Living and working in Portugal

18 October 2017

  •   Population: 10.3 million (2017)
  •   Real GDP growth: 1.5% (2016)
  •   Unemployment rate: 11.2% (2016)

Data source: Eurostat

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Eurofound strives to strengthen the ongoing link between its own work and national policy debates and priorities related to quality of life and work. Increasingly important in this context is the Europe 2020 growth and jobs strategy launched in 2010, which has five headline targets, covering employment through to social inclusion and poverty reduction. The strategy is implemented in the context of the European Semester process – the EU's annual cycle of economic policy guidance and surveillance – which ensures that Member States keep their budgetary and economic policies in line with their EU commitments through, in part, National Reform Programmes. These programmes form the basis for the European Commission's proposals for country-specific recommendations (CSRs) for each Member State.

European Commission: The European Semester
​European Commission: The European Semester - EU country-specific recommendations
European Commission: European Semester documents for Portugal

2015 Eurofound EWCS survey results in Portugal: 87% of people think their safety is not at risk because of their work

Survey results

Satisfaction with quality of life
Data source: 2012 EQLS survey

Ability to choose or change
methods of work

Data source: 2015 EWCS survey

Possibility to accumulate overtime
for days off

Data source: 2013 ECS survey

News and quarterly country updates

Eurofound contacts in Portugal

Correspondents in Portugal

Correspondents report on topics related to developments in the countries working life and inform Eurofound’s pan-European comparative analysis. Read more

Consortium Study Centre for Social Intervention (CESIS) / Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies (ISCTE-IUL)

Eurofound governing board members form Portugal

Eurofound's Governing Board represents the social partners and national governments of all Member States, as well as the European Commission. Read more

Manuel Roxo Ministry of Labour and Solidarity - Authority for Working Conditions

Marcelino Pena Costa Confederation of Trade and Services of Portugal - CCP

Carlos  Manuel dos Anjos Alves General Workers’ Union (UGT)

Related content

Other country-specific information may be available in certain areas on demand. Please feel free to contact your country contact at Eurofound for this or any other information at information@eurofound.europa.eu

Working life in Portugal

About

  • Author: Heloísa Perista, Maria da Paz Campos Lima and Paula Carrilho
  • Institution: CESIS

This profile describes the key characteristics of working life in Portugal. It aims to complement other EurWORK research by providing the relevant background information on the structures, institutions and relevant regulations regarding working life. This includes indicators, data and regulatory systems on the following aspects: actors and institutions, collective and individual employment relations, health and well-being, pay, working time, skills and training, and equality and non-discrimination at work. The profiles are updated annually.

Key figures

Key figures

Comparative figures on working life in Portugal

 

2011

2016

% (point) change
2011–2016

Portugal

EU28

Portugal

EU28

Portugal

EU28

GDP per capita

16700

25800

16900*

26900

1.2%

4.3%

Unemployment rate – total

12.9

9.7

11.2

8.5

-1.7

-1.2

Unemployment rate – women

13.2

9.8

11.3

8.7

-1.9

-1.1

Unemployment rate – men

12.6

9.6

11.1

8.4

-1.5

-1.2

Unemployment rate – youth

30.2

21.7

28.2

18.7

-2.0

-3.0

Employment rate – total

73.6

71.1

73.7

73.0

0.1

1.9

Employment rate – women

69.5

64.8

70.5

67.4

1.0

2.6

Employment rate – men

78.0

77.5

77.2

78.6

-0.8

1.1

Employment rate – youth

38.2

42.5

33.2

41.6

-5.0

-0.9

*estimated data

Source: Eurostat - Real GDP per capita (chain linked volumes [2010], in EUR) and percentage change 2011-2016 (both based on tsdec100). Unemployment rate by sex and age - annual average, % [une_rt_a]; Employment rate by sex and age - annual average, % [lfsi _emp_a].

Background

Background

Economic and labour market context

Between 2011 and 2016, Portugal’s GDP grew 1.2%, lower than the EU average of 4.3% for the same period. During this time, there was a decrease in unemployment, which stood at 11.2% in 2016. The EU average for the same year was 8.5%. Female employment rate increased slightly from 2011 and stood at 70.4% in 2016, higher than the EU average of 67.4%. Total employment rate in 2016 was 73.7, slightly higher that the EU average for the same year, 73%. 

More information on:

Legal context

The main legislation covering the employment relationship and industrial relations in force are the Labour Code (Código de Trabalho) that regulates the private sector and the General Labour Law in Public Functions  (Lei Geral do Trabalho em Funções Públicas) that regulates the public sector.

The 2009 Labour Code was subject to seven amendments between 2011 and 2014, during the centre right government PSD/CDS, mostly to comply with the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Troika institutions – the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These amendments introduced regulations to increase labour market flexibility and decentralise collective bargaining (Law 23/2012), to allow the suspension of collective agreements in companies in crisis and to shorten the periods of validity and survival of collective agreements (Law 55/2014). The rules on the extension of collective agreements were modified by the Resolution 90/2012 which introduced criteria based on employers’ associations representativeness  (to employ more than 50% of all employees in the industry concerned); and later by  the Resolution 43/2014  that added new alternative criteria, i.e., that the number of members of the employers’ association consist at least of 30% of micro, small and medium enterprises.

The amendments to the Labour Code introduced in 2015 aimed at improving gender equality at work and parental rights. The amendments introduced in 2016, in the new political cycle of the government of the Socialist Party supported by left parties, re-established four civil and religious holidays (Law 8/2016) that had been supressed in 2012; and introduced new rules to combat modern forms of forced labour (Law 28/2016), considering  not only the criminal responsibility of subcontractors and temporary staffing agencies, but also the responsibility of company users. In the public sector, the most important changes were the reversal of nominal wages cuts that had been in place since 2011 and the re-establishment of the 35 hour week in the public sector, through the second amendment (Law 18/2016) to the General Labour Law in Public Functions. 

Industrial relations context 

In Portugal, industrial relations democratic institutions emerged in the context of the revolutionary transition to democracy post 1974. After almost half a century of dictatorship and the longest authoritarian corporatism in Europe (Wiarda, 1977; Schmitter, 1982, 1999), the new democratic state played a major role in the 1970s to improve labour standards and in the configuration of the system of industrial relations. The political influence of trade union and employer confederations was encouraged by the institutionalisation of tripartite concertation, a process that started in 1984 and gained increasing relevancy (Campos Lima and Naumann, 2011). In the late 1980s and in the 1990s, tripartite social pacts played a central role in conditioning collective bargaining towards wage moderation, although CGTP – the most representative trade union confederation – did not sign them. In contrast, UGT signed all those social pacts.

The labour code 2003, a centre–right government initiative, reversed the principle of favor laboratoris and introduced mechanisms to speed up the termination of collective agreements and reduce their period of validity after expiring. Collective bargaining entered into crisis in 2004, with a sharp decline of the level of renewals of collective agreements and respective coverage (only 600,000 workers). A recovery of collective bargaining was facilitated by the medium-term tripartite agreement in 2006 on the trajectory of the minimum wage signed by all social partners. By the year 2008, when the international financial crisis occurred, around 1,800,000 workers were covered by collective agreement renewals, representing around 65% of total employees (excluding public administration). The 2009 Labour Code, a socialist government initiative, introduced new rules: re-establishing partially the favor laboratoris principle; further facilitating the unilateral ‘caducity’ of collective agreements and reducing their survival period; and introducing the possibility of non-union negotiations at firm level, based on trade union mandate (Campos Lima and Abrantes 2016; Campos Lima, 2016).  The 2003 Labour Code had opened the way for employers to withdraw unilaterally from existing collective agreements, but due to loopholes in the law, this did not apply to some very important agreements (mainly in manufacturing). The revision of the Labour Code in 2009 removed all obstacles for the withdrawal from agreements.

