Last Friday, stimulated by the realities of working during this COVID-19 pandemic and the concern over unequal access to technology, the Portuguese Parliament (formally, the Assembleia da República or in English, the Assembly of the Republic), passed new amendments to Portugal”s labor laws intended to protect Portugal’s remote workforce.
In brief, the new laws (which apply to companies with ten or more employees) mean that:
- Employers could face fines if they contact their employees outside work hours;
- Employers are forbidden from monitoring workers’ productivity while they are working remotely;
- Employees with children under the age of eight now have an explicit legal right to work at home – no longer requiring management approval; and
- Employers are required to help defray some of the costs their employees face as a result of working remotely (e.g., Internet connectivity; electricity, gas) and when they do so, the employer can write the reimbursement off as a business expense.
The amendments also made an effort to tackle the isolation and loneliness that employees may feel working from home by expecting employers to make arrangements for in-person meetings at least once every two months.
The Portuguese Republic was one of the first nations to adopt temporary remote working regulations and these are now formally part of the labor laws that apply to the Portuguese workforce.
If you need help or want more information about this or any other posting on Legal Bytes, don’t hesitate to contact me (Joe Rosenbaum) or any of the Rimôn professionals with whom you regularly work.
Last Thursday (4 November 2021) we reported on the U.S. DOL’s announcement of new employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates (see US Department of Labor Announces Emergency COVID-19 Employer Requirements .
Yesterday (6 November 2021), a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, granted an emergency stay prohibiting enforcement of the rules for now, saying they raise “grave statutory and constitutional issues.” The order, temporarily blocks implementation of the new rules and the Court ordered the U.S. Government to file papers by Monday afternoon in an effort to ensure swift consideration of the request to issue an injunction against the vaccine mandate and corresponding testing requirements under the new rules.
Click here to read the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Emergency Stay Order (November 6, 2021).
Today, the United States Department of Labor issued a press release announcing an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from coronavirus.
These requirements are intended to implement the COVID-19 vaccine directive announced by President Biden and will apply to employers with 100 or more employees.
The standards will require companies subject to the rules to ensure that:
- Each vaccinated employee provides proof (type and date) of vaccination status (e.g., immunization record from a health care provider or pharmacy; CDC Covid-19 vaccination card; immunization records from a governmental authority; or other official documentation);
- Employees who are not vaccinated must produce a negative COVID-19 test at least weekly and wear a mask (face covering) in the workplace;
- An employee who is vaccinated but unable to provide documentary proof, must provide the employer with a written, signed and dated statement attesting to the fact they were successfully and properly vaccinated; and
- Employees are given paid time off in order to obtain a Covid-19 vaccination and, if necessary, sick leave to recover from any side effects.
There are also separate rules requiring every staff member in health facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to be vaccinated and health workers and federal contractors have until January 4, 2022 to obtain either their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Modernavaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The new rules do not require employers to provide or pay for tests, unless a collective bargaining agreement that applies to the employer requires them to do so.
The standards were published in the US Federal Register this morning and you can read a copy or download the regulations in PDF form here: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard.
As always, if you have questions or want more information about this or any other Legal Bytes posting, don’t hesitate to contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or any of the Rimon lawyers with whom you regularly work.