It is with the typical phrase we usually hear when travelling by plane – “Attention crew: doors in armed position and crosscheck”, that we take off for the recent legislation passed by the Portuguese Government on the rights of mobile staff in civil aviation.
On 15 March 2022, Decree-Law No. 25/2022 was published, establishing flight time limits, duty time and rest requirements for civil aviation mobile staff, applicable, among others, to commercial air transport operations carried out by airline companies whose headquarters are located in Portugal.
The new regulation is of particular importance as it aims to ensure flight safety, inherently for the passengers, in other words, for all of us.
According to this new law, mobile staff in civil aviation are entitled to a free medical examination to assess their state of health, to be provided by the employer before their assignment and at regular intervals thereafter.
Those suffering from health problems directly related to work, or even partially related to work, at night, shall be transferred as,far as possible, to mobile or non-mobile day work to which they are suited.
The airline company shall establish a safety and health protection plan appropriate to the nature of the work performed by mobile staff in civil aviation, and this plan should provide that appropriate protection and prevention services, and means with regard to safety and health, are available to workers.
It is also laid down that there must be comfortable and reclining chairs on board, separate from the flight deck and isolated from the passengers, to rest either a third or a quarter of the cabin crew, depending on whether the flight duty period is longer than 16 hours or between 14 and 16 hours.
In addition, split flight duty periods, which include in whole, or in part the critical time of the circadian rhythm, may only occur by planning not more than twice in seven consecutive days, with a rest period including a local night in between.
The crew member is entitled to, at least, seven local days off for each calendar month, and 96 local days off for each calendar year.
The new regulation also establishes the possibility of reporting the violation of crew members’ rights to the National Civil Aviation Authority, within seven days.
The new rules will thus allow for greater safety of the cabin crew and respective passengers, without prejudice to the rules that have been negotiated in collective bargaining, when more beneficial.
We therefore hope that the focus on the defence of rights will last over time, regardless of economic conditions, in order to contribute to the good performance of companies in air safety.
Have a nice flight!
Cláudio Rodrigues Gomes @ DCM | Littler