The measures and legislation imposed in the period 2011-2014, during the centre–right coalition, in line with MoU requirements (and beyond), reduced even more drastically the bargaining power of trade unions. Legislation gave more room for non-union representatives to negotiate at firm level.  The period of survival of collective agreements was even more reduced, encouraging employers to withdraw unilaterally from existing agreements. Stricter conditions (based on representativeness of employer organisations) were required for the extension of collective agreements. It became possible to proceed to the suspension (derogation) of collective agreements for companies in crisis. All these changes combined with the economic crisis led to a dramatic decline in the level of collective agreement renewals and workers covered, which reached the lowest historical levels in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (Campos Lima, 2016).

The increase of the minimum wage in 2015 and 2016  (in connection with tripartite agreements) and the milder exigencies introduced by the 2014 rules on the extension, contributed to some recovery of collective bargaining, but there is still a long way to go.  This is one of the challenges of the present socialist government. The left parties that support the government and CGTP have been asking for an in-depth revision of the legal framework of collective bargaining in order to fully re-establish the principle of favor laboratoris and to allow collective agreements to expire only following a joint decision of the parties. The debate on the minimum wage increase for 2017, and on labour market reforms and collective bargaining at the CPCS, initiated in the last quarter of 2016, culminated in the signature of the Tripartite Commitment for a Mid-term Concertation Agreement in January 2017 and the signature of the Amendment to the Tripartite Commitment in February 2017 (see section Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation). 

Actors and institutions

Actors and institutions

Trade unions, employers’ organisations and public institutions play a key role in the governance of the employment relationship, working conditions and industrial relations structures. They are interlocking parts in a multilevel system of governance that includes European, national, sectoral, regional (provincial or local) and company levels. This section looks into the main actors and institutions and their role in Portugal.

Public authorities involved in regulating working life

In Portugal, the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security (Ministério do Trabalho, Solidariedade e Segurança Social, MTSS) approves and implements policies related to employment, vocational and qualification training, labour market and industrial relations through the Directorate-General for Employment and Labour Relations (Direção-Geral do Emprego e das Relações de Trabalho,  DGERT) and the Working Conditions Authority (Autoridade para as Condições do Trabalho, ACT). DGERT is responsible for supporting the development of policies, legislation and regulations on employment and vocational training and on industrial relations, including working conditions and health, safety and well-being at work.

ACT is responsible for promoting improved working conditions by ensuring compliance with labour regulations and for promoting occupational risk prevention policies in public administration departments and bodies, and in all sectors of activity.

Two other bodies are able to pursue inquiries in cases of occupational disease or other damage to health that occurred during work or are related to work. The Social Security Institute (Instituto da Segurança Social,  ISS), through the Protection against Occupational Risks Department (Departamento de Proteção Contra os Riscos Profissionais), is responsible for managing the treatment and recovery from illness or disability arising from occupational hazards. The Directorate-General of Health (Direção-Geral da Saúde, DGS) is one of the main stakeholders in the definition, promotion and enforcement of occupational health policy, through its Environmental and Occupational Health Division (Divisão de Saúde Ambiental e Ocupacional). The DGS is responsible for promoting the assessment of the relationships between work and health/ill health and evaluating the impact of work on health (disability and death). It is also responsible for supporting the development of policies, legislation, regulations, guidelines, etc. on health surveillance.

Representativeness

Portuguese legislation does not provide rules regarding criteria and mechanisms to access the representativeness of trade unions and employer associations and regarding the implications of representativeness in social dialogue institutions and collective bargaining. All officially registered unions or employer associations are entitled to engage in collective bargaining. What counts is mutual recognition.

The MoU required that the extension of collective agreements should be based on representativeness, both of trade unions and employer associations. The legal changes in 2012 and in 2014 referred only to employer representativeness/representation. In the 2012 version, they had to represent 50% of employment in the sector, in many sectors an impossible target. In the 2014 version their membership has to include 30% of micro, small and medium enterprises, to be allowed to extend the collective agreements.

More information on representativeness of the main social partner organisations can be found in Eurofound’s representativeness study of the cross-industry social partners or in Eurofound’s sectoral representativeness studies.

Trade unions

About trade union representation

The right to organise in a trade union (liberdade sindical) is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and by the Labour Code. Very few groups are excluded from this right, namely members of the armed forces and militarised security forces.

Measuring trade union membership in Portugal is a particularly difficult task because most unions do not provide updated and accurate information. Since 2010, the annual mandatory survey (Relatório Único/Ordinance 55/2010) for all companies in the market sector (Relatório Único/Ordinance 55/2010) includes a question to employers about the number of employees affiliated to trade unions. As highlighted in the Green Paper on Labour Market and Industrial Relations (Dray (coord.), 2017), the percentage of companies that indicate unionised workers is less than 4% and the data on unionised workers points to a union density between 11% and 9% in the period of 2010-2014. Furthermore, these data do not include the public sector where trade union density is always much higher.   

Published data (Visser, ICTWSS 5.1., 2016) show a remarkable stability of union density in Portugal until 2011.  It would be necessary to do further in-depth research in order to check whether this picture reflects the real trends. The latest published data (Visser, ICTWSS 5.1, 2016) reported that CGTP comprised around 460,000 members in 2011 and UGT around 193,000 in the same year and that independent unions comprised around 19,000 members. There is some discrepancy between this data and the own assessment by trade union confederations, in particular by UGT. According to the CGTP report (13th congress of CGTP /February 2016), this confederation has lost almost 64,000 members in the last four years, one-tenth of the 614,000 members it had in 2012.  UGT reported (Expresso, 20 April 2016) they had lost 80,000 members in those four years, estimating they have at present around 420,000 members.

Union density is particularly high in public administration and in large state-owned companies, and it is above the average in transport and manufacturing.

Trade union membership and trade union density

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Source

Trade union density in terms of active employees

19.3

18.3

18.5

n.a

n.a

n.a

(Visser ICTWSS 5.1, 2016)

Trade union membership in 1,000s

770

723

700

n.a

n.a

n.a

(Visser ICTWSS 5.1, 2016)

Main trade union confederations and federations

There are two trade union confederations (CGTP and UGT) that have access to tripartite social concertation at macro level (Standing Committee for Social Concertation, CPCS).

Main trade union confederations and federations

Long name

Abbreviation

Members

Involved in collective bargaining

General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses – Intersindical Nacional)

CGTP-IN

In 2011, approximately 460,000

Source: ICTWSS Database 5.1 September 2016 in XLSX, J. Visser, (AIAS), University of Amsterdam

 

No, not directly (only via its member organisations)

 

General Union of Workers (União Geral de Trabalhadores)

UGT

In 2011, approximately 193,000

Source: ICTWSS Database 5.1 September 2016 in XLSX, Jelle Visser, (AIAS), University of Amsterdam

 

No, not directly (only via its member organisations)

Union Federation of Financial Sector (Federação Nacional do Sector Financeiro)

FEBASE (UGT)

At present, approximately 79,000 (large share of retired workers)

Source: Data based on results of internal elections at the three unions in the banking sector and authors’ estimates of membership of the two unions in the insurance industry

Yes

Federation of unions of Metal Chemical, Electric, Pharmaceutical, Paper, Printing, Energy and Mining industries (Federação Intersindical das Indústrias Metalúrgicas, Químicas, Eléctricas, Farmacêutica, Celulose, Papel, Gráfica, Imprensa, Energia e Minas)

FIEQUIMETAL (CGTP-IN)

Due to a broad and complex process of mergers carried out by FIEQUIMETAL during the past few years, it is difficult to estimate the membership numbers of this federation, but FIEQUIMETAL probably has between 70,000 and 90,000 members

 

National Federation of Teachers (Federação Nacional dos Professores)

FENPROF (CGTP-IN)

60,000

Source: Data based on results of internal elections at the member unions

 

National Federation of Public Sector Trade Unions (Federação Nacional dos Sindicatos da Função Pública)

FNSFP (CGTP-IN)

Between 50,000 and 65,000

Source: Data based on results of internal elections at the member unions

 

Federation of unions of Textile, Wool, Clothing, Footwear and Leather workers (Federação dos Sindicatos dos Trabalhadores Têxteis, Lanifícios, Vestuário, Calçado e Peles de Portugal)

FESETE (CGTP-IN)

50,000

Source: Data based on results of internal elections at the member unions

 

During the past 15 years, the most comprehensive and profound restructuring among Portuguese unions was carried out by FIEQUIMETAL. The process began in 1999 with the merger of CGTP’s metal and chemical and chemical workers’ federations and was continued in 2007 with the integration of the electrical workers’ federation. In 2010, eight of FIEQUIMETAL’s member unions merged into four newly created regional unions covering several branches of manufacturing. In the same year, the national Union of Paper and Printing Workers integrated itself into these four new organisations. FIEQUIMETAL now covers the following sectors: metal, chemical, electrical, pharmaceutical, paper and pulp, graphical, press, energy and mining.

