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Leave in Portugal

Holiday Leave in Portugal

Employees are entitled to a minimum of 22 working days annual leave every calendar year. They can take their vacation until 30 April of the following year. Portugal has provisions that explicitly forbid employers from offering employees additional pay for forfeiting paid-leave days.

New hires are entitled to 20 days off in the first year working for the company. They incur two days of paid vacation each month and can only use them after six months of work. If the calendar year ends before six months, the vacation days are extended until 30 June the following year. If the employment starts on the first half of the year, the employee is entitled to eight days of vacation after completing 60 workdays.

The employer and employee may agree that:

  • If the employee takes their holiday entitlement between 1 January and 30 April, they can receive three extra days 
  • If the employee takes their holiday entitlement in two 11-day periods (January to April and May to October), they can receive two additional days

Need help understanding holiday leave in Portugal and any additional agreements?

Our experts can take you through all employment regulations in Portugal, including holiday and other paid leave


Public holidays

Employers must give employees paid leave on bank holidays. Work assignments on those days are considered overtime and subject to additional pay. Holidays are observed on the days they fall and do not move to the following workday if they fall on a weekend.

Portugal Public Holiday Calendar 2024

01/01/2024MondayNew Year's DayAno Novo
29/03/2024FridayGood FridaySexta-feira Santa
31/03/2024SundayEaster SundayDomingo de Páscoa
25/04/2024ThursdayFreedom DayDia da Liberdade
01/05/2024WednesdayLabour DayDia do Trabalhador
30/05/2024ThursdayCorpus ChristiCorpo de Deus
01/06/2024SaturdayAzores DayDia dos Açores
10/06/2024MondayNational DayDia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas
01/07/2024MondayMadeira DayDia da Madeira
15/08/2024ThursdayAssumption DayAssunção de Nossa Senhora
05/10/2024SaturdayRepublic DayImplantação da República
01/11/2024FridayAll Saints DayDia de Todos-os-Santos
01/12/2024SundayRestoration of IndependenceRestauração da Independência
08/12/2024SundayImmaculate ConceptionImaculada Conceição
25/12/2024WednesdayChristmas DayNatal
26/12/2024ThursdaySt. Stephen's DayPrimeira Oitava


Types of Leave in Portugal


Sick leave

Employees on sick leave are covered by the Portuguese social security system and can receive benefits for up to 1,095 days. Pay is as follows:

  • 55% of the average daily earnings for the first 30 days
  • 60% from the 31st day until the 90th
  • 70% from the 91st day until the 365th
  • 75% from then on

The employer covers the first three days of sickness, paying 89% of the employee wage. 

In some cases, collective labour agreements provide specific rules covering employee illness or injury.

Employees must meet the following conditions for benefit entitlement:

  • Be temporarily unable to work, which is certified by a doctor in the competent health service
  • Have worked for six consecutive calendar months before the onset of the illness, taking into account, the month in which the sickness occurred

Parental leave

Initial parental allowance

The initial parental allowance is granted to the father or mother for between 120 and 150 consecutive days, equally extended to both.

The period can be taken simultaneously by both. In the case of a lifeless birth, only the 120 days are allowed.

The period may be increased by 30 days if:

  • The leave is shared, and each parent exclusively takes 30 days in a row or two periods of 15 consecutive days, after the mother's mandatory 42 days
  • Giving birth to twins 
  • If the initial parental leave is not shared, and without prejudice to the rights of the mother (compulsory six weeks' entitlement), the initial parental benefit may be granted to the father.

In the case of shared leave, the mother and the father are required to inform their respective employers about the beginning and end of the periods to be taken by each parent, up to 7 days after childbirth, or at the end of the period of hospitalisation by submitting a joint declaration or, where applicable, a declaration from the other parent stating that is engaged in a professional activity.

If no declaration of sharing is submitted, the mother is entitled to the parental allowance.

In cases where the child is admitted to the hospital immediately after the recommended period of postnatal hospitalisation due to the need for special medical care, the initial parental leave of 120 or 150 days is increased by the period of hospitalisation following special rules. 

