Government admits providing teleworking assistance to parents Coronavirus

Parents who telework and have children at home due to the closure of schools do not have access to exceptional family support, which is paid for by Social Security. And when the opposition joins parliament to expand this instrument, the government admits it is exploring a solution to support those who engage in the activities from home.

In an interview with Jornal de Negócios and Radio Antena 1, the finance minister first stated that the executive branch currently has no action on the horizon. “At that point, the government proposed restoring the mechanism it had used in the past to families who are unable to work because of their children. At the moment we did not foresee anything and we have to assess the situation to understand what it is … ”.

However, he then admits that the government “assesses the situation and understands what measures it needs to adjust” so that Parliament does not take decisions “with financial implications for the current budget”.

When asked if he would like to extend the support, João Leão replied: “We must have this ability at all times in order to evaluate the right support model. At this point the government had decided to regain the support requested in the second quarter, which had been the subject of a consensus in the supplementary budget … “

At that moment, an employee is not only excluded from support, but also excluded from an employee if the other member of the couple is working.

The change in the government’s position comes after the PCP and the Left Bloc requested a parliamentary evaluation of the diploma that includes this measure and after the PSD announced that, as part of the parliamentary evaluation, it will “submit proposals for changes in support large families and single parents who telework and have difficulty accompanying their children, ”PSD MP Clara Marques Mendes told Business last week.

The Ombudsman, Maria Lúcia Amaral, has received complaints from workers – in particular call center staff and teachers – who “are faced with situations incompatible with the demands of their family life, particularly when they have dependent children or are under 12 years of age old to study at home ”. .

The situation prompted the Provedora team (deputy utility Joaquim Costa) to write to the government recommending a change in the law. He suggested to the executive “to consider the possibility of extending these existing measures to these workers: to provide parents with the right to adequate financial support through the exceptional regime of justified absences from work; or enable the placement of children in schools, as is still possible for children of essential service workers (such as health professionals or the police).

For the Ombudsman, “the teleworking regime, as a mandatory rule, when compatible with work activity, may collide with urgent assistance to a child or other dependent under 12, or be borne by a handicap or chronic illness regardless of age by workers. On the other hand, because of its scope and continuity, this support is in many cases an obstacle to adequate work performance. From both perspectives, the fundamental rights of workers are at stake, such as the right to work-life balance and the right to protection of the family as a fundamental element of society. “

The complaints that the Ombudsman has received have in common “the fact that the complainants are responsible for children or other dependent persons under 12 years of age, some even months old, whose due and necessary assistance is clearly affected under the current regime”.

In the letter sent to the government and published on the Provedora website, Maria Lúcia Amaral’s team gives as a “very illustrative example” of this difficulty the case of two mothers who wrote to her: “Both workers in a call center and with the other member of the respective household in an identical employment situation ”.

“Since they have to constantly talk to customers on the phone and count the times and can only interrupt work for reasons of force majeure, if this has been expressly approved, they have to constantly look after and monitor their young children – in one of the situations, a 2 years old; in the other an 8-month – totally dependent. It also sheds light on the situation of a teacher who is solely responsible for a 4 year old son and who will soon resume work at a distance, which means that at the same time more than the already demanding teaching needs to be ensured according to your schedule, permanent support for your child which is not autonomous in all aspects of its life, ”read the letter from the Deputy Ombudsman.