Another important structuring process occurred in 2007 when UGT’s three banking and two insurance unions created the National Federation of the Finance Sector (FEBASE). During the same year, CGTP’s transport and communication unions founded FECTRANS. In contrast to FIEQUIMETAL, the creation of FEBASE and FECTRANS did not result in restructuring the member organisations.

Employers’ organisations

About employers’ representation

The Constitution guarantees the right to organise voluntarily and protects against any coercion to affiliate in an association, and the Labour Code specifies this right for employers’ organisations.

As regards the legal status of interest associations, there is an important distinction between the employers’ organisations that are recognised as social partners on the one hand and pure trade associations on the other.

The main employers’ organisations that are represented in the most important cross-sectoral, national institution for social dialogue, the Permanent Commission of Social Concertation (Comissão Permanente de Concertação Social, CPCS) are:  the Entrepreneurial Confederation of Portugal (Confederação Empresarial de Portugal, CIP), the Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal (Confederação do Comércio e Serviços de Portugal, CCP), the Confederation of Farmers of Portugal (Confederação dos Agricultores de Portugal, CAP), and the Confederation of Portuguese Tourism (Confederação do Turismo Português, CTP).

The Entrepreneurial Confederation of Portugal was founded in 2010 as a result of the merger of the Confederation of Portuguese Industry (CIP) with the two large national entrepreneurial associations, AIP and AEP. With this merger, CIP consolidated its leading role in the employers’ camp.

There are no published membership data regarding employers’ organisations. However the annual mandatory survey to all companies in the market sector (Relatório Único) includes a question to employers about their affiliation in employers’ associations and their number of employees, which allows to estimate the overall employers’organisations density in terms of the percentage of companies that are affiliated (19%  in 2014) and in terms of active employees (39% in 2014), as reported in the Green Paper on Labour Market and Industrial Relations

Employers’ organisations ­– membership and density

 

2012

2013

 Source

2014

Source

Employers’ organisation density in terms of active employees

-

34%

ECS 2013 survey question: ‘Is your company a member of any employers’ organisation which participates in collective bargaining?’

39%

National Source: Relatório Único/ Green Paper on Labour Market and Industrial Relations

 

Employers’ organisation density in private sector establishments*

n.a.

-

European Company Survey 2013

19%

National Source: Relatório Único/ Green Paper on Labour Market and Industrial Relations

 

* Percentage of employees working in an establishment that is a member of any employers’ organisation that is involved in collective bargaining.

Main employers’ organisations

There are two main employers’ confederations (CIP and CCP) covering more than one sector that have access to the body of tripartite social concertation at macro level (Standing Committee for Social Concertation, CPCS).

Main employers’ organisations and confederations

Long name

Abbreviation

Members

Year

Involved in collective bargaining

Entrepreneurial Confederation of Portugal (Confederação Empresarial de Portugal)

CIP

Approximately 820,000 (without members of Chambers of Industry and Commerce)

Source: Authors’ calculations based on data provided by CIP

2013

No, only via its members

Confederation of Trade and Services of Portugal (Confederação do Comércio e Serviços de Portugal)

CCP

No data

-

No, only via its members

Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation

The tripartite body for social concertation at macro level is the Standing Committee for Social Concertation (Comissão Permanente de Concertação Social – CPCS). It was created in 1984 and produced several agreements on income policies, setting reference values for the wage increases in collective bargaining. In 1990 and 1996, broad pacts covering a wide range of areas were signed. These agreements were only signed by one trade union confederation, UGT; CGTP-IN did not sign any of them.

In 1991, the first specific agreements were signed at the CPCS: one on health and safety at the workplace and the other on vocational education and training. After the last broad agreement signed in 1996 (which was also the last agreement with guidelines for wage bargaining), this new type of specific agreement became the dominant means of social concertation until 2008. CGTP-IN signed several agreements of this type. The areas covered by these specific agreements were health and safety (1991, 2000, 2006), occupational training (1991, 2000, 2007), public pension schemes (2001, 2006), and the minimum wage mid-term agreement (2006). The tripartite agreements of 2008 and 2012 encompassed again a large number of issues including the revision of labour legislation, both against the opposition of CGTP. Analysis of social dialogue under the shadow of Troika and of tripartite agreement 2012 suggest that mostly the government combined unilateral decision with subordinating social dialogue to MoU demands and that no significant trade-off was really achieved (Campos Lima and Abrantes, 2016;  Almeida et al, 2016).  

Since the last quarter of 2014, tripartite concertation with a focus on the minimum wage regained importance with the signature of a tripartite agreement. In the new political cycle, under the government of the Socialist Party supported by the left parties, another tripartite agreement was signed with a focus on the implementation of the minimum wage update for 2016.

Moreover, the debate on the minimum wage increase for 2017 and on labour market reforms and collective bargaining at the CPCS initiated in the last quarter of 2016 culminated in the signature of the Tripartite Commitment for a Mid-term Concertation Agreement in January 2017 and the signature of the Amendment to the Tripartite Commitment in February 2017.

This Tripartite Commitment comprises the 2017 minimum wage update and a fiscal measure benefiting SMES and also the compromise to promote joint actions to improve collective bargaining and modernise the labour market, including:

  • the bipartite commitment between trade union and employer confederations (extended also to the state as an employer) to commit their constituencies (unions, employer associations, single employers) not to require unilaterally the expiry of collective agreements during a period of 18 months (starting January 2017);
  • the aim of reaching another tripartite agreement in 2017, based on the debate of the Green Paper on Labour Market and Industrial Relations on the following issues: measures to combat labour market segmentation; revision of the regime of wage guarantee fund;  and discussion of a proposal regarding the framework and legal deadlines for the extension of collective agreements.

Main tripartite and bipartite bodies

Name

Type

Level

Issues covered

Standing Committee for Social Concertation (Comissão Permanente de Concertação Social, CPCS)

Tripartite

National

All issues related to work relations, employment, economic and social affairs; agreements may refer to political strategies and/or to specific measures

Workplace-level employee representation

The rights of works councils and trade union organisation at the company level are guaranteed by the Constitution and regulated by the Labour Code.

The competences of works councils are largely limited to information and consultation. The legal possibility of unions delegating their ability to sign collective agreements to works councils (created in 2012) will probably not have any effect in practice.

Unions have the exclusive right to sign legally binding collective agreements and to call for strikes. Union structures at company level (delegates or committees) are involved in collective bargaining if the trade union board wants to be. It is the board who makes the decisions in relation to the negotiations.

Data from the ECS confirm the findings of a survey in the 1990s: the trade union delegates are the most numerous bodies (in terms of establishments and employees covered).

Regulation, composition and competences of the bodies

 

Regulation

Composition

Competences of the body

Involved in company level collective bargaining?

Thresholds/rules when they need to be/can be set up 

Workers’ Commission (Comissão de Trabalhadores, CT)

Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and Labour Code

Workers elected by all employees of the company

No, but since 2012 the Labour Code (Article 491-3) allows unions to delegate their right to collective bargaining to representative bodies at company level. This includes CTs.

