Portugal: Remote Work for Parents of Kids With Disability

Portugal remote work disabilities
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

As part of votes on the government’s Decent Work Agenda, members of a crucial committee in Portugal’s parliament on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal by the ruling Socialist Party (PS) to grant parents of children with disabilities or chronic illnesses, regardless of age, the ability to work from home.

The plan was agreed by the working group on the Decent Work Agenda’s revisions to employment legislation, which was set to wrap up its work on Wednesday following a long period of meetings that started in November.

According to the proposal, “The worker with a child up to three years of age or, regardless of age, with a child with a disability or chronic illness who lives with him or her under the communion of table and dwelling, has the right to exercise the activity in a telework regime, when this is compatible with the activity performed and the employer has the resources and means for this purpose.”

Despite support from members of the other parties in the committee, PS members were able to defeat a proposal from the major opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) that would have given parents of cancer patients the right to remote working.

While praising the progress made by the main PS plan, José Soeiro of the Left Bloc (BE) and Alfredo Maia of the Communist Party (PCP) regretted the PSD proposal’s refusal to include parents of cancer patients.

The final reading of the proposed amendments to employment law is scheduled for this Friday in parliament, and if approved, they will take effect in April.

With the amendments to the rules governing remote working in 2021, parents with children up to the age of eight were also covered, and this was done without the need for employer consent, so long as it was used by both parents “in successive periods of equal duration within a maximum reference period of 12 months.”

Single-parent households or circumstances where just one parent clearly qualifies for the practice of their activity through remote working were also included at the time in the scope of remote working. However, employees of microcompanies—those with fewer than 10 employees—are not covered by this 2021 extension. Employees who have the status of informal non-main caregiver are now also allowed to perform their duties remotely for up to four years in a row or four years extrapolated.

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