Labour Law: changes to the Labour Code

On October 1st the amendments to the Labour Code and its respective regulations, as well as to the Code of Contributory Social Security Regimes, all promoted by Law no. 93/20149, of September 4th, and which focus on various aspects of labour relations and working conditions, come into force.

The following amendments stand out:

1. The trial period is extended from 90 to 180 days for contracts concluded with first-time job seekers or long-term unemployed.

2. The maximum duration of fixed-term employment contracts is two years, with the possibility of three renewals of the initial contract, however, they may not exceed the duration of the first contract.

3. The maximum duration of employment contracts of indefinite duration shall be reduced to four years.

4. Concerning fixed-term contracts, it is no longer possible to hire first-time job seekers or long-term unemployed, but it is possible for cases of very long-term unemployment.

5. Very short-term contracts are extended from 15 to 35 days and their use is extended to all sectors, no longer being limited to agriculture and tourism.

6. Under the temporary work regime, a limit of six renewals of temporary fixed-term employment contracts is now provided for, insofar as the reason for the contracts in question persists and with the exception of contractual situations for the direct or indirect replacement of workers whose absence is not attributable to the employer, which remain unrestricted as to their respective renewals.

7. Amendments are made to the Code of Contributory Social Security Regimes through the application of an additional contribution for excessive staff turnover, which is a penalty at the contributory level in situations in which the employer exceeds in each calendar year the sector indicator in force for fixed-term contracts.

8. Under the redundancy scheme, the period for issuing an opinion on dismissal by the employee or the representative organisation for workers is extended to 15 days, instead of 10 days, from the date of the initial communication.

9. The individual hours bank modality is revoked (however, the new law allows the existing ones to be maintained for a maximum period of 1 year) and, within the scope of the forecast application of the Group Hour Bank regime to a group of workers, it is now necessary to hold a referendum.

10. Employees are entitled to 40 hours per year of lifelong training.

11. Measures for the protection of workers against harassment by employers or other workers are reinforced.

12. At the level of collective bargaining, an increase in the group of matters that can only be removed by Collective Regulation Instruments, and the “forms of compliance and guarantees of retribution, as well as the payment of overtime work” are now included in that list.

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