(The central competence of CTs is information and consultation.)

CTs can be created in all companies. There is no threshold.

Trade union delegate (Delegado Sindical)

Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and Labour Code

Delegate elected by the members of the respective union employed in the company

Involved via their trade union. The signing party of collective agreements is always the union.

Union delegates may be elected in all companies. There is no threshold.

Union Committee (Comissão Sindical, CS) or Inter-union Committee (Comissão Intersindical, CIS)

Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and Labour Code

Constituted by Union Delegates of one (CS) or several (CIS) unions

Involved via their trade union(s). The signing party of collective agreements is always the union.

Union Committees and Inter-Union committees may be elected in all companies. There is no threshold.

 

Employee representation at establishment level

In the figure, we see a comparison between Portugal and European Union for the people with 'Establishment size : All' when asked 'Official structure of employee representation present at establishment'. For the 'Yes' answer, Portugal's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'No' answer, Portugal's score is higher than the European Union score. The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Collective bargaining

Collective bargaining

Bargaining system

Collective agreements are published in the Ministry of Labour’s official bulletin and are legally binding. There are no collective agreements on wages in public administration. The economic and social crisis in 2011–2013 combined with the introduction of stricter criteria to extend the agreements (2012 and 2014) implemented under the Memorandum of Understanding resulted in a collapse of collective bargaining at all levels – but with more impact in sector multi-employer bargaining – while the intended decentralisation did not take place. Although the number of company agreements as a percentage of total agreements increased, this was more the result of the fall in sector-level agreements than of an increase of company bargaining. In 2016, the 58 company agreements signed represented 39.6% of all collective agreements, and represented only around of 5.0% of the workers covered by collective bargaining (DGERT, 2017).

Wage bargaining coverage

Until 2011, the potential coverage of revised collective agreements used to be 50% or more. Since then, there has been a dramatic decline of the level of renewals and coverage that declined to only 17% in 2012 and to 10% in 2013 and 2014. (Campos Lima, 2016). In its most recent edition (2015), the government survey Quadros de Pessoal registered an 81.3% total coverage of all legally existing agreements in the private sector. This ‘accumulated coverage rate’ includes a large number of agreements that have not been reviewed for many years and have therefore lost a large part of their regulatory capacity. The share of workers covered by collective agreements that were reviewed or newly published during 2015, on the other hand, was only 22.4% of the workforce in the private sector, i.e. it only covered around 568,900 employees. Some recovery was observed in 2016 as the number of workers covered increased to around 749,348 an increase by 32% compared with 2015. (Relatório sobre a Regulamentação Coletiva de Trabalho publicada no ano 2016, Ministry of Labour, DGERT).

Collective wage bargaining coverage of employees at different levels

Level

 

Source

All levels

79%

 

85%

 

2010 – SES

2010 - author’s own calculations, based on Quadros de Pessoal 2010 and DGERT/Relatório sobre Regulamentação Coletiva de Trabalho 2010.

All levels

69%

81%

2013 – ECS

2013 - author’s own calculations, based on Quadros de Pessoal 2013 and DGERT/Relatório sobre Regulamentação Coletiva de Trabalho 2013.

All levels

81%

2015 – author’s own calculations, based on Quadros de Pessoal 2015 and DGERT/Relatório sobre Regulamentação Coletiva de Trabalho 2015.

Sources: Eurofound, European Company Survey 2013 (ECS), private sector companies with establishments >10 employees (NACE B–S) – multiple answers possible; Eurostat, Structure of Earnings Survey, companies >10 employees (NACE B–S), single answer: more than 50% of employees covered by such an agreement. For more information on the methodology, see here; Quadros de Pessoal/DGERT/Relatórios sobre a Regulamentação Coletiva de Trabalho (2010-2016).

Collective bargaining coverage – national data

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Source

Potential bargaining coverage of agreements revised in the respective year (in the private sector)

 

17.0

10.1

10.0

22.4

na

Author’s own calculations, based on GEE/ME, Quadros de Pessoal (2012-2015) e DGERT/Relatórios sobre Regulamentação Coletiva (2012-2015).

Bargaining coverage of all legally existing agreements (in the private sector)

 

81.9

81.0

80.5

 

 

81.3

 

 

 

na

 

Author’s own calculations, based on GEE/ME, Quadros de Pessoal (2012-2015) e DGERT/Relatórios sobre Regulamentação Coletiva (2012-2015).

Bargaining levels

Since the creation of the Portuguese collective bargaining system in the 1970s–1980s, the most important level by far has always been the sector or branch. The agreements at this level referred to more than 90% of the total workforce potentially covered by all levels of collective bargaining. There are no collective agreements at cross-sector level. Bargaining at company level is important in some sectors (such as in public utilities). In practice, there is no decentralisation in collective bargaining in Portugal.

Levels of collective bargaining, 2016

 

National level (intersectoral)

Sectoral level

Company level

 

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Principal or dominant level

 

 

X

X

 

 

Important but not dominant level

 

 

 

 

 

 

Existing level

 

 

 

 

 X

 X

Articulation

Up to 2009, company agreements could only be signed by trade unions. Since 2009, company bargaining can be also conducted by non-union bodies in companies above 500 employees; and since 2012 in companies above 150 employees – but still under the delegation of trade unions (Article 491 No. 3 of the Labour Code, with the changes introduced by Law No. 23/2012). However, agreements of this particular type have not been signed since the creation of that possibility, as documented in the Green Paper on Labour Market and Industrial Relations (Dray, 2017). Moreover, there is no significant articulation between bargaining levels, insofar as company agreements are not subordinated to the framework of sector collective agreements. For instance, it is possible that the trade union that signs a given company agreement is not the same trade union that signed the sector agreement in force. Competition between unions (affiliated to CGTP, UGT or independent) and expiry of sector collective agreements contribute to that possibility. On the other hand, Law No. 23/2012 made it possible for collective agreements to include clauses of articulation between levels, but very few agreements signed since then have included such a type of clause (Martins and Agapito, 2016).

Timing of the bargaining rounds

The period between the signature of an agreement and its publication in the Official Bulletin of the Ministry of Labour (BTE) may vary between a few weeks to a few months.

There are large variations in the duration of bargaining rounds between sectors and years. This is a second difficulty in determining the part of the year when bargaining rounds usually take place.

The present crisis in bargaining and the resulting low numbers of agreements do not allow significant patterns of timing to be identified, as it was possible to do before the crisis.

In general, bargaining rounds take place on a yearly basis, in connection with wage bargaining.

Coordination

Trade union confederations follow up on sector bargaining and provide some guidance but it is at the sector or federation level that coordination with lower-level units takes place. High-level employers implicitly coordinate changes among their lower-level affiliates. During the first decade of tripartite concertation at macro level (1987–1997), wage bargaining coordination took the form of tripartite macro agreements on income policies (Campos Lima and Naumann, 2011). Non-binding tripartite agreements on the increase of the national minimum wage may have an influence on collective bargaining because they put pressure on the lower parts of the existing wage tables. This occurred during 2008–2010, when the national minimum wage exceeded the lowest wage groups of many collective agreements, and more recently in 2015-2016.

Extension mechanisms

Collective agreements can be extended by a decree issued by the Ministry of Labour. Until the crisis, this was a pervasive practice in many sectors.

A restrictive change in the regulation of extension decrees in 2012 (see the section on legislation and on representativeness) reduced extensions to a marginal number and contributed to the deep crisis in collective bargaining. In 2014 the regulation was changed again, opening the way for a less restrictive practice. This had little effect until now because the deadlock in collective bargaining continues.

Derogation mechanisms

Law 23/2012, established the possibility of ‘open clauses’ by allowing collective agreements to specify that rules on geographical mobility, working time and wages can be set by agreements on another level (as required by the Troika MoU). However no cases were reported of agreements including this type of clauses (Martins and Agapito, 2016; Dray, 2017).  

