Key amendments to the Portuguese Labour Code on parental rights were recently published in the national journal (Diário da República). Most provisions entered into force on 6 September 2015. Employers are responsible for publishing all information regarding parental rights legislation, including the new amendments, at the company's facilities or for including it in the company's rules of procedure.

The highlights of the amendments include:

The following key changes in parental leave benefits:

  • Both parents have the choice to take between 120 and 150 days of initial parental leave (without prejudice to the mother's rights) that can be enjoyed simultaneously.
  • The initial leave will be accrued in 30 day increments whenever each parent takes initial leave exclusively for at least 30 days in a row or two 15 day periods which may be taken after the mother’s mandatory leave.
  • If parents work in the same micro-enterprise, their ability to take parental leave simultaneously depends on the agreement with the employer.

The mandatory period of initial paternity leave was also increased from 10 to 15 working days which may be taken consecutively of divided, with the following restrictions: 5 days must be enjoyed consecutively, immediately after the birth and the remaining 10 must be taken in the following 30 days. The initial parental allowance paid for by social security was also increased to 15 days.

Benefits for families with young children

In addition to parental leave, the amendments provide major protections for employees who have family responsibilities as these employees are now allowed to choose to work in a part time or flexible work schedule without being penalized in evaluations or career progression matters.

Also, parents with children less than 3 years old may perform their work activities by telework, when it is compatible with their duties and the employer has the necessary instruments. Interested employees must express their agreement, in writing, in order to receive these benefits.

Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement or represented by a trade union which contradicts the law on flexible work schedules or bank of hours group regime have the right to object to the application of such regimes.

New Administrative Offence

The amendments also create a new serious administrative offence for employers who fail to communicate the non-renewal of fixed term employment contracts with employees who are pregnant, have recently given to birth or are breastfeeding to the Commission for Equality at Employment and Work, within the legal period.