Bordered by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is quickly becoming one of Europe’s most important hubs for startups and tech. With an economy that keeps growing, Portugal is a popular destination for digital nomads and workers at major tech companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.
In Portugal, employee leave is regulated by labor laws that focus on ensuring workers strike a balance between work and personal time. Portuguese employees typically enjoy a generous annual leave entitlement, often ranging from 22 to 25 paid vacation days per year, depending on the length of their service and the specific collective labor agreements in place.
In addition to annual leave, employees in Portugal are entitled to other forms of leave, such as sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, and public holidays, which collectively contribute to a well-rounded and supportive work-life balance for workers in the country.
Portuguese employees are entitled to 17 public holidays each year. Employers are required to give employees off for each public holiday with holiday pay.
New Years Day
January 1, 2023
February 2, 2023
April 4, 2023
April, 9 2023
April 25, 2023
May 1, 2023
June 1, 2023
June 8, 2023
June 10, 2023
July 1, 2023
August 15, 2023
October 5, 2023
All Saints Day
November 1, 2023
Restoration of Independence
December 1, 2023
December 8, 2023
St. Stephen’s Day
December 26, 2023
In Portugal, vacation leave, known as "férias," is a fundamental aspect of employment rights and plays a significant role in promoting work-life balance.
Workers are entitled to a minimum of 22 paid vacation days per year, with the potential for additional days depending on factors like seniority and collective labor agreements. Employees can take their vacation leave up until April 30th of the following year. Portuguese labor laws specifically restrict employers from giving employees additional pay in lieu of taking their holiday leave.
New hires (employees who have worked less than a year) are entitled to 20 days off in their first year of working for a company. The accrue 2 days of paid leave for each month of service and cannot use their vacation until they’ve been employed for at least 6 months. If the calendar year ends before 6 months, the vacation days are extended until 30 June the following year. If the employment starts in the first half of the year, the employee is entitled to 8 days of vacation after completing 60 workdays.
Employers and employees can also agree that:
If the employee takes their leave between January 1-April 30, they can receive 3 extra days of leave
If the employee takes their holiday entitlement in two 11-day periods (January to April and May to October), they can receive 2 additional days
Portugal has one of the most extensive sick leave entitlements in the world. Employees in Portugal that are sick can receive benefits for up to 1,095 days.
Sick leave pay breaks down as follows:
55% of the average daily earnings for the first 30 days
60% from the 31st day to the 90th day
70% from the 91st day until the 365th
75% of the average daily earnings for every day after.
Employers cover the first 3 days of sick pay at 89% of the employees daily wage and then the Portuguese social security system kicks in.
Employees must meet the following requirements to receive benefits:
Have a doctors note that states they are unable to work
Have worked for 6 consecutive months before the onset of the illness
The initial parental leave is granted to the father or mother for between 120-150 consecutive days and can be used by either parent.
Leave can be taken by both parents and can only be granted for 120 days in the case of a stillbirth.
The parental leave period can be extended for 30 days if:
The leave is shared, and each parent exclusively takes 30 days in a row or two periods of 15 consecutive days, after the mother's mandatory 42 days
Giving birth to twins
If the initial parental leave is not shared, and without prejudice to the rights of the mother, the initial parental benefit may be granted to the father
In cases of shared leave, the mother and the father are required to inform their employers about the beginning and end of the periods to be taken by each parent, up to 7 days after childbirth, or at the end of the period of hospitalization by submitting a joint declaration or, where applicable, a declaration from the other parent stating that is engaged in a professional activity.
If no declaration is submitted, the mother is entitled to the parental allowance.
In cases where the child is admitted to the hospital immediately after the recommended period of postnatal hospitalization due to the need for special medical care, the initial parental leave of 120 or 150 days is increased by the period of hospitalization following special rules.
Parents may, after 120 consecutive days of leave, enjoy a part-time leave of 3 months, reconciling parenthood with a normal work period equal to half of the full time.
New mothers are entitled to 30 days of maternity leave at full pay by the Social Security system before the child’s birth and 42 mandatory days following childbirth. In cases of twins, employees are entitled to an additional 30 days after.
Biological or adoptive new fathers are entitled to 28 mandatory days of leave that can be taken consecutively or not in the 42 days following birth. 7 of the days must be taken immediately after birth.
If the child is admitted to the hospital immediately after birth, the leave may be suspended at the father’s request for the duration of the hospitalization. The leave is paid for by social security. Each period is increased by 2 days in the cases of twins.
Employees can receive carers leave to care for ill or injured family members including:
30 days per year for children under the age of 12, or the child of another member in the family with a chronic disability or illness
15 days per year for children over the age of 12, a partner or family member, including the mother, father, sister or brother of the employee
Employees are entitled to 2 days of bereavement leave but must provide the employer with the applicable documents.
Employers must have a workers compensation policy in place in case of workplace injury. Employees are entitled to 75% of their earnings for the first 12 months of disability and 75% for any time after the first 12 months.
Potential new parents through adoption are entitled to take leave to carry out the process.
For children under the age of 15, the potential new parents are entitled to 120-150 days of parental leave.
In the cases of multiple adoptions, the period of leave will increase by 30 days.
New mothers should try to schedule prenatal visits outside of their working hours. However, they are eligible to take time off to prepare and plan for the birth of their child.
New fathers are entitled to 3 days of leave to accompany their significant other to prenatal care visits.
A new mother (or father in cases of bottle feeding) is entitled to 2 daily leave periods of up to 1 hour for breastfeeding. Part-time employees are entitled to 2 daily leave periods as well but reduced to 30 minute breastfeeding periods.
New parents have the right to leave to care for a child up to a limit of two or three years in case of a third child or more.
An employee can leave if the other parent exercises a professional activity or is impeded or totally inhibited from exercising parental rights.
To exercise the right, the employee shall inform the employer in writing and with 30 days' notice.
Parents have the right to leave for a period of up to 6 months, which may be extended to 4 years, in order to care for a child with a disability, chronic illness or oncological illness.
The parents with children under 1 year are entitled to a reduction of 5 hours in the normal working week, or other special working conditions to care for the child.
After the end of the leave, there is a right to participate in professional training and refresher courses organized by the employer.
Employees may be absent for up to 30 consecutive days following the birth of a grandchild living with an adolescent parent under the age of 16.
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