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Newsletter November 2020

Legal Updates

Can employers, currently, unilaterally change their employees' working hours?

With the publication of the Decree-Law No. 79-A/2020 of October 1stde, it is now possible for companies in the private sector, that employ 50 or more workers, to make adjustments in the entries and exits of workers, causing a mismatch, in between 30 minutes to a maximum of one hour, in working hours.

Some categories of workers (such as pregnant workers, workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, among others referred in art. 4/6 of the Decree-Law), are not subject to this law. However, the remaining workers will have to prove that the change in working hours will cause serious harm to them, namely due to the lack of collective transportation of passengers that would allow the working hours to be met due to the time lag; or in case of the need to provide urgent and indispensable assistance to the family.

This is another of the already long list of measures aimed at minimizing the risks of transmission of COVID-19 disease infection within labor relations, which came into force on October 1 and will remain at least until March 31, 2021.

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Extension of the extraordinary regime of protection for tenants

The Law 58-A/2020, published on September 30th, 2020, has extended the extraordinary regime of protection for tenants, determining the suspension, until December 31st, 2020, of the following:

– The production of effects of the termination of residential and non-residential lease agreements when made by the landlord;

– The lapse of residential and non-residential rental agreements, unless the tenant does not oppose to it;

– The effects of the revocation, the opposition to the renewal of housing leases and non-housing leases when made by the landlord;

– The term indicated at the article 1053º of the Portuguese Civil Code, if the expiration of such term occurs during the period in which such measures are in effect;

– The foreclosure of a mortgage on a property that is the party’s permanent residence, depending on the regular payment of rents from October to December 2020, unless the tenants are covered by the rent deferral regime.

This is one of several exceptional and temporary measures in response to the epidemiological situation caused by the coronavirus, and thus gives special protection to the families and their homes.

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Business Updates

IVAucher: how to help the sectors most affected by Covid?

An innovative mechanism was developed for the 2021 State Budget, which aims to mitigate the losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The government, to encourage consumption and support families, will allow consumers to accumulate the total amount of VAT they have borne on their consumption in certain sectors through the IVAucher.

To this end, it is foreseen that taxpayers may accumulate, for a quarter, the amount of the Value Added Tax (VAT) spent in the sectors of culture, restaurants and lodging, in payments evidenced in invoices with the taxpayer’s number and registered in the “e-fatura”. Later they will be entitled to an identical period to spend the accumulated credit on consumption in the same sectors.

In this program the adhesion depends on the previous free, specific, informed and explicit consent of each taxpayer.

As the final version of the State Budget will only be published in December, this mechanism may still be altered.

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COVID-19: Portugal may receive more 4.3 billion euros in addition to 15.3 billion euros

In addition to the already known 15.3 billion Euros in subsidization that Portugal could receive under the European Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RRM), Portugal could also potentially receive 4.3 billion Euros in loans.

In fact, the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), recently presented by the Portuguese Government in Brussels, foresees loans to invest in affordable public housing, company capitalization and the acquisition of railway rolling stock.

Of the 4.3 billion euros in loans, 2.7 billion euros would be destined to affordable public housing, 1.3 billion euros to corporate capitalization and financial resilience within Banco Fomento (in the housing and employment promotion modules), and 300 million euros to the purchase of railway rolling stock (for regional long-distance trains as part of sustainable mobility).

Portugal may also obtain up to 2026 an additional amount of 15.7 billion in low-interest loans. However, due to the country’s high level of public debt, the government states that priority will be given to the use of (non-refundable) grants worth 15.3 billion euros.

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