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Agenda for decent work

The Agenda for Decent Work and Appreciation of Young People in the Labour Market is a set of measures aimed at improving working conditions and reconciling personal, family and professional life, which has already been enacted by the President of the Republic and is entering into force from the day following the publication.

Among the various measures, the following stand out:

a. Temporary work

▪ The rules that prevent the succession of user contracts also apply to companies of the same group;
▪ Integration of workers in the user company when the worker has been transferred by a non-licensed Temporary Work Company (ETT);
▪ After 4 years of temporary assignments by ETT or another from the same group, ETT are obliged to integrate workers into their staff;
▪ Maximum number of renewals of temporary work contracts is reduced to 4 contracts;
▪ Compensation for terminating temporary work contracts increases to 24 days a year;
▪ Exclusion of ETT partners, managers or directors who have been convicted of labour offences.

b. Combating false self-employment and unjustified use of non-permanent work

▪ Prohibition of resorting to “outsourcing” for 12 months after collective redundancies or job losses;
▪ The rule for the succession of fixed-term contracts will be extended to the admission of new workers in the same professional activity;
▪ Reinforcement of ACT’s (Labour Conditions Authority) power to convert fixed-term contracts into undetermined contracts.

c. Digital platforms and algorithms

▪ Presumption of the existence of an employment contract with platform operators when there are signs of a relationship between platforms and the activity provider and between the latter and the customers;
▪ Duty of information and transparency with ACT, workers and their representatives, on algorithm criteria and artificial intelligence mechanisms used.

d. Balancing work, personal and family life

▪ Increase in license fees in case of greater sharing between the two parents and doubling of leave time when taken part-time from 120 days;
▪ Expansion of the need for express authorisation from the worker to carry out “bancos de horas” (hour banks) and adaptability regimes for workers with children between 3 and 6 years old if the other parent proves to be unable to do so;

e. Combating undeclared work

▪ Criminalisation of totally undeclared work, with imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine of up to 360 days;
▪ Ensure that there is always a place for an administrative offence, even in the case of voluntary regularisation of undeclared work, to discourage the use of this modality;
▪ Presumption of the existence of work when it has not been declared to Social Security extends to the previous 12 months;
▪ Makes permanent the daily registration duty of workers assigned or placed by other companies on farms and construction sites.

f. ACT reinforcement and administrative simplification

▪ Makes permanent the ACT’s power to suspend dismissal processes with signs of irregularity;
▪ Allows electronic notifications, questioning of witnesses via video call, application of a special process that is more agile in cases in which verification depends solely on crossing information through a database;
▪ Creation of automatic notification of the admission of foreign workers by Social Security to ACT, eliminating the need for companies to notify ACT;
▪ Implementation of the single communication to Social Security and Work Compensation Funds

g. Informal caregivers

▪ Creation of 5-day leave for recognized non-principal informal caregivers;
▪ Granting of the right to 15 days of absence, without loss of rights except remuneration, to non-main informal caregivers recognised by the needs of the person cared for (family member up to 4th degree in a straight line and collateral);
▪ introduction of special guarantees regarding dismissals and issues of equality and non-discrimination;
▪ Access to flexible working arrangements and teleworking for recognised non-primary informal caregivers.

h. Other measures

▪ Reinstatement of overtime payment amounts in force until 2012 as of 120 annual hours (1st hour on working days: 50% increase; from 2nd hour: 75%; rest days and holidays: 100%). Up to 120 hours, the current regime is maintained;
▪ In public contracts longer than 12 months, employment contracts must be permanent; on contracts of less than 12 months, employment contracts must be at least for the duration of the contract.

i. Effects production

▪ Employment contracts concluded before their entry into force are subject to the Labour Code regime, as amended by this law, except in terms of validity conditions and the effects of facts or situations prior to that moment.
▪ The regime established in the Labour Code, as amended by this law, does not apply to fixed-term employment contracts, with regard to their admissibility, renewal and duration, and to the renewal of temporary employment contracts, entered into before the entry into force of said law.

By Dr Eduardo Serra Jorge
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Dr Eduardo Serra Jorge is founding member, senior partner and CEO of lawyers firm Eduardo Serra Jorge & Maria José Garcia – Sociedade de Advogados, R.L., created in 1987.
In his column, he addresses legal issues affecting foreign residents in Portugal.
Faro office at Gaveto das Ruas Pedro Nunes e José de Matos, 5 R/C
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