Derogations in a strict sense were not possible until recently, but this changed in August 2014. The seventh revision of the Labour Code introduced the possibility to temporarily suspend collective agreements in the case of a severe crisis that ‘gravely effects the normal activity of the company’. The suspension is only possible if the respective employers’ organisation(s) and trade union(s) sign a written agreement for that purpose.

Expiry of collective agreements

The 2003 Labour Code introduced mechanisms to speed up the termination of collective agreements and reduce their period of validity after expiring. The 2009 Labour Code further facilitated unilateral ‘caducity’ of collective agreements and reduced their survival period, in line with Troika MoU requirements legislation in 2014 (see the section Legal context). Expiration becomes effective if one of the signing parties officially ‘denounces’ the agreement, thus triggering the process of caducity. This process takes at least 14 months (starting on the date of denunciation) for the agreement to be effectively cancelled. The employees who were covered by the agreement before its caducity individually keep a set of rights stipulated in the agreement, such as their remuneration, their category/function, working time and social protection. The employer associations and companies have been the protagonists of the unilateral requirements for the caducity of agreements. The legal measures had undermined union power and the quality and balance collective bargaining. The recent initiative of a bipartite agreement to suspend the requests of caducity during 18 months acknowledge to a certain extent the problem and its implications for the recovery of collective bargaining in Portugal.   

Other aspects of working life addressed in collective agreements

Collective agreements encompass a large number of issues but in the few last years collective bargaining had given priority to wage bargaining and working time flexibility. This has been also the case in 2015, when regulations on working time accounts and other forms of working time flexibility were addressed in a number of collective agreements (Martins and Agapito, 2016, Dray, 2017).  

Industrial action and disputes

Industrial action and disputes

Legal aspects

In Portugal, strikes (in the strict sense of a strike proper, greve clássica) are the most widely used form of industrial action by far. Other forms of industrial dispute, such as sit-ins and other disruptive actions, were relevant during the revolutionary period (1974–1975) and its aftermath, but they do not occur any longer. An exception may by when workers at a factory that is closing try to stop the withdrawal of equipment and material from the establishment in order to avoid their sale before the company has paid its debt to the dismissed workforce.

Incidence of different forms of industrial action between 2010 and 2013

Work-to-rule or refusal to do overtime

13%

Work stoppage or strike for less than a day

12%

Strike of a day or more

31%

Blockade or occupation

3%

Note: Percentage of private sector establishments reporting any form of industrial action during the indicated period.

Source: European Company Survey 2013

Industrial action developments, 2012­–2015

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Working days lost per 1,000 employees

44.4

32.5

-

8.0

--

Number of strikes

127

119

-

75

--

Top four reasons

Wages (26.9%)

Working conditions (19.5%)

Statute of the company (8.5%)

Employment and training (6%)

Wages (19.5%)

Working conditions (17.1%)

Statute of company (17.1%)

Employment and training (12.5%)

-

Wages (17.9%)

Working conditions (15.0%)

Statute of company (8.1%)

Employment and training (6.3%)

--

Source: Ministry of Economy (GEE 2014a, 2014b); GEP, 2016

Dispute resolution mechanisms

Collective dispute resolution mechanisms

The Labour Code regulates the following collective dispute resolution mechanisms:

  • Conciliation and Mediation (Labour Code, Articles 523­–528) : Conciliation may be initiated at the request of one or both parties of the conflict. The process is normally carried out at the responsible service of the Ministry of Labour. The parties are obliged to attend the conciliation meetings, but the success of the process depends entirely on their will. If the conciliation fails, it may be transformed into mediation. Mediation may be initiated at the request of one or both parties of the conflict. The mediator is appointed by the Ministry of Labour. He or she presents a compromise for the resolution of the conflict. The parties are obliged to attend the mediation meetings, but the success of the process depends entirely on their will.
  • Voluntary arbitration (Labour Code, Articles 506–507): The parties involved in the negotiation of a collective agreement may initiate a process of voluntary arbitration at any time during the conflict. The arbitrating body is comprised of one representative from each side of the conflict (employers and trade unions) and a third member who is chosen by the two representatives. The involved parties are obliged to inform the Ministry of Labour about the beginning and the conclusion of the process.
  • Mandatory arbitration (Labour Code, Articles 508–509): Mandatory arbitration may take place if all previous steps of negotiation and conciliation in relation to a collective agreement (conciliation, mediation and voluntary arbitration) have failed and if the majority of social partners represented at the CPCS recommend it. In case of risks to life, health or security of citizens, the Ministry of Labour may unilaterally initiate the mandatory arbitration (after consultation with the CPCS). In the case of the negotiation of a completely new agreement, one of the parties may request mandatory arbitration if the other one has brought all previous steps of negotiation and conciliation to failure. The Ministry of Labour decides on the execution of a mandatory arbitration, taking into consideration (a) the number of workers affected by the conflict, (b) the relevance of social protection of the covered workers, (c) the social and economic impact of the conflict, and (d) the position of the involved parties regarding the object of the arbitration. After consultation of the involved parties and the regulating or supervising body of the respective sector, the Ministry of Labour unilaterally determines the decision regarding the arbitration.
  • Necessary arbitration (Labour Code, Articles 510–511): If a collective agreement expires and is not substituted by another agreement during the 12 months (covering at least 50% of the respective workforce), the Ministry of Labour may initiate the process of a necessary arbitration (which is regulated by a specific decree-law). This type of arbitration is designed to be triggered in the course of the expiration of a collective agreement. In the case of a strike in a sector or institution that provides indispensable services for the population, the respective trade union is obliged to present in its prior notice of the strike submitted at the Ministry of Labour a proposal for ‘minimum services’. If the involved parties do not come to a common solution, an arbitration takes place at the Economic and Social Council (Conselho Económico e Social, CES) (Labour Code, Articles 534, 537–538).

Individual dispute resolution mechanisms

  • The Labour Code (Article 492-2 f) stipulates that collective agreements shall regulate conflicts regarding employment contracts, ‘namely by conciliation, mediation and arbitration’. It seems that the most important collective agreements revised since 2009 (textile, clothing, shoe, metal, construction, commerce) do not make use of this legal possibility to regulate the resolution of individual conflicts.
  • In the case of disciplinary measures against an individual worker and in case of dismissal, the respective works council and trade union organisations must be informed (Labour Code, Articles 353, 356–357). In the case of the dismissal of a worker resulting from the extinction of the workplace or because of ‘inadaptation’ of the worker to the demands of his or her job, the respective works council and trade union organisations must be informed and consulted (Labour Code, Articles 370, 375, 377–378).
  • The Labour Code (Article 387) states that the legality and admissibility of a dismissal can only be judged by a legal court.

The most common forms of collective dispute resolution in Portugal in relation to collective bargaining are conciliation and mediation. Arbitration is less common. The Annual Report on Collective Bargaining 2015 (Martins and Agapito, 2016) examined the trends observed in the period 2005–2015, concluding that the most common and most successful form of dispute resolution has been conciliation. However, between, 2010 and 2014, the cases of conciliation that failed outnumbered the successful ones. Mediation has been less frequent and with more limited results. Between 2005 and 2015, only one decision based on voluntary arbitration was published; and three processes of compulsory arbitration were concluded. As to the necessary arbitration, there was not a single case in the last decade.

Individual employment relations

Individual employment relations

Individual employment relations are the relationship between the individual worker and their employer. This relationship is shaped by legal regulation and by the outcomes of social partner negotiations over the terms and conditions governing the employment relationship. This section looks into the start and termination of the employment relationship and entitlements and obligations in Portugal.

Start and termination of the employment relationship

Requirements regarding an employment contract

According to the Labour Code (Law 7/2009 of 12 February, Article 68-2), the minimum working age is 16 years. A person aged less than 16 who has completed compulsory education may be hired for soft jobs with adequate tasks (Article 68-3), or in a family company a person aged less than 16 may work under the direct supervision of an adult family member (Article 68-4). In any case, the employer must inform the inspecting authority about the hiring of a person aged less than 16 within eight days (Article 68-5).

