1. What options do employers have and/or what are you seeing in terms of re-opening the workplace e.g. phased returns, rotating shifts, staggered working hours, etc.?
Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 33-A/2020, 30 April has declared a public emergency prevent the spread of COVID-19 while some companies are restarting their business. Whenever possible, working from home (teleworking) remains mandatory. Where this is not possible, for example in retail stores and service establishments, opening hours may be adapted in order to ensure a lag between the opening time and the closing time and they may not open before 10am.
It is expected that from 1 June onwards teleworking will be balanced with working from the office in staggered working hours or with “mirrored” teams.
2. Does an employer have to give notice to employees to return to the workplace?
Given that companies must ensure compliance with health and safety rules and recommendations before employees return, employees should be informed when these measures have been taken and as such when they are to return.
3. Is an employer obliged to consult with employees/representatives about the return to work process?
There are no specific rules. However, if the return-to-work process leads to substantial changes in the organisation of work, then consultation obligations will apply.
4. Are there any requirements or recommendations for employees to wear or employers to provide masks or other protective equipment in the workplace?
If this equipment is necessary to guarantee the safety of employees, employers must provide it. On providing protective equipment to employees, employers must take into consideration the rules and guidance issued in respect of personal equipment requirements in the context of COVID-19 as enacted by the General Directorate for Health (Direção-Geral da Saúde - DGS) and the Portuguese National Authority of Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed).
5. When can business travel resume and what are the key considerations for employers?
Business travel may resume if health and safety conditions are met, as there are no specific provisions in this regard and employees are permitted to circulate in public areas and travel when performing their job (which would be the case for business travel). However, air travel restrictions continue to apply.
6. If schools remain closed, can working parents continue to work from home?
Schools will remain closed.
Employees who can perform their job by teleworking may continue to work from home.
Employees who cannot perform their job by teleworking and who need to be absent from work to assist a child or other dependent under 12, or, regardless of age, with a disability or chronic illness, resulting from suspension from school activities, will remain entitled to an allowance corresponding to 2/3 of their salary, paid in equal parts by the employer and Social Security (with a minimum limit of the minimum wage of EUR635 and a maximum limit of three times the minimum wage, EUR1,905).