Working in Portugal

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Kinds of employment

The minimum working age for employees is generally 16. However, a young person can only enter into a contract of employment if they have completed compulsory schooling. From 18 years of age upwards, a contract of employment may be entered into without completing compulsory schooling.


Types of employment contracts

Contract of employment of indefinite duration: no time limit.


Fixed-term contract of employment

Duration limited in time, normally for six months, though they may be shorter (in situations provided for by law) or longer, up to a maximum of three years (including renewals).


Contract of employment for an unspecified duration

Lasts as long as necessary to replace an absent employee or to complete an activity, project, work or task to which the contract relates. This contract cannot last for more than six years with renewals.


Very short duration contract of employment

Up to a maximum of 60 days. This is only allowed in special cases such as seasonal agricultural work or tourist events lasting no more than one week (brought in with the new Labour Code of 2009).


Intermittent contract of employment

Used by companies performing an activity that is either intermittent or varies in intensity, where the employee’s activity is interrupted by one or more periods of downtime. Such contracts must indicate the annual number of full-time working hours or days. The employee must be employed full-time for at least six months in each calendar year, with four months' consecutive employment (brought in with the new Labour Code of 2009).


Part-time contract of employment

Corresponds to normal weekly working hours less than those worked on a full-time basis in comparable circumstances, if the period is not the same in each week, and having regard to the average for the relevant reference period.


Tele-working contract

Provision of legally dependent labour, usually not on the employer’s premises, by means of information and communication technologies. This type of contract may not last more than three years which would provide sufficient time to buy a new home in Portugal


A number of different contracts are commonly used for temporary work: a temporary contract of employment, a fixed-term contract or an indeterminate contract (which cannot last for more than two years) or a contract of unspecified duration for temporary provision of service.


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