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-2020-40/1273 – Updated – measures in Portugal
|Country||Portugal , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 October 2020 – 31 December 2021|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Changes of working hours or work arrangements
|Author||Heloisa Perista and Maria da Paz Campos Lima (CESIS)|
|Measure added||12 October 2020 (updated 07 February 2022)|
The Resolution of the Council of Ministers 63-A/2020 of 14 August, now revoked, proposes the implementation of different clock-in and clock-out times as well as different times for breaks and meals, as an alternative to telework.
This same measure was included in the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 70-A/2020 of 11 September.
Following the return of most Portuguese to pre-essential work and the start of the school year, the circumstances lead 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. With Decree-Law 79-A/2020 of 1 October, the Government establishes rules for the reorganisation and risk mitigation in businesses in order to prevent the transmission of the infection by SARS-CoV-2 and the disease COVID-19.
These are based on staggered working times.
The Decree-Law 79-A/2020 of 1 October establishes an exceptional and transitory regime of reorganisation of work, in order to avoid gatherings of people performing presential work.
This measure applies to businesses with work places with 50 or more workers, in the territorial areas where the epidemiological situation justifies the application of such a measure - areas to be defined by the Government (article 2).
The employer should organise staggered clock-in and clock-out times, ensuring a time span of at least 30 minutes and up to a maximum of one hour between groups of workers. The employer should also organise alternating breaks, including for meals, among teams or departments. (Article 3)
For the purposes described above, the employer may change working times up to the maximum limit of one hour, unless this causes serious harm to the worker (article 4). It is considered as serious harm notably: the lack of public transports with adequate operating schedules; and the need to provide immediate and necessary assistance to the family.
This change in working times must remain stable for at least one week. This cannot imply the change of the maximum daily or weekly working hours, nor the change from day work to night work or vice-versa.
Some groups of workers are exempted of working according to the new working schedules defined by the employer: workers who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding; minor workers; workers with reduced working capacity, with a disability or chronic disease; and workers caring for children under 12 years old or, regardless of age, with a disability or chronic disease.
According to the Release from the Council of Ministers of 1 October 2020, it was approved a resolution that extends to Public Administration the rules on staggered working times, with the due adaptations.
The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.
|30 March 2021||
Decree-Law 25-A/2021, of 30 March, extends the rules for reorganisation and minimisation of risks in the context of labour relations with a view to preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease, namely those provided for in Decree-Law 79-A/2020, of 1 October, in its current wording, through the implementation of the mismatch between the entrance and exit times of workers in workplaces with 50 or more workers, in order to avoid gatherings of people during face-to-face work, in order to dilute agglomerations or gatherings of people during concentrated peak hours, as well as with regard to mandatory telework.
The social partners sitting on the Standing Committee on Social Concertation were heard.
The validity of Decree-Law 79-A/2020, of 1 October, is extended until 31 December 2021, without prejudice to the possibility of extension after consultation with the social partners.
|31 December 2020||
Decree-Law 106-A / 2020 of 30 December amends exceptional and temporary measures relating to the COVID-19 disease pandemic. Proceeds the third amendment to Decree-Law 79-A / 2020, of 1 October, as amended by Decree-Laws 94-A / 2020, of 3 November, and 99/2020, of 22 November, which establishes an exceptional regime and transitory reorganisation of work and minimisation of risks of transmission of COVID-19 disease infection in the scope of labour relations.
Articles 2 and 3 of Decree-Law 79 -A / 2020, of 1 October, in their current wording, are replaced by the following:
Article 2 [...]
Article 3 [...]
No information is available on the use of this measure.
|Does not apply to workers||
|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:
The social partners were invited to issue written opinion on this measure but the topic was not discussed in the Standing Committee for Social Concertation.
In order to change working times, according to this Decree-Law, the employer should do a prior consultation to the workers involved and to the works council or, in its absence, to the trade union or inter trade union commission or to the trade union representatives.
This Decree-Law is in force until 31 March 2021 but it may be extended following consultation of the social partners.
The trade union confederations expressed concerns with the possibility open to employers to change working times based only on a prior consultation of the workers, especially in the businesses where trade union structures and representatives do not exist.
Eurofound (2020), Staggered working times - exceptional and transitory regime, measure PT-2020-40/1273 (measures in Portugal), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/PT-2020-40_1273.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.