Labor Compliance Guide

Labor Requirements

Labor and employment law in Portugal are governed by the Portuguese Constitution, the Labor Code, and Labor Procedural Code. 

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

A standard workweek in Portugal is 40 hours, usually consisting of five eight-hour workdays, although the Labor Code emphasizes that employers have some flexibility in extending or reducing the workday under certain circumstances.

A “Hours’ Bank” regimen can also be introduced by a collective bargaining agreement or by agreement between employer and employees.

Averaging of Working Hours

The normal working period may be defined in average terms by means of a collective labor agreement. In such cases the daily limit of 8 hours may be increased up to 4 hours and the duration of weekly work of 40 hours may be increased to reach 60 hours, just not counting the extra work done by reason of force majeure.

The normal working period defined may not exceed 50 hours on average over a period of 2 months. Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts. 203, 210, 213 (Portuguese).


Overtime is paid based on hourly remuneration with the following accruals:

      • 25% for the first additional hour or fraction thereof in a working day;
      • 37.5% for subsequent hours or fraction thereof in a working day;
      • 50% per hour worked during a weekly rest day or bank holiday.

In addition to compensation, if employees work overtime on a mandatory weekly rest day, they are entitled to a day of paid rest on one of the following 3 days. Overtime is limited to 175 hours per year for employees of small companies and 150 hours per year for larger companies. Overtime performed by part-time workers is limited to 80 hours per year, although it may increase to 130 hours per year with an individual written agreement and 200 hours per year with a collective agreement. Employers must report the amount of overtime performed by employees to the Ministry of Strategy and Planning. Employers may only require employees to work overtime:

      • In order to cope with temporary increases in workload that do not justify hiring additional employees,
      • In cases of force majeure or
      • To prevent or address serious risk or damage to the enterprise or to ensure its viability.

Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts. 203, 211, 227-228, 268 (Portuguese).

Night Work

Night shift work is defined as work performed during a period with a minimum duration of 7 hours and a maximum duration of 11 hours. Night shift work is regarded as work between 10 p.m. on one day and 7 a.m. the next day. The normal working period of a night shift worker must not exceed 8 hours per day as a weekly average, calculated without counting the obligatory or any additional weekly rest days or public holidays. A night-shift worker is considered to be one who does at least 3 hours’ normal work during a night shift every day.


The remuneration for night shift work is 25% more than that paid for equivalent work performed during the day.


Employees may not work more than five hours without a rest break, which must be a minimum of one hour and a maximum of two hours. Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts. 203, 210, 213 (Portuguese).

Rest Period 

      • Workdays must be separated by a rest period of at least 11 hours.
      • Employees are entitled to at least one rest day per week. Sunday is the default day, but another can be substituted when business circumstances require.

Hours of Work: Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts.  210, 213 (Portuguese).

Public Holidays

Portugal generally has 13 compulsory public holidays:

      • New Year’s Day;
      • Good Friday;
      • Easter Sunday;
      • Freedom Day (April 25);
      • Labor Day (May 1);
      • Corpus Christi, Portugal Day (June 15);
      • Ascension (August 15);
      • Day of the Republic (October 5);
      • All Saints’ Day (November 1);
      • Restoration of Independence Day (December 1);
      • Immaculate Conception (December 8);
      • Christmas Day (Dec 25).

Employers must give their workers either paid leave on these days or in an agreement between the employee and employer, the day off can be taken on another day. Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts. 234, 268 (Portuguese).

An employee who works on a holiday is entitled to compensatory rest lasting half the number of hours provided or a 50% increase in the corresponding remuneration, being the choice of the employer. Employees must receive a 50% premium for per hour of overtime worked during a holiday. Article 269 of the Labour Code (amended by Law No. 23/2012 of June 25.

Annual Leave

Portuguese law guarantees 22 working days (not counting weekends) of annual leave for workers, due on January 1 each year. Several stipulations give specific guidance for employees who have fixed-term contracts:

      • First, employees who have been working under contract for less than one year, but more than six months are allotted two working days of leave for each month of their employment, up to 20 days.
      • Second, if the calendar year ends before an employee works six months, the accrued leave may be used before the following June 30th, however, a maximum of 30 working days may be used in a single year.
      • Lastly, contracts that are less than six months, entitle employees to two days of paid leave for every full month stipulated in the contract.

Scheduling of annual leave is decided through an agreement between employer and employee. The leave can be broken into periods of no less than 10 days. Annual leave is usually taken in full as an uninterrupted period, but it can also be broken up into periods of no less than 10 days. Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), art. 238 (Portuguese).

Minimum Wage

The national monthly minimum wage in Portugal is €740.8 as of January 1, 2020. 


The above information on minimum wages might not be up to date & subject to change. Kindly access the Eurostat website for the current rates.

Special Leave

Parental Leave

Parents of a newborn are entitled to an initial period of parental leave of 4 or 5 months (paid at 100%), after the birth of the child, but if they decide to share their leave, its duration is extended to 6 months (paid at 80%), where each of the parents is individually entitled to a period of 30 consecutive days, or two periods of 15 consecutive days, after the mother’s obligatory period of leave – six weeks from the date of birth.

