Sistema laboral português
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Labour System


  • General framework

    In recent years, Portuguese employment law has undergone many changes and adjustments. Thus, after more than 30 years of legislative reforms, the Portuguese labour system is now more flexible, particularly in terms of organizing working time.


    In terms of regulations, the main law is the Labour Code, which was revised in 2009 (Law No. 7/2009 of February 12), 2011 (Law N. 53/2011 of October 13), 2012 (Law No. 23/2012 of June 25), 2013 (Law No. 69/2013 of August 30), 2014 (Law No. 27/2014 of May 8 and Law No. 55/2014 of August 25), 2015 (Law No. 28/2015 of April 14 and Law No. 120/2015 of September 1 ), 2016 (Law No. 8/2016 of April 1), 2019 (Law No. 93/2019, of September 4), 2021 (Law no. 18/2021, of April 8 and Law no. 83/2021, December 06) and 2022 (Law no. 1/2022, January 3).


    Law no. 1/2022, January 3, amended the regime of justified absences from work. Thus, from January 4, 2022 onwards, employees may be absent from work for up to 20 consecutive days after the passing of their children, stepchildren, godsons (in the framework of a civil custody relation), sons-in-law and daughters-in-law.


    Moreover, in case of death of an employee’s descendant or similar in first degree in the direct line or close family member, namely spouses or ascendant, employees are now entitled to receive psychological counselling in a National Health System establishment.


    On another hand, law no. 83/2021, December 5, which entered into force on January 1, 2022, altered the Labour Code and the Accidents at Work and Occupational Diseases Regime regarding the teleworking regime and the right to disconnect.


    With the changes set forth by this law, teleworking is now considered to be any work performed under legal subordination, in a place not determined by the company, and through the use of information and communication technologies, regardless of whether the work is performed in a fully remote basis or in a hybrid scheme. The duties that can be performed remotely and the conditions under which the company may accept the telework regime can be determined in the company’s internal rules of procedure.


    If an employee (whose duties are compatible with remote working and when there are available resources to that effect) requests to start working remotely, the employer’s refusal must be delivered in writing and must contain the reasons for the refusal.


    The period of duration of the teleworking agreement was also altered. As of January 1, 2021, the agreement can have a fixed-term of up to 6 months, automatically renewed for equal periods if none of the parties declare their opposition to the renewal, or a permanent duration, in which case either party can terminate it, by written notice given 60 days in advance.


    The agreement shall establish the place from which the employee will usually carry out their work, which will be considered, for all legal purposes, as their workplace, and which can only be altered through a new written agreement between the parties.


    On another hand, the array of employees entitled to render their work through telework when their duties are compatibles with said scheme, was extended to encompass more than victims of domestic violence and employees with children of up to 3 years.


    Henceforth, non-main informal caregivers are now entitled to render their duties in telework. In companies who employ 10 persons or more, employee with children over 3 and up to 8 years old are also entitled to this scheme in the following situations: (i) when both parents meet the conditions for teleworking and provided it is performed by both in successive periods of equal duration within a maximum reference period of 12 months; (ii) in single-parent households, and (iii) in situations where only one of the parents can prove that they meet the conditions for teleworking.


    The employer is responsible for providing the employee with the equipment and systems necessary for carrying out the work and with the necessary training for their use, but the employee may acquire said instruments directly, pending the employer’s approval. Regardless of the ownership of the equipment, the employer is always responsible for correcting any faults that may arise.


    The employer is obligated to compensate, in full, the additional expenses that the employee has proved to have borne with the acquisition or use of the equipment. This compensation is considered a cost for the employer for tax purposes.


    The employer is also obligated to respect the privacy, working hours and rest time of the employee and their family, as well as provide adequate physical and psychological working conditions. The capture and use of images, sound, writing, history, or other means of control that may affect an employee’s right to privacy are prohibited.


    When teleworking is carried out at the employee’s home, the visit to this place can only have the purpose of controlling the work activity and the work instruments and must be requested with a prior notice period of at least 24 hours, with the agreement and in the presence of the employee.


    Regarding organization, direction and work control, any remote work meetings must take place within working hours and preferably be scheduled in the working and preferably 24 hours in advance. Employees must be present at the company’s premises or other designated locations when summoned at least 24 hours in advance. The employer now bears the costs of these journeys if they exceed the normal cost of transport between the employee’s home and the place where they would carry out face-to-face work.


