Digital work, virtual work and telework: DeepView Project conclusions on Portugal

Research output: Working paper


The statistics about virtual work in Portugal describe a not very significant neither widespread phenomenon. Despite early legislation supporting telework contracts in 2003, the topic continues to be discussed by political parties. The Socialist Labour minister stated that the government encourages the topic to be discussed but through the social dialogue channels and collective bargaining. Virtual work received little consideration from the social partners in social dialogue. Collective agreements considering virtual work were meagre. We detected significant collective bargaining outputs in the ICT sector and two company agreements in the health care sector, but did not found any convention mentioning telework in the finance sector.
Several reasons might account for this minor engagement of social partners with
virtual work. First, the country has recently come out of a difficult economic crisis marked by trends of company and job destruction, skilled emigration, industrial conflict, poor social dialogue and limited collective agreements. Second, trade unions face significant difficulties. Portugal has a significant low level of employees reporting the existence of trade unions or works council. Trade unions are not particularly strong in the three sectors we analysed. There are also cultural aspects that limit virtual work such as the organizational culture, which embedded in the systems, hierarchies and mentalities of managers and workers leads to difficulties to change working methods. These cultural difficulties are also reflected in both employers and unions position regarding virtual work. Last, low levels of digital literacy can also be constraining the spread of telework in the country.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCaparica
PublisherCICS.NOVA – Centro Interdisciplinar de Ciências Sociais
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Publication series

NameIET Working Papers Series
ISSN (Electronic)1646-8929


  • Virtual
  • Work
  • Telework
  • Trade unions
  • Industrial relations
  • Labour


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