Portugal is lifting the COVID-19 mandatory remote work decree as the number of cases has decreased since the vaccination campaigns. From June 14, people can return to work at the office, although the government recommends companies and employees continue staying at home.
In April, Portugal’s President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, approved the government’s remote work decree. The original plan was that people continue working from home, or under a remote work arrangement, until the end of 2021. However, as the COVID-19 situation in the country has improved, the government has lifted the restrictions.
Are Portugal’s Employees Returning to the Office?
Portugal’s infection rate is significantly lower, making the government ease up its restrictions. On Wednesday, the country reported 724 new Coronavirus cases, a fraction of the 16,000 cases reported in January. The plan is that for August, more than 70% of its adult population is already vaccinated.
As it is established in the new Social and Security Law newsletter published on June 1:
As of June 1 2020, teleworking has ceased to be mandatory and the provisions of articles 165 to 171 of the Portuguese Labour Code are once again applicable. The main consequence of this amendment is the need for the employer to enter into a written agreement with each employee who is to be working remotely.
It also states that there are some exceptions. Despite lifting the mandatory remote work decree, certain employees can still, by law, continue to work under this flexible policy. The exceptions apply to:
- Employees covered by the exceptional protection regime for immunosuppressed and chronically ill patients.
- Disables employees with a degree of disability of at least 60%.
- Employees with children or other dependants under the age of 12 or, regardless of age, with a disability or chronic illness.
The remote work mandatory decree has been lifted mainly for companies and employees who wish or need to return to the office for diverse reasons. However, the government is looking for ways to keep the pandemic under control.