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to 30 days of sick leave over a 12-month period. Benefits are paid by the Social Security Institute from the fourth day of illness (after a three-day waiting period). The amount of sickness benefits depends on the length and nature of the illness. It is equal to 55% of the average salary per day for the first 30 days of illness; 60% of the average daily remuneration for the disease from 31 to 90 days; 70% of the average daily remuneration for the disease lasting 91 to 365 days; and 75% of the average daily remuneration for the disease lasting more than 365 days.

Adoption Leave

On the adoption of children under 15 years old, the parents have exactly the same rights and their leave is likewise increased by 30 days where more than one child is adopted.

Maternity Leave

Employees who have been employed and made contributions to the social security system for at least six months are entitled to between 120 and 180 days of paid maternity leave, up to 30 days of which can be taken by the pregnant employee before childbirth. Mother and father can divide the leave between them as long as:

      • The mother takes six weeks of leave after childbirth and
      • The father takes five days of leave immediately after the birth and another 10 days within the next 30 days. (Fathers are also entitled to an additional 10 days of leave to be used during the time of the mother’s maternity leave).

If not shared, leave can be taken for 120 or 150 days; if shared, it can be increased to as much as 180 days. For leave to be considered “shared,” the parent taking the lesser amount must take at least 30 consecutive days or two periods of 15 consecutive days.


Parents who take 120 days of leave are entitled to compensation at 100 percent of their normal salary, whether the leave is shared or not. Parents who take 150 days of leave are entitled to 100 percent of compensation if the leave is shared, 80 percent if it is not. For multiple childbirths (twins, triplets, etc.), parents can take an extra 30 days of paid leave for each additional child. During pregnancy, if it is determined there is a risk to the health of the mother or of the fetus if the mother continues to work, the mother can take as much leave as necessary prior to birth.


If a parent taking leave becomes physically or mentally incapacitated, the other parent can take the leave that the incapacitated parent was entitled to. If the mother becomes physically or mentally incapacitated or dies, the father is entitled to at least 30 days of leave. A working grandparent is entitled to 30 days of paid leave upon the birth of a grandchild if the parent of the grandchild is under the age of 16 and resides in the grandparent’s home. Employers must allow parents of children under the age of 3 to telework if such work is compatible with the employee’s duties. Maternity leave is borne by social security. Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts. 40-47 (Portuguese).


Pregnant workers that are from an island and need to give birth in a continental hospital are provided with leave for the time period necessary to travel.  Labor Code (amended) 2019.

Paternity Leave

Fathers of a newborn can take paternal leave of up to 20 working days, followed or interpolated, within 30 days of the birth of the child, five of whom shall be taken consecutively immediately after the birth of the child. Father’s are also given the right to join the mother in three prenatal clinic sessions without loss of compensation. Fathers are also entitled to an optional leave of ten consecutive or non-consecutive working days, at the same time that the mother is taking her initial parental leave. Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts. 40-43 (Portuguese), Labor Code (amended) 2019.

Child Care Leave

Upon completing the complementary parental leave, parents are entitled to a child’s assistance leave, consecutive or intermittent, up to the limit of two years of duration. In the case of a third child or more, the license provided for in the previous number is limited to three years.

Sick Leave

Employees who have worked and made contributions to the social security system for at least six months and worked at least 12 days in the four months before the illness are entitled to sick leave at partial pay. Under the national health care system, employees are also entitled to medical benefits, subject to some cost-sharing, that include general and specialist care, maternity care, hospitalization, surgery, and certain medicines.


For the first 90 days of sick leave, the social security system pays employees 65% of their average earnings. For the 91st to the 365th day of sick leave, the rate increases to 70%, and thereafter the rate is 75%. The rate is higher for employees who are diagnosed with tuberculosis. In cases of tuberculosis, employees who have up to two dependent family members receive 80% of average pay; those who have three or more dependent family members get full pay. The sick leave benefit in most cases starts after a three-day waiting period. The waiting period is waived in cases of hospitalization, tuberculosis or childbirth. The maximum duration of sick leave is 1,095 days (three years). There is no time limit with respect to benefits for cases of tuberculosis. Sickness Allowance.  

Disability Child Leave

Parents are entitled to a leave of up to 6 months, extendable to four years, to provide assistance to a child who suffers from a disability or a chronic disease.


Workers whose child has any chronic disease or disability are provided with a leave of six months that can be extended until the child is six years old.

Training Leave

Employees who pursue any level of academic education may be classed as a student-employee, which allows them to ask for their working hours to be adjusted around these activities or to be released from work for up to six hours a week to attend classes without losing any of their rights. Their absence from work on those days when they sit the associated examinations will also be justified.

Personal Leave

Employees are also entitled to the following types of personal leave:

        • Leave for Death of a Family Member: Employees are entitled to five consecutive days of paid leave following the death of a spouse, parent, stepparent, child or domestic partner. They are entitled to two days of paid leave following the death of a sibling, grandparent or grandchild.
        • Family Care Leave: Employees are entitled to 30 days of paid leave per year to provide urgent and essential care for a family member younger than 12 years of age and 15 days for an older family member.
        • Marriage Leave: Employees are entitled to 15 consecutive days of paid leave after getting married.

Other Leave: Labor Code, 2009 (as amended), arts. 49, 51, 131, 249 (Portuguese).

Unpaid Leave

The employer may grant the worker, at his request a leave without pay for longer than 60 days for the frequency of training course administered under the responsibility of an educational or vocational training institution, or within the scope of a specific program approved by the Competent authority.

Last updated on: January 14th, 2021