Labour contracts

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Labour law in Portugal: Employment contracts and working conditions

If you’re landed a job in Portugal, here’s a guide to the types of employment contracts in Portugal, as well as details on the working week.

Before agreeing to your employment contract, you should consult Portguese labour law as a guide.

Employment contracts in Portugal

The minimum working age is 16 years. From the age of 18, a person can obtain an employment contract without completing school. There are several types of employment contracts;

Fixed-term contract: duration limited in time: generally six months, but may be shorter or longer, up to a maximum of three years.

Contract for an unspecified duration: lasts as long as necessary to replace an absent employee or to complete an activity, project or task outlined in the contract. This contract cannot last for more than six years.

Very short duration contract: up to a maximum of 60 days. This is only allowed in special cases such as seasonal agricultural work or tourist events.

Intermittent contract: used by companies performing an activity that is either intermittent or varies in intensity, whereby the employee works for a period, followed by one or more breaks. The employee must be employed full-time for at least six months each year, with four months of consecutive employment.

Part-time contract: weekly working hours of no more than 75 percent of the hours worked on a full-time basis. Can lead to a reduction in daily hours or the number of workdays per week.

Portuguese law requires fixed-term contracts of employment, contracts of unspecified duration, intermittent, and part-time contracts to be set down in writing. This requirement does not apply to contracts of very short duration.

When set down in writing, the contract must include the following information:

  • Identification of the employer
  • Identification of the employee
  • Object of the contract, including occupation/tasks to be carried out and payment
  • Starting date of the contract, and date of expiry if for a fixed term
  • Indication of the duration with justification for this
  • Location of the job
  • Normal working times

Working in Portugal

Business working hours may be slightly different to what you are used to. A typical working day in Portugal starts at 9am until 1pm with a two hour break for lunch, and then resumes at 3pm until 7pm.

The maximum legal working week in Portugal is 40 hours. Annual leave entitlement is 22 working days. There are also 12 obligatory public holidays and two optional ones.

The minimum wage in 2008 was EUR 426 per month, and rose to EUR 450 per month in 2009. Tax and insurance deductions amount to 25 percent of income.

Usually, all employees receive a bonus equal to one month’s salary in June and in December.

If you work in Portugal, you will have the same rights as a Portuguese person in terms of salary, working conditions, housing, vocational training and social security.

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