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Portugal Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Annual Leave (Vacation), Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave, Bereavement Leave, and Public Holidays for 2024

Table Of Contents

Last updated on June 11, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Portugal

Vacation (Annual Leave) Quota

22 days

Employees in Portugal are entitled to paid vacation for a minimum duration of 22 working days per year. Leave for public holidays is provided in addition to statutory vacation leave.

Vacation Entitlement

Vacation leave is mandatory for all employees:

  • Employees working under a fixed-term contract earn 2 days per month, up to a maximum of 20 days.
  • For temporary contracts up to 6 months long, employees earn 2 vacation days for each month worked.
  • For contracts lasting up to 12 months or ending the year after hiring, vacation days are given based on how long the contract lasts.
  • Part-time workers are also entitled to vacation days, according to the number of working days (or hours).
  • Some collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) offer more days of vacation.

All regular employees are entitled to 22 annual vacation days, which are counted from Monday to Friday, not including holidays. However, for employees who work on weekends, those days (that occur on weekends) also count as vacation days along with regular weekdays.

Can an employee take a vacation in their first year of employment?

Yes. In the first year of employment, an employee is entitled to two working days of leave for each month of work, up to 20 days. However, taking a vacation is allowed only after a 6-month waiting period.

Booking a vacation

The scheduling of vacation is made through an agreement between the employee and the employer. As a rule, the vacation should be between May 1 and October 31 (unless otherwise agreed). Employees should take at least 10 working days of consecutive vacation; the rest can be split into smaller fragments. Employees can have up to a total of 30 vacation days in a single year.

Any requests for paid time off must be submitted before the leave begins and need approval from the manager. If you’re a business owner looking to simplify leave management, consider using a platform to centralize all these requests. Vacation Tracker could be the perfect solution for optimizing these processes.

Cashing out vacation days is not an option

The right to vacation leave is absolute and, as such, can’t be replaced by any economic or other compensation, even by agreement between the employer and the employee.

Accumulation and Carry-Over

Allowed until April 30.

If an employee has not used all vacation days during the calendar year in which they are due, unused vacation days may be transferred from one year to the next. But these carried-over days must be taken by April 30 of the following year.

Payment for Unused Annual Leave

Must be paid.

Any vacation that an employee has earned but hasn’t used must be compensated when they leave their job. Portugal’s leave laws make mandatory the payment of accrued, unused vacation leave days. However, if the employment contract is terminated, an employee has the option to take the remaining vacation days just before the contract ends.

Sick Leave in Portugal

Up to 1095 days, paid by Social Security.

Employees in Portugal are entitled to partially paid sick leave, which can last up to 1095 days. (Sick days are counted as calendar days and not as business days.) Portugal’s sick leave law is very generous concerning paid leave.

A medical certificate required to confirm an employee’s absence because of health problems is known as a Certificate of Temporary Disability for Work (Certificado de Incapacidade Temporária para o Trabalho - CIT). This document, also known as a medical discharge (a baixa médica) or sickness benefit (subsídio por doença), is necessary for the employee to justify their absence and claim sickness allowance. Employees can obtain this certificate from their family doctor or an official healthcare facility within the National Health System (Serviço Nacional de Saúde - SNS). However, if the absence is for up to 3 business days, employees can get this certificate directly from the SNS 24 website, without visiting an SNS facility. This online doctor’s note, which is self-reported (autodeclarado), can be requested a maximum of twice a year. For sick leave lasting longer than 3 days, employees must schedule a regular appointment with their family doctor at the NHS.


Sick leave in Portugal is paid by Social Security (a Segurança Social).

A short-term medical certificate (o atestado médico) is required for sick leave of up to 3 days, but it doesn’t qualify for sickness allowance. If the sick leave lasts more than 3 days, the doctor must issue a long-term medical certificate (a baixa médica), which the employee must present at the company.

In both cases, the first 3 days of sick leave are unpaid, and employees are entitled to partial payment from the fourth day of absence (although many employers choose to cover it). After the first 3 days, sick pay is a part of the employee’s salary, calculated by applying a percentage to the employee’s reference remuneration. Check out Glossary below to see more details about reference remuneration.

Sick Pay

To be entitled to sick pay, an employee must have worked and contributed for the past 6 calendar months to Social Security (or another social protection system, national or foreign). These six months may be consecutive or not.

