Decree-Law No. 13/2013. D.R. (official gazette) No. 18, Series I of 2013-01-25

Amending the legal framework of social protection in the event of unemployment, death, dependency, social integration income (rendimento social de inserção), solidarity supplement for the elderly and dependent spouse supplement, of the social security system.

This Decree-Law added to Decree-Law No. 220/2006, of 3 November (laying down the legal framework of unemployment protection), article 10-A, with the heading “Termination by agreement to reinforce the qualification and technical capability of the undertaking”.

This provision establishes another situation, which is considered to fall within the concept of involuntary unemployment for the purposes of defining the persons entitled to unemployment benefits.

Therefore, in accordance with article 10-A referred to above, the situations of employment contract termination by agreement aiming to reinforce the qualification and technical capability of undertakings are also considered involuntary unemployment provided they do not result in the reduction of the level of employment.

The maintenance of the level of employment should occur until the end of the month following the month of termination of the employment contract by agreement aimed to reinforce the qualification and technical capability of the undertaking and is guaranteed with the hiring of new employees, in the same proportion of those whose contracts have ended, under permanent full time employment contracts for a job position corresponding to an activity of technical complexity, with a high level of responsibility and requiring special qualifications.

It should be noted that, contrary to what happens in other cases granting access to unemployment benefits, the law has not established a requirement of a maximum number of employment contracts’ terminations by agreement, to consider that a situation of involuntary unemployment exists.

Should the social security services detect or suspect that a given employer does not comply with the requirement to maintain the level of employment, they inform Autoridade para as Condições do Trabalho (ACT - Authority for Working Conditions) of such fact. ACT shall notify the employer to ensure that the level of employment is maintained within no more than 30 days from receiving the notification.

Termination of employment contract and access to the unemployment subsidy in breach of the above is deemed as a serious misdemeanour and, if the employer acted with intent, it determines that the employee will maintain the right to unemployment benefits and that the employer will be liable to the social security for paying the amount corresponding to the whole period during which the initial unemployment subsidy is granted to the employee in question.