Contracts in Portugal

Overview by

The Active Population in Figures

Main Indicators 200520062007
Labor Force 5.5445.5875.644
Labor Force (Annual Growth, %) -0.771.02
Rate of Activity (%) 73.462.562.7
Unemployment Rate (%)

Source: Ministry of Labor and Social Security

Note: data in millions.
** first quarter

Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labor Force) 2006
Farmers 10.8%
Craftsmen 19.5%
Shopkeepers and similar 14.3%
Managers and higher intellectual professions 17.3%
Intermediate professions 8.5%
Employees 17.4%
Workmen and unqualified workers 11.8%
Military service 0.6%

Source: INE

For Further Statistics
Ministry of Labor and Social Security
For Further Information About the Labor Market
CES, The Economic and Social Council

Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
More and more applications are being made via Internet or the press. Recruitment in Portugal is mainly carried out by inviting candidates for a face-to-face interview.
Recruitment Agencies
The public institution is the IEFP.
There are several recruitment companies: Egor, Psicoteste, Hays.
Recruitment Websites
Michael Page
Ofertas Emprego

The Contract

Type of Contract
The work contract is governed by legal provisions and to a lesser extent by collective agreements and individual negotiation.
The formality of the work contract, and hiring and firing conditions are extremely rigid.
Breach of Contracts
  • Retirement
There are several ways of retiring: early retirement, automatic retirement and official retirement.
  • Dismissals
The employer initiates dismissals:
- redundancy comes in the form of either individual or mass redundancy
- dismissal for professional misconduct
  • Other Possible Methods
Resignation; this is initiated by the employee.
Labor Laws
National legislation (only in Portuguese)

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Physical violence, moral harassment, sexual harassment, working conditions, etc.
  • Legal Framework
Before going to court, forms of conciliation are possible: mediation, arbitration (which may be compulsory or not, by ministerial decision). Arbitration produces results with the same power as collective contracts. If it fails, the following step will be the « Tribunal do trabalho » of the competent jurisdiction.
However, at this time, the settlement of disputes is also under discussion between the government and the unions (employers' and union confederations).
  • Procedure
The Labor Code

Judicial Structures

  • Legal Framework
Defined in the Labor Code.
  • Competent Legal Body
The Labor Tribunal.
To appeal: the Tribunal of 2nd instance, labor section.

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
There are 2 major Union confederations. The CGTP (very close to the Communist Party) which always very critical of and eager to challenge government measures, and the UGT (close to the Socialist Party and the Social-Democrats), a more moderate group, although it criticizes, but often manages to come to a consensus with the government. Negotiations usually take place at the Conselho Económico e Social for social dialogue between Employers' Confederations, the Government and Union Confederations. These discussions take place systematically at the beginning of each year, but also when important dossiers about labor law are discussed, as is the case at the moment.
Unionization Rate
Regulation Bodies
Ministry of Agriculture
Confederation of Portuguese agricultural cooperatives (CONFAGRI)
Portuguese Agricultural Federation
Ministry of Labor

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