view to maintaining employment. This extraordinary support applies to employers of a private nature, including those in the social sector, who have been affected by the COVID-19 disease pandemic and who are, as a result, in a business crisis situation.

Content of measure

The extraordinary support for the progressive recovery of companies in a situation of business crisis with temporary reduction of the normal working time is cumulative with a training plan approved by the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional, I. P. - IEFP, I. P.). (Decree-Law 46-A/2020, article 10) This training plan confers the right to a grant with the amount of 30% of the Social Support Index (the full amount of this index is €438.81 in 2020) per worker. This grant is supported by IEFP, I.P. and is aimed to the employer and to the worker in equal parts.

The training should be organised by the IEFP, I.P. and may be run remotely, whenever possible and allowed by the circumstances.

It should contribute to the improvement of the professional competences of the workers, whenever possible increasing their qualification level, and contribute to the improvement of the competitiveness of the company.

The training must correspond to the qualification modalities foreseen in the Qualifications National System.

Also, it should be implemented out of the schedule of actual provision of work, provided that within the normal working time.

The operationalisation of the training plan should be ensured by the following training bodies: the centres for employment and vocational training from the IEFP, I. P. network; and accredited training bodies or organisations that are exempt from certification as training body, if a cooperation agreement is celebrated with IEFP, I. P. Furthermore, the trade union confederations represented at the Standing Committee for Social Concertation or their sectoral or regional associates may act as training providers, if they are accredited as training bodies and a cooperation agreement is celebrated with IEFP, I. P.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

24 March 2021

Decree-Law 23-A/2021, of 24 March, amends the scheme that creates the extraordinary support to the progressive resumption of activity in companies in a situation of business crisis with a temporary reduction of the normal working period and the scheme that establishes support mechanisms under the state of emergency. It also creates extraordinary support measures for workers and economic activity in the context of the state of emergency.

Among the measures approved, within the scope of vocational training: cumulative with the extraordinary support to the progressive resumption of activity, an extraordinary deadline is established for the start of training plans already approved by the Employment and Vocational Training Institute, I. P., but which have not started in practice due to the suspension of on-site training activities by legislative or administrative determination from a governmental source.

15 January 2021

This measure was extended by the Decree Law 6-C/2021 of 15 January 2021 for a period of six months, ending on 30 June 2021.

Use of measure

According to the report by Mamede and Silva (coord.) (2021), O Estado da Nação e as Políticas Públicas 2021 - Governar em Estado de Emergência, the (simplifed) layoff protected employment in the short-term but did not take advantage of the opportunity for training. Between March and July 2020, 1.25% of the workers covered by lay-off were included in training plans, corresponding to 342 (0.3%) of the 113,000 businesses that made use of the lay-off measure.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
Company / Companies
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
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:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

The trade union confederations CGTP and UGT and the four employer confederations CIP, CAP, CCP and CTP represented at the tripartite Standing Committee for Social Concertation have been consulted.

Also the measures provided for in this decree-law will be subject to regular assessment by the Standing Committee for Social Concertation (article 18).

Furthermore, the trade union confederations represented at the Standing Committee for Social Concertation or their sectoral or regional associates may act as training providers, if they are accredited as training bodies and a cooperation agreement is celebrated with IEFP, I. P. (article 10 - paragraph 6).

Views and reactions

Partially supportive.

According to information released by the Público newspaper, on 19 February 2021, the social partners express criticism on the measure, although in different ways.

Employers and trade unions agree on one idea: adherence to the training measures was very low given the major economic downturn.

The employers' confederations, namely the Confederation of Portuguese Tourism (CTP) and the Confederation of Portuguese Business (CIP), point out flaws in the model, recognising that it was a measure relegated to a second plan, compared to the measures of simplified layoff or extraordinary support to the progressive resumption of activity; because it lacked disclosure; there was too much bureaucracy; and the concern of managers was primarily to ensure the survival and maintain jobs.

The unions say that this was a lost opportunity, when there were hundreds of thousands of workers out of work, especially in the first phase of the pandemic.

The General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN) highlights the very low interest that companies showed in using downtime to retrain, reinforce and create skills among workers. This lack of interest will have been enhanced by the Government's choice not to establish a mandatory connection between training and layoff.

The General Workers Union (UGT) recognises that there was indeed a lack of interest from companies, but states that it is not legitimate to evaluate the result without taking into account the extraordinary circumstances generated by the pandemic. There were simpler and more immediate measures. It also notes that companies and workers had few conditions to reflect and plan a type of training that was adequate to the pandemic situation.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Training plan for companies with temporary reduction of the normal period of working time, measure PT-2020-31/1281 (measures in Portugal), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/PT-2020-31_1281.html

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