In Portugal, employment contracts are not subject to specific formalities. However, the Portuguese Labour Code requires that employment contracts in a written form should include information regarding:

  • the identification of the employer and the employee;
  • the workplace;
  • the daily and weekly working hours;
  • the date of the contract and the date of its entry into force;
  • functions to be performed by the employee;
  • the amount of the basic wage and other remuneration;
  • a definition of the notice period in case of termination of the contract.

There is no timeframe for signing the contract. The Labour Code protects workers who do not have clear contractual situations. A worker who does not have a written and signed contract may be considered as an effective worker.

Dismissal and termination procedures

According to the Portuguese Labour Code (Law 7/2009 of 12 February), an employment contract may be terminated due to:

  • expiration;
  • revocation;
  • dismissal for a cause attributable to the employee;
  • collective dismissal;
  • dismissal due to elimination of the job;
  • dismissal for inability to adapt;
  • unilateral termination of the contract by the employee without just cause;
  • unilateral termination of the contract by the employee with just cause.

Dismissal of the employee without just cause or for political or ideological reasons is forbidden.

The employer must inform the employee of the notice period for termination of the employment contract.

See also further information on unemployment benefit provisions in Portugal.

Entitlements and obligations

Parental, maternity and paternity leave

Portuguese legislation regulates parental leave, not maternity or paternity leave. Nonetheless, it contains an incentive that favours those cases where both parents use the paternity leave.

Statutory leave arrangements

Maternity leave

Maximum duration

In Portugal there are no specific arrangements regarding maternity leave.

Reimbursement

Not applicable

Who pays?

Not applicable

Legal basis

Not applicable

Parental leave

Maximum duration

Initial parental leave is 120 or 150 consecutive days of leave. It is obligatory for the mother to take 45 days (six weeks) following the birth; the remaining period may be shared between the father and the mother by mutual agreement.

The duration of the leave is extended by 30 days in the case of shared leave; each parent takes a leave of 30 consecutive days or two periods of 15 consecutive days. Mothers have the option to take up to 30 days of initial parental leave before birth.

It is obligatory for the father to take 15 working days’ exclusive parental leave, of which five days must be taken consecutively immediately after birth and 10 days during the subsequent 30 days.

Initial parental benefit is extended by 30 days per child in the case of multiple births.

In the case of multiple births, an extra two days for each child are added to the compulsory parental leave exclusive of the father.

There is an extended parental leave, lasting for three months. This allowance shall be granted to one or both parents, alternatively, provided that the respective leave is taken during the period immediately after the initial parental leave.

Reimbursement

The parental leave benefit varies according to the option of the parental leave:

- 120 and 150 days’ initial parental leave corresponds to a daily allowance of 100% and 80% of the average daily wage.

- In the case of shared leave between the father and the mother of 150 or 180 days, the benefit corresponds to a daily allowance of 100% or 83% of the average daily wage.

When the level of earnings is very low, the law provides a minimum amount of €11.18 per day, equal to 80% of the 1/30 Index of Social Support (€421.32 in 2017).

For the extended parental leave of three months the benefit corresponds to a daily allowance of 25% of the average daily wage.

When the level of earnings is very low, the law provides a minimum amount of €5.62 per day, equal to 40% of the 1/30 Index of Social Support (€421.32 in 2017).

Who pays?

The public social security system is responsible for the payment of these leaves.

Legal basis

Decree law 91/2009 of 9 April

Law 7/2009 of 12 February (Labour Code)

Law 120/2015 of 1 September.

Paternity leave

 

In Portugal there are no specific arrangements regarding paternity leave.

Sick leave

In Portugal, the right to paid sick leave is granted by law (Decree-Law 28/2004 of 4 February, with the changes introduced by Decree-Law 146/2005 of 26 August, Decree-Law 302/2009 of 22 October, Law 28/2011 of 16 June and Decree-Law 133/2012 of 27 June) to employees working under a labour contract (the worker should have made contributions to the social security system for at least six months, consecutive or not) and, optionally, to independent workers too. Additionally, beneficiaries must have registered earnings for at least twelve days of work in the four months immediately before the month preceding the onset of incapacity. However, this condition does not apply to self-employed workers or to seafarers covered by the voluntary social security scheme (these workers must have paid their social security contributions up to the end of the third month preceding the onset of incapacity).

The benefit is payable from the fourth day of incapacity for work onwards (there is an unpaid three-day waiting period) in the case of employees or from the 31st day of incapacity for work onwards (unpaid 30-day waiting period) in the case of self-employed workers or beneficiaries covered by the voluntary social security scheme.

No waiting period is applicable in case of: i) tuberculosis, ii) hospitalisation or outpatient surgery treatment in a duly authorised establishment, iii) sickness initiated during the entitlement period to the parental benefit and extending beyond this period.

This payment is granted by the state through social security. the amount of this allowance is calculated as a percentage of the worker’s salary (this salary is determined by taking into account the average salary of the previous six months before the sickness, Christmas and holiday allowances excluded), but this percentage varies according to the duration of the leave and to the nature of the sickness.

The amount of the average daily pay covered by sickness allowance varies according to the duration of the incapacity to work: 55% for up to 30 days; 60% for 31–90 days; 70% for 91–365 days; and 75% if it is more than 365 days.

The minimum rate of benefits payable is set at 30% of the IAS (€126.40 in 2017). Where the person's reference income is lower than the IAS, the sickness benefit will be equal to the reference income. The benefits cannot exceed the reference income. The employment relationship may be terminated while the employee is on sick leave (Law 7/2009 of 12 February (Labour Code).

Retirement age

Ordinance 67/2016 of 1 April established that the normal age of entitlement to old age pension in 2017 has become 66 years and 3 months.

Early retirement is penalised according to the established by Decree-Law 187/2007 of 10 May: 0.5% per month of anticipation reduced by 12 months for every period of three years for those with more than 30 years of insurance record.

An early pension can be claimed by specific groups of workers:

  • Insured people aged at least 55 years provided that they have completed their qualifying period and a contribution period of 30 calendar years. The amount of the pension is reduced.
  • Unemployed: Early pension from the age of 62 provided that they were aged 57 at the beginning of their unemployment and have completed the qualifying period. For those who have contributed 22 calendar years and are aged 52 or more when becoming unemployed, it is also possible from the age of 57. In this case, the amount of the pension is reduced.
  • In case of heavy or unhealthy work: As a rule, from the age of 55 (only for professions legally foreseen).
  • From 55 years in case of specific measures to protect economic activities or companies.

Pay

Pay

Pay: For workers, the reward for work and main source of income; for employers, a cost of production and focus of bargaining and legislation. This section looks into minimum wage setting in Portugal and guides the reader to further material on collective wage bargaining.

Minimum wages

The statutory minimum wage was created during the democratic revolution of 1974. It is set by the government after consultation with the social partners. There are no fixed rules or permanent expert committees. Until 2011, the increases usually took place at the start of every year.

In 2006, a tripartite agreement was signed at the CPCS (by the government and all union and employers’ confederations), stipulating that the minimum wage would be increased until 2011 at a pace that was foreseeably faster than the increase of collectively agreed wages. The aim was to reach €500 per month in 2011, but the escalation of the crisis and Troika MoU requirements stopped the process at €485 (2011). The government imposed a freeze of the minimum wage during three years. No other agreements were made until 2014, when a tripartite agreement was signed at the CPCS to increase the minimum wage for 2015 to €505. In the new political cycle, two tripartite agreements were signed regarding the conditions of implementation of the minimum wage update to €530 for 2016 and to €557 for 2017. It is relevant to note that a trajectory of the minimum wage increase to reach €600 in 2019 is part of the parliamentary deals with the left parties and one of the conditions they put forward to support the government of the Socialist Party (See the section Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation.)

