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1. Emergency Measures

Decrees, orders or guidelines in effect and pertaining to reopening facilities.

With respect to measures particularly focussed on the field of employment and social security, Order 2875-A/2020 and Order 3103-A/2020 were initially issued implementing measures to safeguard social security for beneficiaries prevented from working by order of the health authority.

Publication of Decree-Law 10-A/2020 (which has been subject to multiple update amendments) and Cabinet Decision 10-A/2020 followed, which, in setting out various exceptional and temporary measures related to the COVID-19 epidemic, included social security measures for sickness and parenthood, in particular, allowances or support rules applicable in case of employee absences due to prophylactic isolation, illness, caring for children during school and nursery temporary closure and caring for family members, and other support measures for self-employed workers. It also included the possibility of teleworking without the need for an agreement between the employer and employee, and the possibility that the teleworking scheme can be “unilaterally determined by the employer or requested by the employee [...] provided that it is compatible with the tasks performed”, though this wording raised a number of questions..

These were followed by Decree-Law 10-G/2020, which contains and rules the so-called “simplified lay-off” scheme, also subject to a few update amendments and  regulated by Ordinance 94-A/2020.

With relevance to employment and social security, on that same date, Decree-Law 10-K/2020, which amended some of the previous provisions on absences, including those due to employees having to provide family support and care, and Decree-Law 10-F/2020 (also subsequently amended and updated), which established an exceptional and temporary regime for compliance with tax and social security obligations, were published.

The decrees which regulated the state of emergency and its extensions provided for the enhanced resources and powers of the ACT where this authority it considers that there are signs of unfair dismissals being pursued. During the calamity situation Law 14/2020 was published and approved also providing – in article 8-C added to Law 1-A/2020 – the same enhanced resources and powers of the Portuguese Authority for Working Conditions (the ‘ACT’) regarding dismissals. The duration of these new powers, at this time, is unknown. The ACT is also appointed as the competent authority to supervise compliance at the workplace with the COVID-19 preventive measures determined by the Portuguese Health State Department (Direção-Geral da Saúde hereinafter ‘DGS’) as per specifically determined by Dispatch 6344/2020 of June 16, issued by the competent cabinet ministries.

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