The Employment Contract is the document by which a natural person is obliged, by way of retribution, to render his activity to another or other persons, within the scope of organization and under their authority. (Labor Code, art. 11º)

The person carries out a professional activity without subordination, on their own and takes the risks for the development of this activity. It is the person who defines autonomously the terms of the development of the activity.The person works for others. Carries out an activity at the service and under the authority of an employer, who assumes the risks arising from the activity developed.

Main types of employment contracts:

1. FIXED TERM: there is a certain date for the end of the contract, a term. The minimum duration for this contract is 6 months, extending to a maximum of 3 years. For those looking for a first job, the maximum duration is 18 months, while in specific situations it may be 2 years. Fixed-term employees work under the same rights and duties as permanent employees. Fixed-term employment contracts may be renewed up to two times, each which must not exceed 18 months and must not be less than 1/6 of the maximum contract duration.

2. INDIFINE FIXED-TERM: the term of validity is conditioned to a future event, with no certain date to happen. Indefinite employment contracts remain in force until the event or activity for which the employment contract was entered into to pursue has been completed, such as the return of an absent employee or the completion of a project. The maximum duration must not exceed 6 years. If employment is to persist more than 15 days after expiry, the indefinite fixed-term contract is converted to an indefinite-term contract.

3. NO TERM: it is the “effective” contract; only the start date of the job is defined.

Employment contracts in Portugal are not required to be in writing as a general rule. Certain types of employment contracts must be in written form, including:

– Immigrant or stateless workers;

– Several employers;

– Fixed-term/non-fixed term employment contracts (some exceptions);

– Part-time work;

– Non-continuous work;

– Service commission agreements;

– Prestação subordinada de teletrabalho;

– Temporary contracts;

– Indefinitely for temporary assignment.

Termination of employment

Documents to be delivered to the worker

– Work certificate, indicating the dates of admission and termination and the position or positions held (can only contain other references at the request of the worker);

– Documents intended for official purposes, namely for Social Security, at the request of the worker.

Abandonment of work

Abandonment of work is characterized by the absence of the worker from service accompanied by facts that, in all probability, reveal the intention of not coming back.

Abandoned work is presumed in the absence of a worker from service for at least 10 working days in a row, without the employer being informed of the reason for the absence. The worker can, however, prove that the lack of communication was due to a reason of force majeure.

Dismissal for cause

It is considered that there is a reason for dismissal for just cause on the initiative of the employer when the guilty behavior of the worker makes immediate and practically impossible to maintain the employment relationship, due to its severity and effects (Labor Code, art. 351). Elements:

– Guilt (intent or negligence);

– Illegality (violation of work duties);

– Severity (of behavior and consequences);

– Impossibility of maintaining the employment relationship (breach of trust)

– Burden of proof of employment.

Examples of just cause

– Disobedience;

– Violation of workers’ rights/guarantees;

– Disinterest in the inherent obligations;

– Property damage to the company;

– False statements relating to absences;

– Unjustified absences with losses/risks for the company, or 5 in a row/10 interpolated in each calendar year;

– Non-compliance with safety/health rules;

– Repeated provocation of conflicts;

– Practice of physical violence/injuries/offenses;

– Kidnapping/crime against freedom;

– Non-compliance/opposition to a judicial or administrative decision;

– Abnormal reductions in productivity.

Text written by Patrícia Peret, Technician of the Guidance and Referral Office of the Casa do Brasil de Lisboa.

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