The Government decided to proceed with an exceptional and transitional regime for reorganizing work to minimize the risks of transmission of covid-19 in the workplace, which will add up to a whole set of measures created under the contingency state that starts today.
In the case of the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, this regime will be mandatory to apply, “unless it appears manifestly impracticable”. The idea is for people to get in and out of work at different times, and shift work and teleworking, with mirrored teams, to be privileged. The Government sent a draft diploma to the social partners that establishes the new rules
Which companies are covered?
The law states that these rules will have to be applied in the workplace, “including common areas, support facilities and access areas”, where 50 or more workers are provided simultaneously.
How do working hours have to be designed?
Entries and exits will have to be done in a phased manner by groups of employees. The same will apply to breaks or shift changes, that is, an alternation of rest breaks, including for meals, between teams or departments should be implemented, in order to safeguard social distance between workers. The minimum intervals between teams must be 30 minutes to an hour.
Should teleworking be promoted?
The Government intends that companies implement technical and organizational measures that guarantee physical distance and the protection of workers and that avoid agglomerations. Thus, stable work teams must be created, so that contact between workers only takes place between workers on the same team. In this sense, shift work should be promoted and, “whenever the nature of the activity permits, teleworking”.
Which workers are covered?
All those who work in that place of work, both those who have a dependent employment contract, as well as those with green receipts or even those who are only temporary workers. The diploma provides that people who are carrying out “preparatory or complementary work that, by their nature, can only be carried out outside the company’s operating or working period” are also included.
Can schedules be changed unilaterally by the company?
Yes, but after consulting the workers covered by the measures and the workers’ committee or, if there is none, the union or inter-union commission or union delegates The new timetables must be posted at least five days before the start of their application .
Can the worker refuse to change the schedule?
Yes, in specific cases. Right away, if it causes you “serious injury”. On the other hand, if the worker has children under the age of 12 in charge, he may also not accept it and the same is true for underage workers.
What other exceptions are there?
Pregnant, puerperal and lactating workers and workers with reduced work capacity, with disabilities or chronic illness are also exempted from working according to the new schedules set by the employer when they may jeopardize their health or safety at work.
Who monitors compliance with the rules and what fines are foreseen?
Inspection will be the responsibility of the Authority for Working Conditions, which, understanding that the companies are in default, may impose fines that may vary between 2,040 and 61,200 euros.