What is the minimum wage in Portugal? Find out 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 2018 is €580 per month (based on 14 payments in a year, or €676.67 based on 12 payments). 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). 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 organizations 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 2018 the government increased the Portuguese monthly minimum wage from €557 to €580. By the end of the parliament in 2019, the government has pledged to raise Portugal’s minimum wage beyond €600 for the first time).
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 €676.67.
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 €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 €260 to €1,999.
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% for apprentices.
While the average salary in Portugal is rising only slightly, Portugal’s unemployment is declining; with a rate of 8% in December 2017 – the lowest level for 13 years.
Portugal’s minimum wage per hour
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.
In 2017, employees who were paid 12 times a year, received the Portuguese minimum wage salary and worked an average of 40 hours a week can expect a per hour salary in Portugal of around €4.06.
Average salary in Portugal
The average salary in Portugal in the second half of 2017 was €1144.61, according to data from Trading Economics – up from €1138.73 in the previous period. This makes Portugal one of the lower paying countries in the EU.
According to a government report in 2016, 21% 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 expats
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.
If you’re a citizen from the EU or European Economic Area (EEA), you can freely move to Portugal and 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 (in US dollars) for some of the more common jobs include:
- Bus driver: $ 28,100
- Chef: $27,773
- Department manager: $ 21,231
- Electrical engineer: $20,684
- Industrial technician: $19,545
- Mechanic: $16,149
- Hospital nurse: $15,572
- Female industrial worker: $14,938
- Construction worker: $11,539
- Call centre worker: $10,562
Negotiating your wages in Portugal
Some companies in Portugal will look to inflation rates when negotiating your wages. Inflation in Portugal increased significantly in 2017 – averaging 1.37%. This is well in excess of the 0.6% recorded in 2016, and 0.5% in 2015.