The amount an employee receives during sick leave is directly linked to how long they’re absent:

Duration of Sick Leave Sickness Benefits
First 3 days Unpaid
From 4 to 30 days 55% of the salary
From 31 to 90 days 60% of the salary
From 91 to 365 days 70% of the salary
Longer than 365 days 75% of the salary

This sick leave is paid entirely by Social Security.

=> Read more in the detailed practical guide about Portugal sick leave law (in Portuguese).

=> Check out the official government page of the National Health Service in English, as well as the website of Portuguese Social Security.

Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leave

Up to a maximum of 240 days of partially paid leave by Social Security.

Maternity, paternity, and parental leave in Portugal are woven together and integrated into a united parental leave system. This leave includes regular birth as well as the adoption of a child. Both the mother and father are entitled to parental leave.

Parental leave benefits, paid by Social Security, provide compensation for the income lost while parents are not working. Parental leave is separated into two parts: initial and extended. The initial period includes mandatory time off for both parents. Extended parental leave is optional and may extend parental leave by an additional 3 months.

Parental leave may last up to a maximum of 240 days, including 150 days for initial parental leave and an additional 90 days for extended parental leave.

Initial Parental Leave

  • Lasts up to 120 or 150 consecutive days.
  • Includes both maternity and paternity leave.
  • Maternity leave can include up to 30 voluntary days before birth and 42 compulsory days after birth.
  • Paternity leave is 28 days, with the first 7 consecutive days taken immediately after birth.
  • Parents can opt for shared leave, adding 30 days to the initial period.

Parental Leave Benefits

Social Security covers a parental allowance based on the chosen duration of leave.

If parents choose a 120-day parental leave, Social Security covers 100% of an employee’s reference remuneration (check the Glossary below for more details). Opting for 150 days means SS covers 80%.

Maternity Leave in Portugal

Mothers may take up to:

  • 30 days of voluntary maternity leave before childbirth;

  • 42 days of mandatory leave (6 weeks) after the birth.

These days count within the initial parental leave, which can total 120 or 150 days.

Paternity Leave in Portugal

Fathers are entitled to 28 days of leave; at least 7 days must be used immediately after the child’s birth. The rest must be taken within 6 weeks. They may also take an additional seven voluntary leave days that can be taken alongside the mother.

Shared Parental Leave

If parents choose to share initial parental leave, each can take one period of 30 consecutive days or two periods of 15 days after the mother’s 6-week leave. This adds 30 days to the initial 120 days, or 150 days, of leave. These 30 days can be taken by one parent or split, with 15 days for each.

If the parents choose the initial parental leave that exceeds 120 days (meaning if they select 150 or 180 days), they may, after the first 120 days, mix the rest of the days with part-time work. The additional 30 days are always the final period.

Extended Parental Leave

  • Can extend initial leave by up to 3 months for both parents.
  • Must be taken immediately after the initial leave.

Extended Parental Leave Benefits

Social security provides a pay benefit of 25% of the reference remuneration. If parental duties are shared, this benefit increases to 40%.


All these types of parental leave are intricately linked together.


Parental leave in Portugal is paid by Social Security.

Special Types of Parental Leave

Prenatal Care Leave (Maternal Health Leave)

Expectant mothers in Portugal have the opportunity to attend prenatal appointments, reflecting the country’s commitment to maternal well-being during pregnancy.

Adoption Leave

An emplopyee who adopts a child under 15 years old is eligible for the same Initial Parental Leave as parents with regular childbirth.

Adoption Leave Benefits

The adoption leave option offers either 120 days of leave at full pay or 150 days of leave at 80% of the regular salary.

Childcare Leave

Once all the additional parental leave options are used up, parents can take leave to take care of a young child. Employees can take a maximum of 2 years of Childcare Leave, or 3 years if they have 2 children or more. This leave can be taken all at once or in smaller periods.

Childcare Leave for Disability or Chronic Illness

Parents may take up to 6 months of leave (which can be made longer up to 4 years) to care for a child with a disability or chronic illness. If the child is 12 years old or older, a medical certificate confirming the need for assistance is required.

Bereavement Leave in Portugal

2–20 days of paid leave (according to the family relationship with the deceased).

Employees in Portugal are entitled to bereavement leave (sometimes called compassionate leave) in the event of the death of a close family member. This type of leave is considered justified absence, as it is guaranteed by law. This means that an employee will receive their salary as usual.

The duration of a bereavement leave varies from 2 to 20 days.

