Who can work in Portugal?

Men and women over 16 years of age and with 10 obligatory minimum years at school fulfilled can work in Portugal. The normal age to draw a pension is 65 years, but it is permitted to continue to work thereafter.

What are the main sorts of labour contract that exist in Portugal?

• Indefinite term contract;

• Fixed-term contract, which is only permitted in limited circumstances; namely to substitute for absent workers, for seasonable activities; to satisfy the exceptional needs of the employer; for occasional tasks, for new activities, for unemployed, etc.

• Full time contracts (8 hours a day and 40 hours a week) or part time contracts (less than the full-time hours).

• Temporary work: for an employer who then assigns the worker temporarily to another employer.

There are also special rules for several kinds of contracts, e.g. contracts for domestic workers, students, rural workers, in ports, on board ships, for unions, for public enterprises; and in telework.

What are the main features of each of them?

The differences between indefinite term contracts and fixed term contracts concern the rights to terminate the contract and the amount of money to be paid (see hereunder).

As regards the other sorts of contracts, there are some obvious differences related to the duration of the work, the remuneration and several other issues.

What information should employees be given in Portugal?

The employer should inform the worker about the employer, the place of work, the category, functions and duration of the contract, the duration of the work (timetable), the duration of holidays, the amount and frequency of the remuneration to be paid, the number of the insurance policy against labour accidents, any applicable collective labour rules, details of the compensation fund and notice periods to terminate the contract. 


What are the main employment rights in Portugal?

• To be respected personally;

• To receive fair and adequate remuneration, paid promptly;

• To have fair conditions of work (both physical and moral);

• To have respect for the technical autonomy of the worker subject to deontological rules

• To be permitted to undertake union activities (with time limits);

• To prevent risks and professional illnesses;

• To be compensated for labour accidents;

• To receive adequate information to prevent accidents and illnesses.

What are the maximum permitted daily, weekly, monthly and annual working hours?

8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

These limits can be adapted in certain circumstances, subject to several limits.

Is there any minimum number of hours required?


What is the minimum holiday entitlement?

22 working days.

Can a contract be modified while still valid and in force? If so, under which circumstances?

Yes, by agreement. Without agreement, a contract can be varied in relation to the working place and the working activity and, under certain circumstances, in case of the need of the employer.

Are any particular employment relationships subject to special protection?

Yes, as mentioned above and there are also protections for pregnancy, motherhood, minors, students and “deficients” (i.e. people missing limbs).

Are there any obligations to consult with a works council and/or to undertake collective bargaining?

Yes, there are many rules in this area. 


When and how can an employer terminate an employment relationship?

In the case of a fixed-term contract term (which may be renewed for 3 years or, in some cases, 6 years), the contract can be terminated at the end of the term, with a notice in advance,

In the case of an indefinite term contract, an employee may be dismissed due to misconduct; in cases of collective dismissal; due to extinction of the working place; or due to the lack of adaptation by the worker to a new type of work.

In the case of insolvency of the employer, the administrator may terminate the contracts, when they are not necessary any more.

When and how can an employee terminate an employment relationship?

When the employer applies an abusive sanction or  causes damage to the worker or does not:

• fulfil important duties;

• pay the remuneration;

• respect the guarantees of the worker;

• does not respect the conditions of health and safety in the workplace.

When the employee needs to fulfil some duties incompatible with the work (e.g., military service) and when there has been a substantial and lasting change to the conditions of the work.

The worker may also terminate the contract with a notice in advance.

What are the economic consequences in each case?

When the dismissal is unlawful, the employee has the right to be reintegrated or, at his choice, to receive compensation, which the court may assess between 15 and 45 days of basic retribution (= normal monthly salary) plus diuturnities for each year of work with the employer, depending on the amount of the compensation and the seriousness of the unlawful behaviour of the employer. The employee also has the right to receive the normal retribution until the entering in force of the decision of the court about the unlawful dismissal.

In cases of collective dismissals, dismissals due to extinction of the working place and dismissals due to lack of adaptation of the worker, the employees have the right to 12 days of basic retribution plus diuturnities for each year of work with the employer;

When the employee terminates the contract with fair cause, the employer should pay compensation to them, which the court may assess between 15 and 45 days of basic retribution plus diuturnities for each year of work with the employer.

Are there any situations in which an employment relationship would terminate automatically and without the need for action by either party? If so, what are they?

In the case of the death of the employer (except if a successor employer continues the activity) or the extinction of the legal entity;When the work becomes definitively impossible.