The progressive unconfinement visible in the return of the Portuguese to work and the beginning of the school year, led the Government to adopt additional measures to prevent and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic through a change in the labor legal framework.
Thus, Decree-Law 79-A/2020 of October 1 presents a set of temporary rules for the organization of working times.
Aimed at companies with 50 or more workers in territorial areas where the epidemiological situation justifies it (at this moment, the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto);
- Organization of working hours
– Team stability in each department or production unit;
– Alternation of breaks for rest, including meals, between teams or departments, in order to safeguard social distance between workers
– The promotion of teleworking, whenever possible
– Use of PPE when social distance is not possible
- Changes to working hours
– The employer may change working hours up to a maximum of one hour, unless such change causes serious harm to the employee
– Through prior consultation with the workers involved and the workers commission, if any
– The change must be notified at least 5 days in advance;
What are the limits?
– The change of working hours must be kept stable for a minimum period of one week.
– The alteration of the worker’s schedule cannot imply an increase in the number of working hours, either daily or weekly, nor can it imply a change from day to night or vice-versa.
– The following are exempt from the new working hours: pregnant workers, workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, workers with reduced working capacity, workers with disabilities or chronic illness, and workers under 12 years of age in their care or, regardless of age, workers with disabilities or chronic illness
What is considered serious harm to the worker?
– The lack of collective passenger transport that allows working hours to be met due to the delay;
– The need to provide unavoidable and indispensable assistance to the family
The measures enshrined in this law are in force until March 31, 2021, without prejudice to the possibility of extension.
What are the consequences of violating these rules?
The violation of these rules constitutes a serious administrative offence and the following fines may be imposed:
- a) If practiced by a company with a turnover of less than EUR 500,000.00: from EUR 612.00 to EUR 1,224.00 in case of negligence and from EUR 1,326.00 to EUR 2,652.00 in case of intent;
- b) if practiced by a company with a turnover equal to or greater than EUR 500,000.00 and less than EUR 2,500,000.00: from EUR 714.00 to EUR 1,428.00 in case of negligence and from EUR 1,530.00 to EUR 4,080.00 in case of intent;
- c) If practiced by a company with a turnover equal to or greater than EUR 2,500,000.00 and less than EUR 5,000,000.00: from EUR 1,020.00 to EUR 2,040.00 in case of negligence and from EUR 2,142.00 to EUR 4,590.00 in case of intent;
- d) If practiced by a company with a turnover equal to or greater than (euro) 5,000,000 and less than (euro) 10,000,000, from 12 UC to 25 UC in case of negligence and from 26 UC to 50 UC in case of intent;
(e) if practiced by a company with a turnover of 10 000 000 euro or more, 15 to 40 UC in case of negligence and 55 to 95 UC in case of intent.
The present measures will imply an increasing flexibility on the part of companies and workers, and the limits that are imposed by the diploma itself mean that the measure of changing working hours is expected to have little expression.