    Finally, this law also established new rules for Health and Safety Protection in the Work Place. Thus, the practice of teleworking in activities involving the use or contact with hazardous substances and materials is forbidden unless it is carried out in facilities certified for this purpose. In a similar fashion, the employer is obliged to comply with minimum health and safety requirements regarding work and equipment with screen display. The employee is obliged to give access to the workplace where they work to the professional designated by the employer.


    On another hand, Law no. 18/2021, of April 8, amended the Transfer of Undertaking legal framework. With this amendment, it is now stressed out that the transfer of undertaking (or part of undertaking that constitutes an economic unity) regime is applicable in case of tender procedures to execute service proving contracts.


    The service providing contracts that constitute a transfer of undertaking (or part of undertaking) may come as a result of public tender procedure or through any other procedure to select and execute service providing contracts, in public or private sectors, namely surveillance, food, cleaning or transport services.


    According to Portuguese law, both employer and employee representatives may request the participation of representatives of the Portuguese Labor Ministry (DGERT) in the negotiation meetings to be held between the parties.


    With the entry into force of Law no. 47/2021, of September 3, the “supervision” period of the collective bargaining agreements (in other words, the period during which the collective bargaining agreement is still in force after one of the parties withdrawals from it) was suspended for 24 months. Thus both “supervision” periods that started before March 10, 2021, and “supervision” periods that started after that date are suspended until March 10, 2023.


    Finally, with the amendment to Law no. 29/2017, of May 30, carried out by Decree-Law no. 101/2020, of December 7, the rules regarding the posting of employees in the framework of a provision of services in Portuguese territory and to the posting of employees to another Member-State by service providers established in Portugal was altered.


    With the entry into force of this Decree-Law, the legal protection of posted employees are increase, considering all that is set forth in the law and collective bargaining agreements which have been declared universally applicable, namely regarding the conditions of employee’s accommodation when provided by the employer and allowances of reimbursement of expenditure to cover travel, board and lodging expenses for employees away from home.


    On another hand, to employees posted by temporary employment agencies is now also applicable the same conditions applicable to the employees posted by temporary employment agencies established in Portugal. The user company is now obliged to inform the temporary agency of the applicable working conditions. If the user posts the temporary employee to another Member-State, it shall also be required to inform the temporary agency which hired out the employee in due time before the work starts.


    When the effective duration of a  posting exceeds 12 months, posted employees are entitled to all legal conditions set forth by law, regulation or administrative provision, as well as by collective bargaining agreements or arbitration awards which have been declared universally, applicable in the Member State where the work is carried out.


    Finally, the minimum wage applicable in the Member-State where the work is carried out is one of the guarantees that is now provided to posted employees, regardless of the length of the posting. Allowances specific to the posting are considered to be part of the employee’s remuneration unless they are paid in reimbursement of expenditure actually incurred on account of the posting.


    In this chapter, the most significant aspects of Portuguese labour law for business investment are described below.

1. Employment Contract

  • 1.1 Concept and preparation
  • 1.2 Trial Period
  • 1.3 Professional Training
  • 1.4 Types of Employment Contract
  • 1.5 Additional Contribution for Excessive Rotation
  • 1.6 Labour Contract under Service Commission Regime
  • 1.7 Lay-off: Reduction of activity or suspension of the labour contracts
  • 1.8 Termination of Employment Contract

    Revocation of Employment Contract

    The employer and the employee may agree to terminate an employment contract. A revocation agreement must be executed in writing. If the signatures of such agreement are recognized before a public notary, the employee cannot regret from his previous declaration to revoke the contract and may not, in principle, file a labour demand against the employer to claim other amounts not established therein.

    1.8.2. Dismissal of the employee

    Dismissal for Cause Attributable to the Employee 

    A employee’s wilful and guilty conduct is just cause for dismissal when, due to its seriousness and consequences, it becomes immediately impossible to continue the employment relationship.

    The following types of conduct are just cause for dismissal:

    a) Unlawful disobedience of orders given by superiors;
    b) Violation of the company’s employee rights and entitlements;
    c) Repeated provocation of conflicts with company employees;
    d) Repeated failure to fulfil obligations related to one’s position or job, with appropriate effort;
    e) Serious damage to the company’s assets;
    f) False statements regarding the justification of absences;
    g) Unjustified absences that directly lead to harm or serious risk to the company, or whose number reaches in each calendar year 5 consecutive or 10 interspersed absences, regardless of damage or risk;
    h) Wilful failure to follow safety and health rules at work;
    i) Engaging in physical violence, injuries or other offenses punishable by law, while at work, against employees of the company, members of governing bodies or an individual employer not belonging to these, their delegates or representatives;
    j) Kidnapping, or in general, any violation of freedom of the persons mentioned in the preceding item;
    k) Failure to comply with or opposition to fulfilment of judicial or administrative decisions;
    l) Abnormal reduction in productivity.

