On Tuesday 21 December 2021, in an extraordinary Council of Ministers, the Portuguese Government voted to immediately implement measures to tackle COVID-19. These measures were originally scheduled to begin on 2 January but will come into force after Christmas.
Teleworking is again mandatory from 25 December for all workers with compatible roles. Portugal will be in restricted measures from 25 December to 9 January.
Social Security has already released information for employees to be able to request exceptional family support for the periods of suspension of activities from 27 to 31 December 2021 and from 2 to 9 January 2022.
This exceptional family support measure can be accessed by employees who are absent from work due to caring for children or other dependents under 12 years of age, or regardless of age if the child has a disability/chronic illness.
From 27 to 31 December 2021, the following support is available to these employees during the suspension:
- a) Early childhood support activities at day care centres, family day care centres and childminders, social support activities carried out in an activities and training centre for inclusion, and leisure centres;
- b) Teaching and non-teaching activities provided for in private special education establishments (as in Ordinance no. 12123-M/2021, published in the Diário da República, 2nd series, no. 239, from 13 December);
- c) Educational, academic and non-teaching activities in pre-school education establishments and those institutions of the first and second cycles of basic education, whose cooperation was planned for this period.
From 2 to 9 January 2022, employees who are absent from work for reasons of caring for children or other dependents under 12 years old, or regardless of age if they have a disability/chronic illness, may access exceptional family support – due to the suspension of classroom activities and non-teaching activities.
Employees who are working from home may also opt for exceptional family support if they find themselves in one of the following situations:
- a) if single-parent households
- b) if the household includes at least one child or other dependent who attends social facilities for early childhood support (nursery), pre-school or first-cycle basic education;
- c) if the household includes at least one dependent with a proven disability equal to or greater than 60%, regardless of age.
As in the past, the social security declaration must be completed by employees and submitted to employers. The submission serves as notice to the employer and must be made three days in advance of the start of support provision.
The value of the family support paid by social security will also be increased to ensure 100% of the employee’s base salary, with a limit of €1,995 in 2021 and €2,115 in 2022, if:
- a) The composition of the household is single-parent and the child, or another legal dependent;
- b) The two parents alternately benefit from the support, according to the following
- In periods of four to seven days, if each parent receives support for at least two days;
- In periods of less than four days, if one parent receives support for at least two days and the other for at least one day.
For those who apply for support from 27 to 31 December 2021, the 2021 minimum guaranteed monthly remuneration (MGMR) limits (€665) apply. The MGMR for 2 to 9 January 2022 is €705.
Exceptional family support cannot be combined with other COVID-19 support.
If you’d like any advice or information on these measures, contact our Portugal Team.