Portugal: Remote workers to be paid for additional expenses
Portugal’s parliament approved on Tuesday an amendment proposal from the Left Bloc under the Decent Work Agenda, which establishes the additional costs in contracts for the provision of telework.
“The individual employment contract and the collective bargaining agreement must fix in the conclusion of the agreement for the provision of telework, the amount of compensation due to the worker for additional expenses, the proposal said.
The initiative was approved with the votes in favour of the Left Bloc, PS, PCP and PSD and the abstention of the Liberal Initiative in the working group of the Labour, Social Security and Inclusion Commission on labour changes in the scope of the Decent Work Agenda, which should come into force in early 2023.
The proposal also provides that “in the absence of an agreement between the parties on a fixed amount”, additional expenses are considered to be “those corresponding to the acquisition of goods and or services that were not available to the employee before the conclusion of the agreement” as well as “those determined by comparison with the employee’s homologous expenses in the last month of face-to-face work”.
In the wake of the use of telework during the Covid-19 pandemic, the labour law was amended to regulate this regime, providing for the payment of additional expenses with energy, and internet, among others, and defining that these expenses could be determined by comparison with the homologous costs in the same month of the last year before the application of the agreement.
The Left Bloc member José Soeiro told Lusa that the proposal approved today aimed to “clarify” the right to payment of expenses of teleworkers by establishing that “the rule is that there is a fixed monthly amount that appears in the employment contract or collective agreement”.
Soeiro also explained that the proposal clarifies that “the method of assessment via comparison of invoices is supplementary, and that invoices should be compared not with “the same month of the previous year”, but with the “same month of face-to-face work”, to the extent that, in some situations, the previous year could already be a year of telework, which would prejudice the assessment of this increase of expenses due to the worker.