It's Now Illegal to Text Employees After Work Hours In Portugal

Brb, moving to Portugal.
IMAGE Unsplash / Andrew Leu

Excuse us while we book our tickets to Portugal, because it looks like the country has just banned texting and emailing staff before and after working hours. 

Tagging Philippine Congress. 

Lawmakers in Portugal just passed new laws that actually give working residents the "right to rest." The new policies aim to improve work-life balance as work-from-home blurs the lines between work and home. 

Now, in Portugal, employers that text or email work-related messages to staff outside of work hours will face hefty fines. Meanwhile, there are also new rules that will allow working parents to work remotely so they can be with their children, at least until they turn eight years old. 

As if that wasn't enough, Portugal's new laws also indicate that companies might have to contribute to the household bills if work-from-home increases energy and internet bills. What's more, measures are being taken to battle too much isolation caused by working from home, so employers are expected to schedule regular in-person meetings. 

While Portugal's workforce has been granted the "right to rest," parliament is not yet keen on the "right to disconnect." The portion of the bill that allowed workers to turn off work devices after work was not approvedyet. 

According to Portugal's Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, work-from-home is a "game-changer," but labor protections should be put in place. Portugal's move also hopes to attract more expats as the country has been positioning itself as a hotspot for "digital nomads." 

But it's also making a statement as one of the first countries advocating for labor protections for staff that are working from home. Globally, we're facing the Great Resignation as millions of burned-out employees resign from their jobs, pandemic or not. Perhaps Portugal's policies might inspire other countries to protect the "right to rest"... or maybe it'll just attract a whole new flow of expats.


Ready to move to Portugal for that much-needed work-life balance? 


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Anri Ichimura
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