Frequently Asked Questions

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Temporary work

What is temporary work?

Temporary work is a triangular work relationship in which the employer's contractual position is maintained with the worker, who they contract, pay and exercise disciplinary authority over, and the Temporary Employment Company, the company which, in its turn, receives the work from the worker, who is not a member of its staff but over whom it exercises management and supervisory authority. It is an alternative way of contracting workers for companies which need manpower to complement the work of their employees, when there are exceptional work situations or to satisfy the temporary need to substitute a permanent member of staff due to holidays, maternity leave, sick leave etc.

Temporary work may be used to respond to an unusual increase of work such as peaks of sales or production, seasonal tasks, the launching of products, promotional campaigns, etc.

What is a temporary employment contract?

It is a fixed term contract signed by a temporary employment company and a worker, which binds the latter to undertake paid work temporarily for third parties in their area of activity, the company lending their temporary work to the service user, while maintaining the legal-labour connection to the temporary employment company.

Is temporary work a legal activity?

Yes. The legal system for temporary work is laid down in Law no.07/2009, of 12 May, which approves a new legal regime of temporary work.

Do temporary employment companies require authorisation to operate?

Yes. TEC activities must be authorised, and a numbered licence issued and publicly registered. The TEC which are authorized to operate are published in the 1st Series of the Boletim de Trabalho e Emprego (the Work and Employment Bulletim), as are those which have been sanctioned with the suspension of their operating authorisation and the temporary prohibition of the same.

In what cases can a contract be signed for the use of temporary work?

A contract for the use of temporary work is permitted in the following situations:

  • - Substitution of worker, until return of absent worker returns;
  • - Occupation of a post during a 6 month, while a recruitment process is in progress;
  • - Temporary and exceptional increase of activity, up to 12 months;
  • - Precisely defined and non-durable projects or tasks, up to the termination of the justification, having a limit of 2 years;
  • - Seasonal or other activity whose annual production cycle presents irregularities due to the structural nature of the respective market, including the supply of raw materials up to the termination of the justification, having a limit of 2 years;
  • - Intermittent need for manpower determined by fluctuations of activity termination of the justifying cause, having the limit of 2 years;
  • - Intermittent need for the worker to directly support their family until the cause justifying the use of a temporary worker ends;
  • - Carrying out projects of limited duration, until the termination of the justification, having a limit of 2 years.

How long is the temporary work contract?

- The duration of the temporary work contract cannot exceed the duration of the user contract;

- Temporary employment contracts for a fixed term are not subject to the duration limit of nº 2 of article 148.º and, as long as the justifying reason remains, may be renewed up to four times;

- Fixed-term temporary employment contracts entered into to replace an absent worker are not subject to the renewal limit referred to in the previous number, without their absence being attributable to the employer, namely in cases of illness, accident, parental leave and other situations analogues;

- The duration of the fixed-term temporary work contract, including renewals, cannot exceed 2 years, or six or 12 months when it is signed, respectively, in the event of a job vacancy when a recruitment process is underway to fill it out or an exceptional increase in the company's activity;

- Temporary work contract for an indefinite term last is during for the time necessary to satisfy the users temporary need, and cannot exceed the duration limits as mentioned in the previous point;

- Without prejudice to the foregoing, the duration of successive temporary work contracts for different users, entered into with the same employer or company that has a controlling or group relationship with the latter, or maintains common organizational structures, cannot exceed four years.

- A temporary employment contract that exceeds the limit, referred in the previous point, becomes an indefinite employment contract for temporary assignment.

How are temporary workers paid?

Temporary workers must be paid:

  • - The proportion of hours effectively worked towards the monthly wage stipulated;
  • - Holiday pay, Christmas and holidays not taken, in proportion to the number of days of work done;
  • - The daily meal allowance stipulated by the company where the worker is placed;
  • - Other privileges possibly connected to the post occupied, (travel card, perks, shift subsidy,...);
  • - Possible compensation for the termination of the contract, in proportion to the time of the placement, if it exceeds one month;
  • - Social security contributions calculated from these figures (11%), as well as tax at source, at their respective level.

Does a temporary worker have the right to work overtime?

Yes. Overtime more than the working hours stipulated is paid with the additions laid down by General Labour Law or by the collective agreements in force in the user company.

What are the rights of the employee when terminating the contract of employment by expiry?

In the event of termination of Term Contract or Temporary Work, at the initiative of the employer, the employee is entitled to compensation corresponding to 18 days of basic remuneration and salary for each full year of seniority, for the first three years of contract. In the following years, the employee shall be compensated in the proportion corresponding to 12 days of basic remuneration and salary for each full year of seniority.

In the event of expiry of the worker's retirement, he is not entitled to any compensation.

If a worker is receiving unemployment benefit and is placed temporarily in a company, does the worker lose their right to this benefit?

No. The worker only stops receiving unemployment benefit during their placement but then takes it up again afterwards if they do not have a new placement.

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