Portugal: Temporary agency work on the rise

The increasing use of temporary work, and temporary agency work in particular, has been addressed in two recently published  studies.

The dynamics of temporary employment between 2008 and 2014 in the EU28 and the 19 countries in the euro zone are examined in the preliminary results of a study, Collective bargaining and representativeness of temporary workers in Europe. The first findings were presented during a seminar, Temporary work: representation, bargaining and collective action, at Portugal’s Lisbon University Institute in February 2016.

One of the key findings is the high level of temporary employment (21.4%) in Portugal. The results show that the reduction of unemployment by 0.7 percentage points was supported by a growth in temporary work. In general, there seem to be no gender differences in temporary work; however, age differences are evident, with young people being more affected by this type of work. Low wages are also closely linked with temporary jobs and, on average, temporary workers earned 60% of the salary of those who have a permanent job.

A second study by Informa D&B shows that temporary employment agencies have increased their turnover by more than 20% in the last two years. The number of workers they place in short-term employment increased to 78,686 in 2014, 13,000 more than in 2013. At the end of 2015, there were 231 temporary employment work agencies in Portugal, up from 205 in 2014, representing an increase of 13%.

The Authority for Working Conditions (ACT) has repeated its concern about the growth of undeclared work (PDF). One ACT inspection conducted in March 2016 of a company in the agricultural sector revealed that 14 out of a total of 16 workers were in undeclared work.

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