    Whenever a certain behaviour constitutes just cause for dismissal, the employer shall notify the employee in writing of the company’s intention to proceed with his/her dismissal, adding a statement of misconduct with a detailed description of the facts charged to the employee. On the same date, the employer sends copies of the notice and statement of misconduct to the employees commission, and if the employee is a union representative, to their respective employees union.

    The employee has then 10 business days to consult the documents and respond to the statement of misconduct.

    After this initial phase, and after the hearings proceedings, the dismissal decision must be substantiated and executed in writing.

    The decision results in termination of the contract as soon as the employee receives a copy or is notified or when not received by the employee in a timely manner due to the employee’s own fault.

    Whenever there is just cause for dismissal, the employee is not entitled to receive a compensation.

    Collective dismissal

    Whenever an employer decides to terminate employment contracts simultaneously or within a period of three months, including at least two or five employees, respectively, depending on whether they involve a micro or small companies, in the first case; or a medium or large company, in the second, provided that such termination is based on closing one or more sections or equivalent structures or on a reduction of the number of employees due to economic, structural or technological reasons – such procedure is called Collective Dismissal.

    For these purposes, the following definitions apply:

    a) Market reasons: a slowdown in business activity caused by an expected decrease of demand for goods or services; or a supervening legal or practical impediment to placing these goods or services on the market;
    b) Structural reasons: economic and financial imbalance, changing business, restructuring productive organization, or replacement of dominant products;
    c) Technological reasons: changes in technical or manufacturing processes, automation of production, control, or cargo-transport tools, as well as computerization of services or automation of means of communication.

    An employer that intends to carry out collective dismissals must initiate the procedures by notifying the employees and its representatives of its intentions and reasons.

    Furthermore, the employer must also labour authorities that a Collective Dismissal will take place.

    Subsequently an information and negotiation period has mandatorily to be. Generally, the labour authorities are present during this stage.

    Having reached an agreement with employees, or in its absence, after a certain period of time, the employer may issue the Collective Dismissal final decision. This decision has to be issued in writing and observing a prior notice period of:

    a) 15 days in advance, for an employee with less than 1 year of seniority;
    b) 30 days in advance, for an employee with seniority equal to or greater than one year but less than five years;
    c) 60 days in advance, for an employee with seniority equal to or greater than five years and less than ten years;
    d) days in advance, for an employee with seniority equal to or greater than ten years.

    In the event of a collective dismissal, the employee is entitled to a compensation calculated in accordance to the following rules (depending on the date of the execution of the labour contract):

    a) Entered into force before November 1st, 2011:

    ■ Regarding the period until October 31st, 2012: one month´s salary per each year of work;

    ■ October 31st, 2012 until September 30th, 2013: 20 days´ salary per each year of work;

    ■ After September 30th, 2013:

    - For the first 3 years of the labour contract’s duration: 18 days´ salary per each year of work;

    - For the remaining years: 12 days´ salary per each year of work.

    If the compensation regarding the period until October 31st, 2012 or until September 30th, 2013, exceeds the legal limits of 12 monthly wages or € 169,200.00 (240 times the national minimum wage) the severance pay will be limited to that amount.

    The compensation cannot be inferior to 3 months’ salary.

    b) Entered into force after November 1st, 2011, until September 30th, 2013:

    ■ Until September 30th, 2013: 20 days salary per each year of work;

    ■ After September 30th, 2013:

    - For the first 3 years of the labour contract’s duration: 18 days´ salary per each year of work;

    - For the remaining years: 12 days´ salary per each year of work.

    If the compensation regarding the period until October 31st, 2012 or until September 30th, 2013, exceeds the legal limits of 12 monthly wages or € 169,200.00 (240 times the national minimum wage) the severance pay will be limited to that amount.

    c) Entered into force after September 30th, 2013:
    12 days´ salary per each year of work, with the following maximum limits:

    ■ The salary used as a basis to calculate the compensation may not be higher than € 14.100,00 (20 times the national minimum wage);

    ■ The global amount of compensation may not be higher than 12 times the monthly salary or € 169,200.00 (240 times the national minimum wage).

