Telework applies to civil service “with necessary adaptations”

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The Ministry of the Presidency clarified today that the telework foreseen in the labor law applies to the public administration with “necessary adaptations”, being foreseen to evaluate, in the legislature, a revision of the collective agreement of general careers on this matter.

“As for teleworking, it is important to clarify that the regime provided for in the Labor Code applies, with the necessary adaptations, to the Public Administration,” said an official source from the Ministry of the Presidency to Lusa.

The cabinet’s response comes after a supplementary round of negotiations, held this morning between the unions and the Secretary of State for Public Administration, Inês Ramires, in Lisbon, in which the adaptation of the new norms foreseen in the Decent Work Agenda to the labor regime of public employees was discussed.

At issue is a new norm approved in the scope of the Decent Work Agenda, which came into effect this month, that foresees the establishment, in the employment contract or collective agreement, of an amount to be paid for the additional expenses of telecommuting.

According to the Trade Union Front (Fesap) and the State Technical Staff Union (STE), during the meeting, the Secretary of State indicated that this new norm does not apply directly to the civil service, since the sector’s collective agreements do not foresee the possibility of negotiating remuneration matters.

According to the office led by Minister Mariana Vieira da Silva, the telework regime foreseen in the Labor Code applies, but “with the necessary adaptations.

Asian woman using video call telework to chat with people
Asian woman using video call telework to chat with people

The same source emphasizes that, in the agreement for the valorization of public administration workers, signed in October, “the Government committed itself to evaluate, within the legislature, the revision of the collective labor regulation instrument applicable to general careers with regard to the organization of working time, namely with regard to teleworking.

The ministry also mentions that “until today” there is no “report of a request for payment of expenses by Public Administration workers” and reminds that there are about 21 thousand teleworking workers, according to the last informal data collection by public entities.

As for the increase in the amount to be paid for overtime exceeding 100 hours per year, foreseen in the Labor Code, the ministry said that “it is not a matter of convergence” with the public administration.

“In addition to a myriad of special career regimes, there are specific norms in the General Labor Law in Public Functions, namely regarding remuneration increases, and therefore the regime foreseen in the Labor Code does not apply directly,” the office explained.

The labor law provides that the amount payable for overtime, from 100 hours per year, is doubled to 50% for the first hour or fraction thereof, 75% for each subsequent hour or fraction thereof on a working day, and 100% for each hour or fraction thereof on a compulsory or complementary weekly rest day or public holiday.

This rule came into effect on May 1st, but employers’ associations and unions have a transitional period to change collective agreements.

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