Parents may, after 120 consecutive days of leave, enjoy a part-time leave of 3 months, reconciling parenthood with a normal work period equal to half of the full time. 

Initial parental allowance if one parent is unable to take it

In case of physical or mental incapacity, or death of either parent, the initial parental allowance is granted to the other parent for the remaining period. If that is the case with the mother, the father gets a minimum of 30 days.

Maternity leave

Mothers are eligible for 30 days of maternity leave at full pay by Social Security before a child's birth (optional), and 42 days following the birth (mandatory). If the employee has twins, she's entitled to an additional 30 days.

Paternity leave

Biological and adoptive fathers are entitled to 28 mandatory days of leave (consecutive or not) in the 42 days following the child's birth (with a minimum of 7 days periods). Seven of those days must be taken right after the birth or adoption. An extra seven optional working days (consecutive or not) can be taken immediately after the mandatory period, provided that it is taken simultaneously with the mother's initial parental leave. 

If the child is admitted to the hospital during the period after birth, the leave may be suspended (on the father's request) for the duration of the hospitalisation.

The leave is paid for by Social Security.

In the case of twins, each of the periods mentioned above is increased by two days for each child. They have to be taken immediately after each of the periods.

Carer's leave

Employees are entitled to the following carer's leave for ill or injured family members:

  • Up to 30 days a year for a child under the age of 12, or the child of another member of the family with a disability or chronic illness
  • Up to 15 days a year for children over the age of 12, a partner or other member of the family, including the father, mother, sister and brother

Bereavement leave

Employees are entitled to 20, 5 or 2 days of paid bereavement leave but must provide the employer with the required documents.

Work-related injury

Employers are required to take out private insurance to cover employees in case of a work injury. During the first 12 months of disability, the worker receives 70% of their earnings and 75% after that. This benefit is paid until recovery, or permanent disability takes effect.

Adoption Leave 

Employees who are candidates for adoption or foster families are entitled to time off work in order to carry out an evaluation or to comply with the obligations and procedures foreseen by law for the respective processes and must present a justification to the employer.

In the event of adoption of a child under the age of 15, the prospective adopter shall be entitled to the initial parental leave of 120 - 150 days. 

In case of adoption of a child under the age of 15, the prospective adopter has the right to exclusive parental leave of the father

In the case of multiple adoptions, the periods of leave shall be increased by 30 days or 2 days (depending on whether the initial parental leave has had a duration of 120 or 150 days) for each adoption beyond the first.

Prenatal Care Leave

A pregnant employee can take time off work to attend a medical appointment or preparation for childbirth by presenting appropriate proof to the employer. 

The employee must, whenever possible, attend the prenatal consultation outside of working hours.

The father is entitled to three days off work to accompany the pregnant woman to antenatal consultations.

Time off for medically assisted procreation consultations

Employees are entitled to three days off work for consultations within the scope of each cycle of medically assisted procreation (PMA) treatments. The employer may request proof of such appointments. 

Leave of absence for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding

A mother (and or father in case of bottle feeding ) are entitled to daily leave in two separate periods with a maximum duration of one hour each (reduced to min. 30 minutes for part-time employees) until the child is one year old.

Childcare Leave 

Parents have the right to leave to care for a child up to a limit of two or three years in case of a third child or more (if other leaves are already used). 

An employee can leave if the other parent exercises a professional activity or is impeded or totally inhibited from exercising parental rights. 

To exercise the right, the employee shall inform the employer in writing and with 30 days' notice.

Leave to care for a child with a disability, chronic illness or oncological illness

Parents have the right to leave for a period of up to six months, which may be extended to four years, in order to care for a child with a disability, chronic illness or oncological illness.

The parents with children under one year are entitled (if requirements are met) to a reduction of five hours in the normal working week, or other special working conditions to care for the child.

After the end of the leave, there is a right to participate in professional training and refresher courses organised by the employer to promote a full professional reintegration.

Absence for grandchild care 

Employees may be absent for up to 30 consecutive days following the birth of a grandchild living with the employee and a child of an adolescent under 16.

If there are two holders of the right, there is only one period of absence to be taken by one of them, or by both of them, in part-time or successive periods, according to a joint decision.


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