    For a partial year, compensation is calculated proportionally.

    An employee is presumed to have accepted termination upon receiving compensation. This assumption may be rebutted as long as, simultaneously, the employee hands over the total cash compensation received or places it at the disposal of the employer, in any manner.

    The compensation rules that have just been presented are applicable to dismissal for Extinction of Workplace and Dismissal for Inability to Adapt.

    Dismissal due to Elimination of Job Position

    It is considered dismissal due to elimination of a job position when an employer terminates an employment contract and justifies it on said elimination, if due to economic, structural or technological reasons related to the business.

    Dismissal due to elimination of a job position may only take place provided that the following conditions occur:

    a) The reasons given are not due to a wilful misconduct of the employer or employee;
    b) The employment relationship is practically impossible to sustain (this occurs when the employer does not have another compatible job position with the professional category of the employee);
    c) There are not, at the company, fixed-term employment contracts for tasks related to those performed on the job being eliminated;
    d) Collective dismissal is not applicable.

    If in the section or equivalent structure there is a plurality of jobs with identical functional content, to determinate the job position to extinguish the employer must observe, by reference to the respective job holders, the following order of criteria:

    a) Worst performance evaluation, according to criteria previously known by the employee;
    b) Lower academic and professional qualifications;
    c) Greater costs to the company for maintaining the employment relationship of the employee;
    d) Less experience in the job position;
    e) Less seniority in the company.

    With dismissal due to elimination of a job, the employer must notify in writing the employees committee or, in its absence, the inter-union committee or union commission, and the employee involved, and if the employee is a union representative, the respective trade union.

    During the ten days following notice as stipulated above, the employees representative body, the employee involved, and if the employee is a union representative, the respective union association, may send to the employer a justified opinion, as well as alternatives to mitigate the effects of the dismissal.

    A dismissal decision shall be written.

    The employer shall notify its decision in a copy or transcription to the employee involved (and if the employee is a union representative, to the respective trade union), to the employees committee (or in its absence, to the inter-union committee or the union committee), and also to the inspectors office of the ministry responsible for labour, with the same advanced notice as with collective dismissals.

    Dismissal for Inability to Adapt

    Dismissal for an inability to adapt results in the employer’s termination of an employment contract when an employee is unable to adapt to the job.

    This inability to adapt occurs in any of the situations described below, when it becomes practically impossible to continue the employment relationship, based on the way in which the employee does his or her job:

    a) Continual reduction of productivity or quality;
    b) Repeated mistakes in job-related duties;
    c) Risks to the employee’s health and safety, or of other employees or third parties.

    A employee’s inability to adapt also occurs due to the technical complexity of duties or directions when objectives previously agreed upon in writing are not met as a consequence of the employee’s job performance, making it practically impossible to continue the employment relationship.

    Dismissal due to an inability to adapt in the above mentioned situations may only take place provided that the following requirements are all met:

    a) Changes to the job have been implemented due to changes in the manufacturing or marketing processes, new technology or equipment based on different or more complex technology, in the 6 months prior to starting the dismissal process;
    b) Adequate professional training has been provided for the changes in the workplace under the supervision of the responsible party or a certified training entity;
    c) After the training, the employee was given an adaptation period of at least 30 days on the job or outside of the workplace, if the duties for that position are likely to cause damage or risks to the safety and health of the employee, other employees or third parties;
    d) There is no other available, compatible job at the company matching the employee’s professional qualifications;

    In the case of dismissal due to an inability to adapt, the employer must notify in writing the employees commission, or in its absence, the inter-union committee or the union committee, the employee, and if the employee is a union representative, the respective trade union.

    During 10 days after the notice, the employees representative body, the employee involved, and if the employee is a union representative, the respective union association, may send a justified opinion to the employer, in particular about the reasons for the dismissal, and the employee may also present any evidence that he/she deems relevant.

    Five days after this deadline, the employer may finalize the dismissal, though a justified decision in writing.

    The employer shall report the decision by copy or transcription to the employee (and, if the employee is a union representative, to the respective trade union), to the employees commission, or in its absence, to the inter-union committee or the union commission, as well as to the inspector’s office of the ministry responsible for labour, with at least as much advance notice as with a collective dismissal.

