We would like to ensure that you are still receiving content that you find useful – please confirm that you would like to continue to receive ILO newsletters.
30 March 2005
The Portuguese Labour Code provides that an employee is entitled to a minimum of 22 days' holiday per year. This entitlement falls due on January 1 in relation to work provided in the previous year. In addition, the employee is entitled to public holidays.
However, the new Labour Code provides that an employee's holiday entitlement may vary according to (i) the existence or otherwise of unjustified or justified absences and (ii) the number of such absences in the previous year.
The 22-day minimum requirement is increased up to a maximum of 25 days to reward employees for good attendance, when the employee had no unjustified absences and had only justified absences (eg, due to sickness) in the previous year. The increased entitlement is as follows:
The holiday entitlement thus varies between 22 and 25 days.
The Labour Code defines 'justified absences' as including absences as a result of illness, the death of a relative or spouse, and other absences authorized by the employer.
If an employee takes maternity or paternity leave, it will not affect his or her holiday entitlement.
Any increase in an employee's holiday entitlement will not affect the amount of the holiday bonus.
In the year that the employment contract is agreed, the employee only becomes entitled to holiday after working for six full months. The holiday entitlement is calculated on the basis of two days for each month. For example, after the initial six months the employee will be entitled to 12 days' holiday and a further two days for each subsequent month, subject to a maximum of 20 days.
In relation to contracts with less than six months' duration, the employee is entitled to two days of holiday for each full month worked. Unless agreed otherwise by the parties, this holiday will be taken immediately before the termination of the contract.
Portuguese law does not allow employees to carry over unused holiday to the following year. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. First, unused holiday may be carried over if (i) there is an agreement to this effect between the parties, or (ii) the employee wishes to use this holiday to visit family members residing abroad. However, the carried-over holiday must be taken in the first quarter of the year (ie, before April 1). Second, unused holiday amounting to half of the employee's entitlement (ie, 11 days) can be carried over to the following year if the parties agree.
An employee may partially renounce his or her right to holidays as long as he or she receives additional remuneration for this time, as well as the holiday remuneration and holiday bonus that he or she would receive. However, the employee must take a minimum of 20 days of holiday per year.
For further information on this topic, please contact César Sá Esteves at Simmons & Simmons Rebelo de Sousa by telephone (+351 21 313 2000) or by fax (+351 21 313 2001) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.
ILO is a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. In-house corporate counsel and other users of legal services, as well as law firm partners, qualify for a free subscription.
César Sá Esteves