Despite significant progress in preventing occupational accidents in recent years, the number of occurrences in Portugal is still high. In fact, Portugal is one of the European countries with the highest number of work accidents, and expatriates who decide to leave to live and work in Portugal are sometimes poorly prepared or lost to the complexity of Portuguese laws in case accident occurring at work. Of course, some industries are more at risk of accidents - the construction sector continues to be the most affected both in terms of the number of accidents and the severity of accidents - but the truth is that an accident at work can happen to anyone, any time, whatever the profession. Indeed, an accident that occurs on the way back from work can be considered and taken care of as an accident at work. What is the definition of a work accident in Portugal ? How to recognize it ? What are the rights and duties in case of work accidents ? Lisbob, the expatriate assistant in Portugal, tells you all about what you need to know about work-related accidents.
When are accidents considered as work accidents?
You may not know it, but in Portugal if you have an accident on the way to your company or on your way home, this accident is considered a work accident. In Portugal, any accident occurring in the workplace or during working time is considered as an accident at work - working time is the time of travel to and from the place where you will practice your professional activity.
Working in Portugal is also knowing the laws. In these circumstances, if the accident directly or indirectly causes bodily injury, functional impairment or illness, and if it leads to a reduction in working capacity or even death (in the most serious situations), the accident is considered a work accident.
To sum up, all accidents occurring in Portugal are considered to be occupational accidents in Portugal:
1 - At the place and during the working time, that is to say during the normal period of activity of the functions, the previous and next period devoted to the preparation for the professional activity, as well as during the mandatory breaks ;
2 - On the way to the place where the work is performed;
3 - During the performance of tasks not requested by the employer, but may nevertheless bring economic benefits to the employer;
4 - At and outside the workplace, as a representative of the employee and to exercise his right of assembly;
5 - When they participate in training courses which take place in their usual place of work or outside their usual place of employment, their frequency being authorized by their employer;
6 - At the place where the payment of the salary is made and during the time when it must remain there for the same purpose (in case the salary is received in cash or check delivered by hand);
7 - In places where he should be treated because of a previous work accident;
8 - In carrying out activities requested or authorized by his employer, even if they take place outside the place or time of work;
9 - During the period provided for by law to the worker to seek a new job. This period benefits workers whose layoff process is in progress.
Workers' compensation insurance
Portuguese legislation provides for the registration of workers' compensation insurance as a means of protecting the health and safety of workers. Thus, all workers in Portugal are covered by a policy covering the provision of medical care and the payment of a disability allowance, whether temporary or permanent. So do not worry if you decide to work in Portugal, your employer has the obligation to take out insurance for you.
Is one compensated in the same way regardless of the accident?
Whatever the circumstances in which work-related accidents occur, whether caused by a wrongful act of the employer - for example, if the employer does not ensure safe working conditions for workers in an environment exposed to risks - or not, the worker is covered by the accident insurance contracted by the company and must be jointly and severally liable for the payment of compensation provided by law.
Law No. 98/2009 of 4 September regulates the compensation of accidents at work and occupational diseases. However, this does not mean that the employer can not be held responsible. If you decide to go to work in Portugal, know that the law protects workers.
Does the compensation change because of the reason for the accident ?
Depending on the causes of the accident, the degree of compensation following an accident at work in Portugal varies. If it is established that the employer is at the origin of the accident, the compensation covers all losses, both material and non-material, suffered by the worker and his family, in accordance with Article 18 Law 98/2009 of the 4th of September.
Electronic communication of work accidents in Portugal
All enterprises, with the exception of enterprises with fewer than 10 workers (micro-enterprises), self-employed workers and domestic workers, are obliged to transmit work accidents electronically. However, if they prefer to do it electronically, they can and should do it. Electronic participation is quick and easy to achieve and it is advantageous that, as far as possible, the participation of an accident be done in this way.
This communication must be done by computer within 24 hours of the date on which you became aware of the accident and must be made by the employer to the insurer concerned. If the employer does not fulfill this obligation, he incurs a serious offense. If you work in Portugal and your employer does not want to send the information, you can remind him of his homework and the big fines he faces.
You can make the communication of work accidents by clicking here.
All insurers have the right to receive an accident at work electronically and their response must be quick, with obvious benefits for the injured worker and the employer.