Unemployment benefit in Portugal

Unemployment benefit in Portugal

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If you're unfortunate enough to lose your job, here is some information on the rules and regulations on unemployment in Portugal.

If you were working in Portugal and lost your job, you may be entitled to unemployment benefits in Portugal.

Unemployment insurance

Involuntary employment may provide entitlement to the following benefits:

  • Unemployment benefit;
  • Social unemployment benefit
  • Partial unemployment benefit


People who were employed and are covered by the welfare subsystem are entitled to unemployment benefit. In order to receive unemployment benefit, you must register with the Job Centre in the area where you live within 90 days of becoming unemployed. You may apply for the benefit on the enrolment form, at the Job Centre, or on-line via the Direct Social Security Service that is available at the Social Security Portal (www.seg-social.pt), within the same period. You are entitled to unemployment benefit if you completed a period of 450 days’ paid work in the 24 months preceding the date unemployment began.

You are entitled to initial social unemployment benefit if, not having achieved the guarantee period for award of unemployment benefit, you completed 180 days’ paid work in the 12 months preceding the date your unemployment began. The benefit is also awarded, at a later date, to people who are still unemployed when the period for payment of the unemployment benefit expires.

In both situations, the benefit is paid only to workers whose family unit income per capita does not exceed 80 percent of the IAS Social Support Index, a reference value updated annually.

Partial unemployment benefit is paid if the worker is receiving unemployment benefit and begins a part-time job and the wage from that job is less than the unemployment benefit received. The working time must be between 20 percent and 75 percent of normal full-time working hours.

Unemployment benefit can be awarded for between 9 and 38 months, depending on the employee’s age and the number of years of contributions registered (after the last period of unemployment benefit received).

Social unemployment benefit can be awarded for the same period, except when it follows unemployment benefit. In such cases, it is reduced by half.

Partial unemployment benefit is paid from the time the part-time job begins until the end of the period during which the worker is initially entitled to unemployment benefit.

The subsídio de desemprego (unemployment benefit) corresponds to 65 percent of the average daily income received in the previous 12 months, starting from the second month prior to the one in which you became unemployed (this calculation includes benefits received for official holidays and Christmas). However, it cannot be less than the Indexante dos Apoios Sociais – IAS (Social Support Index) (except where the payments concerned are below this level), or greater than three times the IAS.

The amount of subsídio social de desemprego (social unemployment benefit) may be 80 percent of the IAS in the case of a worker without dependants or 100 percent if the worker has dependants. If the benefit exceeds the amount of the reference pay (average pay received in the six months prior to the second month before becoming unemployed), however, only the value of that pay will be awarded.

The subsídio de desemprego parcial (partial unemployment benefit) corresponds to the difference between the unemployment benefit the employee was receiving plus 35 percent, and the pay for the new part-time job.


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