Amendments to exceptional and temporary measures concerning the COVID-19 pandemic

Legal Alert no. 135

On November 22, 2020, Decree-Law No. 99/2020 was published, having entered into force on November 23. It amends the exceptional and temporary measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, of which we highlight the following:

I. Social, economic and tax benefits

The validity of medical certificates for multipurpose disability whose validity has expired in 2019 or expires in 2020 is extended until December 31, 2021, provided that they have attached a document attesting the disability assessment request for the corresponding reevaluation, dated before the expiration date.

II. Exceptional regime for doctors’ recruitment by companies in the public sector of the National Health Service (“SNS”)

Until 31 December 2020, the respective maximum administrative bodies are granted management autonomy to conclude permanent employment agreements with doctors specializing in anesthesiology, cardiology, infectious diseases, internal medicine, intensive care medicine, clinical pathology and pulmonology, by companies in the public business sector of the SNS, without any formalities, with the purpose of streamlining the procedure for hiring doctors with specialties especially required to fight the pandemic.

III. Deferral of tax and contributory obligations for the months of November and December 2020

With regard to tax obligations, micro, small and medium-sized companies who are included in the quarterly VAT payment scheme, or who have started their activity as of January 1, 2019, may, in November 2020, pay their tax:

a) Until November 30, 2020; or
b) In three or six monthly installments, with a value equal to or greater than € 25, without interest.

With regard to contributory obligations, independent workers and employers from the private and social sectors qualified as micro, small and medium-sized companies are entitled to an extraordinary deferral of payment of contributions for November and December 2020.

Contributions which are the responsibility of the employer and contributions of self-employed workers can be paid in three or six equal and successive installments, without interest:

a) From July to September 2021;
b) From July to December 2021.

This extraordinary deferral is not subject to a request and employers and self-employed workers must indicate, in February 2021, in the Direct Social Security website, which payment term they intend to use.

Notwithstanding, payment in installments does not prevent full payment of contributions due by employers.

Failure to meet the requirements for access to the deferral of payment of contributions, or failure to pay one of the installments, entails that all the installments in default are immediately due, as well as the termination of the interest exemption.

IV. Exceptional measures applicable to tourist developments

Tourist developments may, exceptionally and temporarily, provide all or part of the accommodation units that compose them for other compatible uses, namely:

a) Long-term accommodation, with or without provision of services;
b) Office and co-work spaces;
c) Meetings, exhibitions and other cultural events;
d) Showrooms;
e) Education and training; and
f) Social rooms of day centers or other groups or organizations

In this sense, the respective exploiting entities should, on the one hand, guarantee the articulation of the new uses with its tourist activity, whenever it remains; and inform the Institute of Tourism of Portugal, I. P., through the National Register of Tourist Developments, the identification of the corresponding accommodation units and the number of beds to be affected to uses other than tourist exploitation.

This measure is effective until December 31, 2022.

V. Mandatory implementation of teleworking regime in special situations

Without prejudice to the possibility of adopting the teleworking regime in general terms, it is now mandatory to implement teleworking regime, regardless of the employment relationship, whenever the tasks at stake allow it and the worker has the required conditions to execute them, without the need for a written agreement between employer and worker, when:

a) The worker, through medical certification, is covered by the exceptional protection regime for immunocompromised and chronically ill patients;
b) The worker has a disability with a degree of disability equal to or greater than 60%;
c) The worker has a child or other dependent who is under 12 years old, or, regardless of age, with a disability or chronic illness, who, according to the guidelines of the health authority, is considered to be a risk patient and who finds it impossible to attend school and formative activities in a group or class context.

To access the full text of Decree-Law No. 99/2020, of 22 November, please click here.

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