Portugal’s new law shows that the balance of power is shifting towards workers

This legislation is probably the most extensive package of workers’ rights specifically targeting homeworking that exists anywhere in the world, writes Hamish McRae

Tuesday 16 November 2021 21:30
<p>In Portugal, bosses are now banned from calling employees outside working hours </p>

In Portugal, bosses are now banned from calling employees outside working hours

If you work at home, should your boss be able to call you outside of working hours? In Portugal, the answer is no. The balance of power between workers and bosses has shifted radically across the developed world – towards workers.

You can see that here in Britain, where the latest unemployment figures show a mass of unfilled vacancies in everything from food production to Uber drivers. Unemployment is down, despite the ending of the furlough scheme. You can also see it in the US, where companies say that there is no end to the labour shortages in sight. The Economist reports that German workers are in the strongest position for 30 years in terms of their labour bargaining power.

And in Portugal? Well, similar market pressures are at work there as across the continent. But what is really novel is that worker demands for better conditions for home workers are not only a result of market forces. They are being backed by law.

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