Portugal Passes Law Banning Employers From Texting Workers After Work

Have you been dreaming of a day when your boss will no longer be allowed to text you at all hours demanding your attention? It might be time to find a job in Portugal where legislation passed Friday that could lead to penalties against employers who contact workers outside of office hours, according to an Associated Press report.

As part of the new rule, companies could face increased gas and electricity bills as part of their punishment for sending text messages and making calls to workers outside set business hours.

And Portugal is fully aware that this new rule could help attract mobile workers who want to live life under such laws in favor of the labor force.

"The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated," Ana Mendes Godinho, Portugal's Minister of Labor and Social Security, told a tech conference last week in Lisbon.

"The pandemic has accelerated the need to regulate what needs to be regulated." she said.

"Telework can be a 'game changer' if we profit from the advantages and reduce the disadvantages."

"We consider Portugal one of the best places in the world for these digital nomads and remote workers to choose to live in, we want to attract them to Portugal," she added.

While the U.S. doesn't have a specific law as Portugal on bosses contacting workers after work hours, it does have a Fair Labor Standards Act provision that should help clear up some confusion for hourly employees.

19. How are hours worked calculated for employees who work from home or no longer work at an employer’s worksite? (revised 04/26/2021)

Under the FLSA, your employer is required to pay you for all work performed whether at the employer’s worksite or at your home.  Therefore, you must be paid for all hours of telework actually performed, including overtime work, in accordance with the FLSA.  Your employer must pay you for all reported and unreported hours of telework that they know or have reason to believe had been performed. This is true even for the hours of telework that your employer did not authorize.  It is an employer’s obligation to exercise control to prevent unwanted work from being performed.  In most cases, your employer may satisfy their obligation to pay their teleworking employees by providing reasonable time-reporting procedures and paying employees for all reported hours.

Meanwhile, U.S. salaried workers are out of luck on this one. Either you find a boss who doesn't contact you at all hours or you do the work.

Here at OutKick, we have a pretty nice system going. Even though we've never had a chat about it, Clay tends to understand that I have things like mowing to do on Thursday nights. Saturday nights are reserved for having beers with neighborhood friends and concentrating on pigskin and Fireball shots. Sunday nights are perfectly fine for texts.

And weeknight texts are harmless as well. Look, if you work on the Internet you have to realize there could be a Rovell-Clay war of words pretty much from 6 a.m. to midnight. Bloggers need to understand the world they've chosen to live in.

The really great news is that Clay doesn't seem to want to/or have the time to talk to me and it's mutual. I think that's why we work so well together. We don't talk and things hum along just fine. He'll text when necessary and we can have five-word conversations and everything is perfect.

In other words, find yourself a boss like Clay.

The guy takes one look at the front page of OutKick on his phone, takes one look at the Dakota Johnson butt plug Christmas gift post, and knows I showed up to work. There's no need to micromanage.

In fact, Clay deserves some sort of award for running one of the great operations in the U.S.

Take that, Portugal.

Written by
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.