Minimum wage in Portugal: A guide to average salary in Portugal
What is the minimum wage in Portugal? This guide includes Portugal's minimum wage per hour and the average salary in Portugal offered in different sectors in the country.
Portugal's minimum wage is calculated based on a flat monthly rate. The national minimum wage in Portugal in 2017 is EUR 557 per month (based on 14 payments a year). Portugal's minimum wage is updated annually based on the cost of living, national productivity and the government’s prices and incomes policy.
The minimum wage in Portugal is legislated under Portuguese Labour Law (articles 273–275) and there are three official minimum wages in Portugal, though they differ only slightly, including: a national Portuguese minimum wage, one for the Region of Azores and one for the Region of Madeira.
Portugal's minimum wage is debated and set by a government committee, which includes ministers and representatives of trade organisations and unions. Minimum wage discussions take place each year and usually result in a compromise between the three sides.
While the minimum wage in Portugal is low, there are heavy penalties for those who don’t adhere to it, and employers who fail to comply with Portugal's national minimum wage are fined under article 273 of the Labour Code.
Minimum wage in Portugal
In 2017 the government increased the Portuguese monthly minimum wage from EUR 530 to EUR 557, citing a compromise between employer (EUR 540) and union (EUR 565) demands. By the end of the parliament in 2019, the government has pledged to raise Portugal's minimum wage beyond EUR 600 for the first time (it will first rise to EUR 580 in 2018).
The minimum salary in Portugal is calculated based on 14 payments in a year rather than 12, so if you’re paid 12 times a year instead, the minimum monthly wage is EUR 649.83.
The minimum wage in Portugal is considerably lower than in some EU countries, such as the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg, where the national minimum salary is more than EUR 1,000 per month. Portugal's minimum wage is in line with countries such as Spain, Slovenia, Greece and Malta. Twenty-two of the 28 EU member states have an official minimum wage, although the monthly figure on offer varies significantly, from around EUR 220 to EUR 1,925.
All full-time workers, agricultural workers and domestic workers older than age 18 years are entitled to the Portuguese minimum wage, though employers may discount the salary by 20 percent for apprentices.
While the average salary in Portugal is rising only slightly, Portugal's unemployment is declining; with a rate of 10.5 percent at the end of 2016, unemployment is at its lowest since 2009.
Portugal's minimum wage per hour
As previously discussed, the minimum wage in Portugal is based on a salary per month calculation, as opposed to the salary per hour regulations in countries such as the UK.
Eurostat data from 2014 showed that the Portuguese minimum wage per hour was EUR 7.45, well below the EU average of EUR 15.30 and its closest neighbour, Spain, where earnings were at EUR 11.80 per hour. The data also revealed that Portugal's minimum wage per hour had been decreased from EUR 7.71 in 2010.
In 2017, employees who are paid 12 times a year, receive the Portuguese minimum wage salary and work an average of 40 hours a week can expect a per hour salary in Portugal of around EUR 4.06.
Average salary in Portugal
The average salary in Portugal was around EUR 1,130 per month in the second half of 2015, making it one of the lower paying countries in the EU. According to a government report in 2016, 21 per cent of Portugal’s 648,000 workers were paid the national minimum wage in Portugal.
The highest percentages of workers receiving the minimum salary in Portugal were in the manufacturing, furniture and food, beverage and tobacco sectors, while the lowest figures were found in the energy, financial services and insurance sectors, which typically get higher than Portugal's average income.
Salary in Portugal for foreigners
If you are an expat working in Portugal, you’re entitled to Portugal's minimum wage on the same basis as Portuguese nationals, although you will need to get hold of a residence permit (Cartao de Residencia), which can be obtained from the immigration office. Read more about getting a Portuguese visa or permit.
If you’re a citizen from the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), you can freely move to Portugal and then find a job once you’ve settled, but if you’re from outside of the EU you’ll need proof of employment before moving.
Expats can find jobs in a range of different industries. In recent years, the call centre industry has rapidly expanded to rival the services industry, but while such jobs might seem enticing to multilingual expats at first, Portugal's average income can be low in comparison with other western European countries.
Lisbon tends to be the place for expats with degrees looking for jobs in Portugal, with the technology sector in particular growing over the last few years. Before moving to Portugal, you should check that your qualifications from your home country will be valid in Portugal. Many countries including Portugal are part of a shared agreement known as the Bologna Process.
Average salary in Lisbon
Lisbon has the same national minimum wage as the rest of Portugal, but being home to many of Portugal’s technological and financial companies means the average salary in Lisbon is a little higher than elsewhere.
Working conditions, however, are less favourable than neighbouring countries. According to the UBS Prices and Earnings report, Lisbon has the lowest number of legal holidays, with only five public holidays required by law per year. In terms of working hours, Lisbon sits in the middle with an average of 1,748 working hours per year, a little more than London and Munich but considerably less than Geneva.
According to the same report, the average wage in Lisbon varies considerably across different industries. Average annual salaries for some of the more common jobs include:
- Bus driver: USD 28,100
- Chef: USD 27,773
- Department manager: USD 21,231
- Electrical engineer: USD 20,684
- Industrial technician: USD 19,545
- Mechanic: USD 16,149
- Hospital nurse: USD 15,572
- Female industrial worker: USD 14,938
- Construction worker: USD 11,539
- Call centre worker: USD 10,562
Negotiating your wages in Portugal
Some companies in Portugal will look to inflation rates when negotiating your wages in Portgual. Inflation in Portugal went up by 0.6 percent year-on-year in December 2016, an increase below market expectations of 1.4 percent. The overall rate of inflation in 2016 was 0.6 percent, slightly above the 0.5 percent recorded in 2015.
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