For more information regarding the level and development of minimum wages, please see Eurofound’s topical update on statutory minimum wage in the EU 2017 or visit Eurostat.

Collectively agreed pay outcomes

For more detailed information on the most recent outcomes in terms of collectively agreed pay, please consult Eurofound’s collectively wage bargaining portal.

Working time

Working time

Working time: ‘Any period during which the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice’ (Directive 2003/88/EC). This section briefly summarises regulation and issues regarding working time, overtime, part-time work as well as working time flexibility in Portugal.

Working time regulation

Working time is regulated by the Labour Code, by collective bargaining and by employers at company level.

The Labour Code sets the general framework by defining basic notions, by setting certain limits, such as for regular weekly working time and possible deviations from it, which may result from regulations regarding flexibility (working time accounts), and by regulating different types of flexible working time arrangements.

Collective agreements at branch, professional or company level may regulate the working time in the respective areas within the stipulations of the Labour Code. There is no articulation between the different levels of collective bargaining.

Employers regulate working time in their companies within the stipulations of the Labour Code and of the respective collective agreement (if there is one).

The 2009 Labour Code 2009 introduced regulations regarding working time accounts for the first time, making their introduction in the companies dependent on their regulation by collective agreement. The amendments to the Labour Code in 2012 stipulated that individual working time accounts (banco de horas individual) had to be negotiated between the employer and the individual employee, without the interference of the unions or of worker representatives. Therefore this measure weakened collective bargaining and the bargaining power of the unions.

For more detailed information on working time (including annual leave, statutory and collectively agreed working time), please consult Eurofound’s report on Working time developments in the 21st century: Work duration and its regulation.

Overtime regulation

Overtime is regulated by the Labour Code, by collective bargaining and by employers at company level.

The Labour Code sets the general framework by defining basic notions and by setting certain limits, for example to the maximum number of overtime hours per year and per day.

Collective agreements at branch, professional or company level may regulate overtime in the respective areas within the stipulations of the Labour Code. There is no articulation between the different levels of collective bargaining.

Employers regulate overtime in their companies within the stipulations of the Labour Code and of the respective collective agreement (if there is one).

The amendments to the 2012 Labour Code reduced by half overtime time payment and suspended for two years collective bargaining provisions more favourable to the workers.

Part-time work

According to the Portuguese Labour Code (Law 7/2009 of 12 February), a part-time worker is an employed person whose normal working hours are lower than the normal working hours prevailing in the enterprise/institution, for the respective professional category or in the respective occupation. In 2016, 9.2% of the Portuguese workforce had a part-time job, slightly less than half of the EU28 average. Part-time work is more evident among Portuguese female workers. Although the difference has been decreasing during the years, the percentage of female workers working part time is still considerably higher than male workers.

Persons employed part-time in Portugal and EU28 (% of total employment)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Total - EU28

18.2

18.6

19.0

19.0

19.0

18.9

Total – PT

10.1

11.0

10.8

9.9

9.6

9.2

Women - EU28

31.0

31.4

31.8

31.7

31.5

31.4

Women – PT

13.5

14.0

13.7

12.4

12.3

11.9

Men - EU28

7.4

7.7

8.1

8.2

8.2

8.2

Men - PT

6.9

8.1

8.0

7.5

6.9

6.6

Source: Eurostat Labour Force Survey [lfsi_pt_a] – Persons employed part-time (20 to 64 years of age) – total and by sex.

Night work

According to the Portuguese Labour Code (article 223), night work means a period with a minimum duration of seven hours and a maximum duration of eleven hours, including the time range between midnight and 05.00, comprised in the period between 22.00 of one day and 07.00 of the next day unless provided otherwise by collective agreement instrument.

Shift work

Shift work (article 220 of the Portuguese Labour Code) means that the work is performed in daily and successive, continuous or discontinuous periods and the workers change periodically and regularly from one working schedule to the subsequent one, according to a pre-established scale.

Weekend work

The Portuguese Labour Code makes no reference to weekend work.

Rest and breaks

The Labour Code establishes in its articles 214 and 232 the right of the worker to a daily rest of at least eleven consecutive hours between two consecutive periods of daily work; and the right to at least one day of rest per week. A period of complementary weekly rest, continuous or discontinuous, in all or in some weeks of the year, may be imposed by collective agreement instrument or by employment contract.

Working time flexibility

Law 7/2009 of 12 February and Law 23/2012 of 25 June introduced significant changes in working time regulations in Portugal. While the standard working time continued to be 40 hours a week and 8 hours per day, new forms of working time flexibility and new regulations on overtime were introduced.

Law 7/2009 of 12 February introduced the regime of working time adaptability, with the possibility of working 60 hours a week and 12 hours per day, to be set up by collective agreements, with the condition that it would not exceed 50 hours on average for a period of two months. It also introduced a regime of individual adaptability whereby employer and employee can have an individual agreement defining periods of normal working time of 10 hours per day and 50 hours per week. Furthermore, it introduced the bank of hours regime, to be defined by collective agreements, which allowed 4 hours of additional work per day or up to 60 hours a week, up to a maximum of 200 hours a year.

The possibility to adapt the start and end of their working day to facilitate personal and parental needs is commonly understood as flexible working hours in Portugal. However, this possibility is not specifically regulated as such by law.

Do you have fixed start and finishing time in your work?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Portugal and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have fixed starting and finishing times in your work?'. For the 'No' answer, Portugal's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Portugal's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 39d from the sixth "European Working Conditions Survey (2015). The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Health and well-being

Health and well-being

Maintaining health and well-being should be a high priority for workers and employers alike. Health is an asset closely associated with a person’s quality of life and longevity, as well as their ability to work. A healthy economy depends on a healthy workforce: organisations can experience loss of productivity through the ill-health of their workers. This section looks into psychosocial risks and health and safety in Portugal.

Health and safety at work

The table below shows that the number of accidents at work has been decreasing over time, with some fluctuations. However, between 2013 and 2014, there were more 4,048 accidents, representing an increase of 3.8%.

Accidents at work, with four days’ absence or more working days lost

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

All accidents

145,666

133,100

124,738

121,730

109,511

107,086

111,134

Percent change on previous year

-

-8.6

-6.3

-2.4

-10.0

-2.2

3.8

Per 1,000 employees

37.6

35.3

33.2

32.8

30.9

31.0

n.a.

Source: Eurostat

Men are more vulnerable to accidents at work, both fatal and non-fatal. The number of accidents involving an absence of four or more days from work increased in 2014: in 2014, there were 130,215 accidents with more than three days’ absence, representing an increase of 5.7 compared to 2013.

Accidents at work, fatal and non-fatal, by sex, age and number of working days lost

   

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Non-fatal

239,787

217,176

215,424

208,987

193,436

195,418

203,388

Sex

Men

181,107

162,105

160,417

151,999

134,057

134,728

143,523

Women

58,680

55,071

55,007

56,988

59,379

60,690

59,705

Age group

Up to 34 years

96,912

77,073

76,319

73,581

67,776

63,432

64,697

35–44 years

65,483

56,303

59,266

59,370

56,592

56,394

57,555

45–54 years

51,002

46,130

49,994

47,972

46,124

46,221

50,208

55+ years

24,811

24,040

25,094

24,947

21,754

23,535

26,889

Unknown

1,583

13,630

4,752

3,117

1,199

5,837

4,092

 

Accidents with four days’ absence or more

161,537

151,040

142,313

137,590

125,850

123,150

130,215

Fatal

231

217

208

196

175

160

160

Sex

Men

221

210

199

188

168

154

153

Women

10

7

9

8

7

6

7

Age group

Up to 34 years

59

51

49

39

36

30

18

35–44 years

56

74

53

45

38

42

39

45–54 years

69

57

56

66

52

48

65

55+ years

43

35

50

46

49

40

38

Source: Occupational Accidents (2011 and 2012 and 2016) – Ministry of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security / Office for Strategy and Planning (Acidentes de trabalho – Ministério do Trabalho, Solidariedade e Segurança Social, MTSS /GEP)

Psychosocial risks

Law 102/2009 of 10 September, Article 15, specifies that besides chemical, physical and biological risks, the employer must ensure that exposure to psychosocial risks is limited and that the safety and health of workers is not at risk.

