Home News ‘Lay-off mode’ and suspended workers allowed to temporarily work in five essential sectors

‘Lay-off mode’ and suspended workers allowed to temporarily work in five essential sectors

Published on 09/04/2020

Workers who are under reduced working hours or suspended from their employment contract (the so-called lay-off mode), will only be able to work in certain sectors. The Council of Ministers approved this Thursday, April 9th, a decree-law that defines the sectors in which these individuals can seek work.

“People in a regime of reduction of the normal period of work or suspension of their employment contract can exercise paid activity as long as in the areas of food production, social support, health, logistics, and distribution”, reads the statement of the Council of Ministers. The objective, according to the Government, is “to adapt the measures so far approved by the Government to effectively prevent the proliferation of registered cases of contagion of COVID-19 to the needs of Portuguese citizens”.

Workers on suspended contracts (lay-offs) were already able to temporarily seek employment with health and social support institutions, such as homes and hospitals, within the scope of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also the case for individuals who were previously unemployed.

Workers are entitled to a grant of 658.20 euros, which will be provided for by the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP). Parents in an extended support role, who have to stay at home with their children up to 12 years of age due to the closure of schools, will retain the support as they have hitherto.

The nomination had already been put forward by the prime minister in the biweekly debate, and has confirmed the measure that was only expected to last between 16th and 27th March. António Costa clarified that support for families “will remain on the same terms”. The exceptional support measure guarantees parents with children up to 12 years old (or older in cases of disability or chronic illness) the payment of two thirds of their basic remuneration, supported equally by the employer and Social Security.

You can only benefit from this support one parent at a time, being able to alternate throughout the period of school closure. At the time the Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security announced the measure, it estimated a total cost of 294 million euros for the first 15 days.