The entitlement for the exact number of days is based on the family relationship between the employee and the person who died:

  • 20 days: the death of a child (biological or adopted), a stepchild, a son-in-law, or a daughter-in-law.

  • 5 days: the death of a spouse or partner living in a de facto union;

  • 5 days: the death of a parent, stepmother, stepfather, or in-laws.

  • 2 days: the death of a brother, a sister, a grandchild, a grandparent, a brother-in-law, and a sister-in-law. This includes not only the employee’s own family members listed, but also the relatives of the spouse.

The bereavement leave begins on the day of death, unless it occurs after the employee’s work shift.

An employee is not entitled to leave due to the death of family members after the third degree of the collateral line: uncles, nephews, and cousins. However, in these events, it is possible to attend the funeral, but an employee must present the required documents to the employer to have authorized leave.

Other Types of Leave in Portugal

Jury Duty Leave in Portugal

Jury duty leave is not specified by Portugal leave laws.

Military Leave in Portugal

Military leave is not specified by Portugal’s leave policy.

Voting Leave in Portugal

Voting leave is not specified by law.

Marriage Leave

15 days

An employee who is getting married is entitled to 15 consecutive days of paid marriage leave.

Public Holidays in Portugal for 2024

13 national holidays

Apart from the 13 (national) public holidays listed below in the table, each of the 308 municipalities has its own local or regional holiday. Employees can take paid leave for public holidays (feriados).

A complete list of national holidays celebrated in Portugal in 2024:
Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
March 29 Good Friday
March 31 Easter
April 25 Liberation Day
May 1 Worker’s Day
May 30 Corpus Christi
June 10 National Day
August 15 Assumption Day
October 5 Republic Day
November 1 All Saints
December 1 Independence Restoration Day
December 8 Immaculate Conception
December 25 Christmas

National holidays that occur on weekend days are generally lost.

Regional Holidays

Regional holidays are based on the company’s location. Here are 5 regional holidays celebrated in certain regions and cities:

  • 24th May – Day of the Azores (celebrated in Azores)
  • 13th June – Feast of St. Anthony (Lisbon)
  • 24th June – Feast of St. John the Baptist (Porto)
  • 1st July – Madeira Day (Madeira)
  • 26th December – Second Day of Christmas


  1. Código do Trabalho (Labor Code), https://diariodarepublica.pt/dr/legislacao-consolidada/lei/2009-34546475
  2. Labor Code Concerning Portugal Leave Laws, https://diariodarepublica.pt/dr/legislacao-consolidada/lei/2009-34546475-46747075
  3. Portugal Laws & Regulations, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/portugal
  4. Guia do direito a férias em 2024 (Guide to the right to vacation in 2024), https://www.comparaja.pt/blog/direito-a-ferias
  5. Payroll and Benefits Guide Portugal, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/portugal/
  6. Definitive Guide to Hiring in Portugal, https://www.globalexpansion.com/countrypedia/portugal
  7. Ter uma criança: Licença parental em Portugal, https://eportugal.gov.pt/pt-PT/guias/ter-uma-crianca/licenca-parental
  8. Having a child: Parental leave in Portugal, https://eportugal.gov.pt/en/guias/ter-uma-crianca/licenca-parental


  • Código do Trabalho = Labor Code
  • A férias = Vacation
  • Período anual de férias = Annual leave
  • 22 dias úteis de férias por ano = 22 days of vacation per year
  • O direito a férias = Right to vacation leave
  • Tirar um dia de folga = To take a day off
  • Atestado médico = Sick leave (up to 3 days)
  • Baixa Médica = Sick leave (more than 3 days)
  • Certificado de Incapacidade Temporária (CIT) = The document issued by the doctor certifying temporary incapacity for work, which is then sent to Social Security to receive the sickness benefit. This certificate not only confirms the employee’s incapacity and the nature of the illness but also specifies whether it is an initial sick leave or an extension of the leave.
  • Reference remuneration = The amount used to figure out how much an employee will receive as sick pay. It’s calculated by average earnings reported to Social Security in the first six months of the last eight months before an employee has stopped working due to illness. For instance, if an employee got sick in November, it’s based on what they earned on average from March to August.
  • Net reference remuneration = An employee’s reference remuneration minus deductions for Social Security and IRS.
  • Licença parental = Parental leave
  • A licença de maternidade = Maternity Leave
  • A licença de paternidade = Paternity Leave
  • A licença parental inicial = Initial parental leave
  • A licença parental alargada = Extended parental leave
  • Feriados = Public holidays


Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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