Part 2 – Main findings of the survey

Regulatory framework: a split situation

When looking at the general regulatory framework of telework and WFH (not specifically in the media sector), only half of the respondents declared that such regulations exist:

Example: in Portugal, the journalists’ union clarifies rules of teleworking for journalists

Since telework is no longer mandatory in Portugal since 1st August 2021, the journalists’ union (SJ) produced a “Frequently asked questions” section on its website about teleworking[1], which remains “recommended when possible”. The SJ also proposes legal services to its members to analyse specific situations and clarify doubts. The main rules in Portugal are:
  • Journalists cannot decide to stay in telecommuting unilaterally, just by informing the company. Home office has therefore to be formally agreed between employer and employee.
  • Home office is still mandatory in case the employer is unable to guarantee physical distance at the workplace or work shifts, which are still mandatory by law to avoid close contacts.
  • The only legal exceptions concerning the situation of the workers are covered by a specific law[2] covering “exceptional situations” such as immune-depression, chronic diseases, disability with a degree of incapacity equal to or greater than 60%, or the worker who has children or other dependent dependents under the age of 12, or, regardless of age, with a disability or chronic illness.
  • For those who stay telework, the employer must provide the necessary “work and communication equipment” to perform the tasks. When this is not possible and the worker agrees, the work can be done through any means available to the worker, but the employer still has to ensure the adaptation of the equipment to the inherent needs, such as the computer programmes necessary to perform the services.
  • Expenses of the work and communication equipment, as well as installation and maintenance costs, are borne by the employer. The Government has also stated that, according to its interpretation of the law, employers must bear internet and telephone expenses related to telework. If, for example, the employee does not have an internet connection at home, or if the connection is too weak for a professional performance, the company will have to ensure the connection.
  • If there is an increase in consumption of electricity, water or other additional charges, the employer is not obliged to pay for it; however the SJ asks employers to do so. On a voluntary basis, a monthly payment for extra costs can be agreed between home workers and their employer. The worker has to prove that the increase in expenses was directly caused by teleworking and demonstrate the amount of this increase.
  • Certain allowances such as meal vouchers and transport allowance are maintained, by law or by collective agreements, even for teleworkers.
[1] Full text in Portuguese: https://jornalistas.eu/perguntas-e-respostas-sobre-o-teletrabalho/ [2] Article 25A of Decree-Law no. 10-A/2020, of 13 March 2021
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