Have you ever received an email from your boss outside normal work hours?
If you live in Portugal, that conduct is now illegal.
According to new reports from Euronews and CNN, the new legislation approved by Portugal’s Socialist Party and the country’s parliament is aimed at promoting a healthy work-life balance, something that has become increasingly difficult as more people work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the new law, employers could face financial fines for calling, emailing or otherwise contacting employees outside of work hours.
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In 2017, France passed a similar “right to disconnect” law allowing employees the legal right to ignore work emails outside of normal work hours.
The move appears to be an attempt by Portuguese lawmakers to become a more attractive place for workers, especially remote ones.
“Telework can be a ‘game-changer’ if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages,” Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal’s minister of Labor and Social Security, said last week. “We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and remote workers to choose to live in — we want to attract them to Portugal.”
As part of the newly passed legislation, employers in Portugal must also provide tools for workers to appropriately do their jobs, as well as reimburse them for additional expenses that could be incurred as a result of working from home such as electricity bills and gas, according to the reports.
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In 2022, 31% of the global workforce will be hybrid-remote or fully remote, according to a recent Gartner study. In the U.S. that number is expected to be about 53% of the country’s workforce.
The news comes as the global tally for confirmed COVID cases climbed above 252 million, and experts warn the pandemic is not over and urge people to combine vaccines with face masks and other protective measures.