Some campaigns about psychosocial risks in the workplace have been implemented in Portugal. Those campaigns are led by the Working Conditions Authority (Autoridade para as Condições do Trabalho, ACT), which is the public body responsible for promoting improved working conditions by ensuring compliance with labour regulations and for promoting occupational risk prevention policies, in close coordination with social partners.

Work intensity: Do you have enough time to get the job done?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Portugal and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have enough time to get the job done?'. For the 'Always or most of the time' answer, Portugal's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Rarely or never' answer, Portugal's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Sometimes' answer, Portugal's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 61g from the sixth European Working Conditions Survey (2015). The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Skills, learning and employability

Skills, learning and employability

Skills are the passport to employment; the better skilled an individual, the more employable they are. Good skills also tend to secure better-quality jobs and better earnings. This section briefly summarises the Portuguese system for ensuring skills and employability and looks into the extent of training.

National system for ensuring skills and employability

The Centres for Educational and Professional Qualifications (Centros para a Qualificação e o Ensino Profissional, CQEP) are responsible for the educational and occupational Recognition, Validation and Certification of Competences (RVCC) processes for adults; collaborating in the definition of criteria for structuring a network of educational and training opportunities appropriate to local qualification needs, improving contact between schools and companies’ training centres; monitoring the young people and adults paths referred for different qualification solutions to benchmark the fulfilment or deviation of the trajectories defined; and collecting information regarding the interaction between the learning outcomes of young people and adults and the labour market in order to improve the quality of education and training system.

The Recognition, Validation and Certification of Competences System (Sistema de Reconhecimento, Validação e Certificação de Competências, RVCC) allows accreditation for skills and competencies that have been acquired in different learning contexts, including personal, professional and social life. RVCC includes three stages: recognition (of knowledge, know-how and skills of each applicant), validation (of skills through a standard assessment) and certification of skills (which is formalised by issuing a certificate of basic education at level 1, 2 or 3 or a secondary education diploma, depending on the case).

Training

The Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional, IEFP) is responsible for managing public employment services, job centres and vocational training centres. IEFP aims to promote employment and combat unemployment through the implementation of active employment policies, including vocational training.

Training: Have you had any on the job training in the past year?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Portugal and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Have you had on-the-job training in the last 12 months?'. For the 'No' answer, Portugal's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Portugal's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 65c from the sixth "European Working Conditions Survey (2015). The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Work organisation

Work organisation

Work organisation underpins economic and business development and has important consequences for productivity, innovation and working conditions. Eurofound research finds that some types of work organisation are associated with a better quality of work and employment. Therefore, developing or introducing different forms of work organisation are of particular interest because of the expected effects on productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of companies, as well as on workers’ working conditions. Ongoing research by Eurofound, based on EurWORK, the European Working Conditions Survey and the European Company Survey, monitors developments in work organisation.

For Portugal, the European Company Survey 2013 shows that between 2010 and 2013, 57% of establishments with 10 or more employees reported changes in the use of technology, 43% introduced changes in ways to coordinate and allocate the work to workers and another 20% saw changes in their working time arrangements.

Work organisation: Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Portugal and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?'. For the 'No' answer, Portugal's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Portugal's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 54b from the sixth "European Working Conditions Survey (2015). The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015

More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey.

Equality and non-discrimination at work

Equality and non-discrimination at work

Equality between men and women is enshrined in the Portuguese Constitution, namely in the employment field.

Furthermore, specific legal provisions ensure equality and non-discrimination at work:

  • Law 105/97 of 13 September aims to ensure the effectiveness of the right of both sexes to equal treatment at work and employment.
  • The Labour Code (Law 7/2009 of 12 February) includes a subsection on Equality and Non-discrimination, which includes provisions regarding the prohibition of discrimination based on sex as well as sanctions in case there is a breach of the law.
  • Decree-Law 133/2013 of 3 October establishes that public companies must implement goals of social and environmental responsibility, namely the promotion of equality and non-discrimination, and adopt equality plans in order to achieve effective equal treatment and opportunities between men and women, to eliminate discrimination and to promote the reconciliation of professional, family and personal life.
  • Law 35/2014 of 20 June approves the General Labour Law in Public Functions, applying the provisions of the Labour Code, namely regarding equality and non-discrimination and parenting.
  • Law 120/2015 of 1 September proceeds to the ninth amendment to the Labour Code reinforcing the rights of maternity and paternity, as well as including several measures to promote a better work–family reconciliation.

The national mechanism for the promotion of equality and non-discrimination between men and women in labour and employment is the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment (Comissão para a Igualdade no Trabalho e no Emprego, CITE). Its main responsibilities are to promote equality and non-discrimination between women and men in labour, in employment and in vocational training; protection of parentality (maternity, paternity and adoption); and reconciliation of professional, personal and family life.

Although the promotion of equality and non-discrimination between men and women in labour and employment is not its main mission, the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (Comissão para a Cidadania e a Igualdade de Género, CIG) also has competences at this level.

Equal pay and gender pay gap

As provided for in Article 31 of the Labour Code, approved by Law 7/2009 of 12 February, women are entitled to receive equal pay for equal work or work of the same value as that performed by men. Nevertheless, a gender pay gap persists regarding both wages and earnings.

The gender pay gap grew systematically from 8.4% in 2006 to 15.7% in 2012, representing an increase of 86.9%.

The gender pay gap has been addressed by several legislative support measures:

  • The Resolution of Council of Ministers 13/2013 of 8 March approved a set of measures ensuring and promoting equal opportunities and outcomes for women and men in the labour market. The main objective of these measures is the elimination of the gender wage gap; the promotion of balance between work and personal and family life; the encouragement of corporate social responsibility; and the elimination of occupational segregation and other differences that still exist.
  • The Assembly Resolution 45/2013 of 4 April recommends that the government implements the necessary mechanisms to combat direct and indirect wage discrimination by prioritising inspective and punitive action. It also develops a national plan against direct and indirect wage discrimination.

More recently, the Resolution of Council of Ministers 18/2014 of 7 March has adopted several measures for the promotion of equal pay between men and women and the elimination of wage discrimination based on sex, namely:

  • the discussion about wage differences will be promoted among the social partners;
  • every three years, state-owned companies should produce a report on male and female wages in order to take concrete measures to be included in the respective plans for gender equality;
  • following this report, state-owned companies should take concrete measures to eliminate the situations of wage inequality between women and men that were identified;
  • to provide an electronic tool to companies to evaluate the gender pay gap and identify concrete situations of wage differences between women and men which cannot be explained by objective factors;
  • it is recommended that private companies with more than 25 employees develop a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the pay gap between women and men. These companies should consequently develop a strategy to address the unjustified differences in those remunerations.

The Resolution of the Council of Ministers 11-A/2015 of 6 March 2015 provides for a mechanism to support companies in the identification and analysis of the gender pay gap as a tool to promote equal pay.

Quota regulations

There is no legal obligation for specific quotas in place. However, there is a legal basis encouraging the participation of women in management bodies:

  • The Resolution of Council of Ministers 19/2012 of 23 February aims to increase the participation of women in management bodies of companies in the public and private sectors. Public companies must adopt plans for equality and identical procedures are recommended for the private sector.
  • The Decree-Law 133/2013 of 3 October laid down the principles and rules applicable to public sector companies. This Decree-Law establishes that the administration and supervision bodies of state-owned enterprises must pursue the objective of a plural presence of men and women in their composition.
  • The Resolution of the Council of Ministers 11-A/2015 of 6 March 2015 marks the commitment with quoted companies aiming at a more balanced representation of women and men in their boards, with a target of 30% of the underrepresented sex until the end of 2018.

Bibliography

Bibliography

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