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Remote Work in Portugal

Working from Home Policy in Portugal

Work from home

In Portugal, telework or remote work is defined as work performed under a regime of legal subordination, in a place not determined by the employer, through the use of information and communication technologies, including work done in a mixed/hybrid regime, where telework and on-site work are alternated. It requires a written agreement between the employer and employee and a teleworking contract outlining the remote work clauses and policies. This can also be directly added to the employment contract.

Employees with young children and ones who are victims of domestic violence have the right to telework, given that the job performed and resources available allow so.

For employees who are already employed and changing their work location from an office to their home, the teleworking agreement can be entered into for a fixed or indefinite period of time. If it's for a fixed term, it cannot exceed 6 months and will be automatically renewed for equal periods, as long as neither of the parties asks it's not renewed up to 15 days before the expiry. If the agreement has an indefinite duration, any of the parties may terminate it by written notice, which takes effect after 60 days. Either party can end the new arrangement within the first 30 days. When the teleworking contract ends, the worker resumes the work previously agreed upon.

For employees to be allowed to work from home, there needs to be a written telework contract containing the following details:

  • Identification, signatures and address of employer and employee
  • The place where the employee will usually perform their work, which will be considered, for all legal purposes, their place of work
  • The activity to be provided by the employee, with express mention of the teleworking regime, and corresponding remuneration
  • Information on the standard working period
  • If the teleworking period is less than the expected duration of the employment contract, the employee's activity after working remotely
  • Ownership of the work equipment (laptop, phone) and who is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the equipment. The telework agreement must specify whether they are supplied directly or acquired by the employee, with the employer's agreement as to their characteristics and prices
  • Information on the company's department that the employee works for and their contact point, such as a line manager
  • The frequency and manner of implementing on-site contacts in order to reduce the remoteness of the employee.

Employers have the following obligations:

  • Provide employees with the appropriate training on the use of information and communication technologies required to perform work
  • Avoid employee isolation by regularly contacting them (directly or through teammates and managers
  • Installation and maintenance of tools relating to information and communication technologies
  • Payment of expenses associated with the home office
  • Respect employee's privacy, rest times and not contact them outside of office hours
  • Provide employees with good working conditions, both physically and mentally
  • Visit the employee's home office only to control work activity or maintenance of the work equipment, restricted only to 9 am-7 pm and always in the presence of the employee or someone appointed by them
  • Provide the employee with the necessary equipment, working tools and workstation to carry out their job. When this is not possible and if the employee agrees, remote work can be carried out using their own equipment.
  • Compensate employees for additional expenses incurred from working from home, such as additional heating and electricity and faster internet connection compatible with the communication service requirements, as well as the maintenance costs of the same equipment and systems. Such compensation is not seen as employee income for tax purposes. Therefore it does not impact the employee’s income and income tax level.
  • Record the start, end and breaks of the employee's working hours to ensure maximum working hours are respected, and overtime is paid. Employers and employees can agree to a more flexible working schedule
  • Bear the costs of eye exams of employees working from a computer screen and the payment of the appropriate equipment to protect their eyes.

Overwhelmed by all the obligations you have to remote workers in Portugal?

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Employees have the following obligations:

  • Follow the employer's instructions in regards to health and safety in the home office
  • Respect the limits of the standard working hours
  • Employees must observe the rules for using and operation of the work tools made available to them by the employer
  • Unless otherwise agreed, employees may not use the company's work tools for personal use

If the proposal for a telework agreement comes from the employer, the employee's opposition does not have to be justified, and the refusal cannot constitute grounds for dismissal or the application of any sanction.In the event that the activity agreed with the employee is, by the way it is integrated in the functioning of the company, and taking into account the resources available to it, compatible with the telework regime, the proposal of agreement made by the employee may only be refused by the employer in writing and with an indication of the reasons for the refusal.

The employer may define, by publicized internal regulations, and in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation, approved by Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016, the activities and the conditions under which the adoption of telework in the company may be accepted by it.

Health & safety at home

Employers have the same health and safety responsibilities to the employees working remotely as they do to those working from the office. There's a particular emphasis on the employee's mental welfare, and an obligation for employers to avoid remote workers' isolation. Employees are entitled to regular health and eye exams and appropriate equipment to protect their eyes.

Employers must conduct a risk assessment and prevention, and inform employees of risks they might be exposed to when working from home. Due to the limitations of access to the employee's home office, they must comply with the health and safety provisions and instructions. They have to inform their employer of an accident immediately.

Employees working from home are protected against work-related accidents and illness. The worker's compensation insurance that applies to the office premises is extended to remote workers. It requires that the company communicates the telework arrangements to the insurance provider, including the employee's address, which needs to be included in the insurance policy.

Security of information

Companies are responsible for ensuring they have sufficient data security and data protection practices for homeworking, protecting their data and personal information. The same level of security applied at an office should be applied in a remote environment. Companies should provide employees with a company computer if an employee's personal computer imposes information confidentiality risks. Employees must also ensure information confidentiality, preventing potential threats, such as leaving the equipment unattended in public places.

The application of any sanction to employees for the use of equipment and systems beyond the needs of the service, when such use is not expressly conditioned under the terms of the internal regulations or under the terms of the telework agreement, constitutes a serious administrative offence.

Best practices to ensure security include:

  • provide employees with antivirus and VPN access
  • train them of possible risks and attacks
  • write a policy about data security for those working from home
  • review access to internal systems
  • ensure the security of employees own devices
  • updated anti-malware and have virus protection across all devices

Workspace Guidelines in Portugal

Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the employee's workstation is correctly set up, safe, comfortable and easy to use to reduce potential injuries as indicated in the health and safety measures. In turn, employees must care for their health and safety and follow any reasonable policies or directions their employer gives them.

An appropriate workstation will include the following:

  • Right level of illumination, both natural and artificial light sources should not create glare on the computer
  • Sufficient lighting level for visual tasks to be completed without eye strain
  • The right level of ventilation and thermal comfort
  • Unobstructed exit path in case of emergencies, including electrical cords, uneven carpet, clutter
  • Suitable storage for documents




Working conditions

Employees working from home have the same rights and duties as those working from the office. Remote employees should not be impacted with limitations to their career, promotions and professional training. Health & Safety Safety at work, protection in the context of accidents at work and occupational diseases and regular working hours must also be respected.

Employers are not allowed to use remote surveillance through a computer application or any other means to control their performance. Surveillance is only accepted if the purpose is to protect and secure people and goods or when particular requirements inherent to the activity's nature justify it, and National Data Protection Commission must approve it. Furthermore, the employer must inform the employee about the existence and purpose of the surveillance means used. Tracking an employee's time on a task, websites accessed, the employee's real-time location, forcing an employee to use their camera during calls or capturing photos of the employee's screen are forbidden.

Visit to the workplace can only take place during working hours and requires the agreement of the employee and prior notice at least 24 hours in advance.

Recommendations for employees working from home:

  • Take appropriate breaks every 30 minutes to ensure repetitive actions are not continued for long periods and stand up at least once per hour
  • Stretch and change posture often, and if possible, an alternate activity
  • Check for a comfortable posture
  • Don't do any lifting, pushing, or carrying type task beyond the physical capacity
  • Keep wrists in a neutral (straight) position—not bent up or down
  • Sitting posture is upright or slightly reclined, maintaining slight hollow in the lower back
  • Establish boundaries around work hours
  • Schedule regular meetings and catch-ups with the team
  • Go outdoors and exercise daily, if possible

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