    During the 90 days following dismissal due to an inability to adapt, the employment level must be maintained at the company by hiring or transferring a employee during the dismissal process for reasons not attributable to him.

    Unlawful Dismissal

    The dismissed employees may file a claim before a Labour Court in order to challenge the termination of their labour contracts.

    If the Court decides that there was any illegal procedure or lack of reasons or formalities on the dismissal, he employees may choose between being reinstated in the company, or receive a compensation ranging between 15 and 45 days of base remuneration plus seniority bonus per each year or fraction of year of seniority, with a minimum of three months of base remuneration plus seniority bonus.

    On both situations, the employees shall be entitled to the salaries which they would have received if the dismissal had not taken place and to an eventual compensation for damages suffered.

    1.8.3. Employee’s Termination of Employment Contract

    Unilateral Termination of the Labour Contract by the Employee with Just Cause

    If it becomes immediately impossible to continue the employment relationship in ways to be considered as just cause, an employee may terminate it immediately.

    For instance, failure to make timely payment of compensation that lasts for 60 days is a justifiable reason, or when the employer, at the employee's request, states in writing that it expects not pay the wages owed, by the end of that period.

    The employee must notify the employer in writing of the termination of the contract, stating briefly the facts that justify the termination, within 30 days of becoming aware of the facts.

    In this event, the employee is entitled to compensation to be determined between 15 and 45 days of base pay and seniority pay for each year worked, depending on the amount of compensation and the extent of the employer’s unlawful conduct, and may not be less than 3 months of base pay and seniority pay.

    In the event of a partial year worked, the amount of compensation is calculated proportionately.

    In the case of a fixed-term contract, compensation cannot be less than the amount of wages owed.

    If the just cause for termination of the contract is not proven, the employer is entitled to compensation of damages caused, not less than the amount calculated in the below mentioned terms in the case of termination without prior notice, as described below.

    Unilateral Termination of the Labour Contract by the Employee without Just Cause

    Notice of termination: the employee may terminate a contract regardless of cause by notifying the employer in writing at least 30 or 60 days in advance, depending on whether he or she has worked, respectively, up to 2 years or for more than 2 years.

    Collective bargaining regulation and the employment contract may increase the prior notice period by up to 6 months for an employee who holds a management or executive position, or one who has representative or responsibility duties.

    In the case of a fixed-term contract, termination may take place with notice given 30 or 15 days in advance, if the contractual duration is at least 6 months or less.

    Termination without notice: a employee who does not comply in whole or in part with the notice period must pay the employer compensation in an amount equal to base pay and seniority pay for the period in question, without limitation to compensation for damages caused by not abiding by the notice period or the obligation assumed in an employment commitment agreement.

    1.8.4. Working Compensation Fund, Equivalent Mechanism and Working Compensation Warranty Fund

    Law No. 70/2013 of August 30 introduced the legal framework of the Working Compensation Fund, the Equivalent Mechanism and the Working Compensation Warranty Fund.

    Only employment contracts celebrated after October 1, 2013 are under the regulation of this law.

    Employers are obligated to contribute with a value equal to 1% of the employee’s monthly remuneration to the referred funds, in each month.

    The objective of these new funds is to guarantee that the employees will receive, at least, half of the compensation he is entitled to in case of contract termination.

2. Remuneration

  • 2.1 General rules on remuneration
  • 2.2 Defining the salary's amount

    When defining the salary’s amount, the quantity, nature and quality of work should be taken into account, observing the principle that, for equivalent work or work of equal value, there shall be equal pay.

    Hourly wage is calculated according to the following formula:

    "MS" x 12
      52 x "n"

    where “MS” is the monthly salary, and “n” is the normal weekly work period.

  • 2.3 Guaranteed Monthly Minimum Wage

3. Working Hours

  • 3.1 General Framework

4. Holidays, Vacations and Absences

  • 4.1 Holidays
  • 4.2 Vacations
  • 4.3 Absences

5. Collective Representation, Strikes and Lock-outs

  • 5.1 Collective Representation
  • 5.2 Strikes
  • 5.3 Lock-out

6. Specifics of Employment Contracts for Foreigners

  • 6. 1 General Framework

7. Visas and Residency Permits for Foreigners

  • 7.1 Visas
  • 7.2 Residence Permit
  • 7.3 Long-Term Resident Status
  • 7.4 Golden Residence Permit Programme


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