Employment Rights for Pregnant Women and New Parents

Mothers-to-be have a number of rights and are well protected when employed and pregnant. Find out about maternity leave and the benefits available...

In Portugal pregnancy and motherhood are protected by law, namely in terms of employment rights, the right to a maternity leave and the right to financial benefits (pre- and post-natal).

Women that are pregnant or on maternity leave cannot be fired from their jobs without a prior, favourable agreement from the Commission for Equality in Work (Comissão para a Igualdade no Trabalho e no Emprego, CITE). This must be submitted in writing to both the employee and employer no later than 30 days after the process has begun.

To benefit from maternity rights, the employer must receive written notification, which must be accompanied by a medical certificate.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave can be taken either as 120 consecutive days or in two separate leaves as follows: 30 days prior to birth and 90 days after birth. In the case of having twins, the 120 day period is extended by another 30 days. During this period the full salary is paid. A mother-to-be to may instead opt for 150 days of pregnancy leave in which case she receives 80 percent of her salary.

Both parents are allowed time off work for all pre-natal appointments, and for preparing for the birth.

During the pregnancy and for twelve months after the birth women have the right not to work at night or work overtime. Activities or tasks that might harm the health of the pregnant woman or the foetus are also forbidden or should be restricted.

Breast-feeding mothers have the right to two leaves of absence per day (one hour each), without loss of pay. Women should notify employers of the intention ten days before the leave of absence begins. Both parents are entitled to such leaves of absences to accommodate bottle feeding. In the case of multiple births, an extra 30 days are granted for each additional child.

Paternity leave

For working fathers, mandatory paternity leave is set at five working days within one month after the birth. The five days can be taken consecutively or not.

In some cases, the father is entitled to the same rights as the mother:

  • Death of the mother
  • Physical or psychological inability of the mother
  • Joint decision by the parents (in which case the mother is entitled to the same rights as the father in the reverse situation)

Financial Benefits

Pregnant women (or families) are entitled to a pre-natal financial subsidy (Abono de Família) from 13 weeks of pregnancy. All national citizens, EU citizens, third-national citizens, refugees and stateless people residing in the country are entitled to a pre-natal subsidy.

The subsidy should be requested by writing to the Directorate General of Social Security (Direcção Gerald a Segurança Social, DGSS). This can be made during the pregnancy and up until a maximum of six months after the birth.

The following are required to submit the request:

  • Completed form (available from the DGSS desk)
  • Identification documents
  • Declaration of revenue (Declaração de Rendimento Singular, IRS).

The subsidy is disbursed the month following the 13th week of pregnancy, and is calculated based on the income of the family