What is the minimum wage in Portugal? Learn about the minimum wage rules in Portugal and discover what you might earn as an expat.
The national minimum wage in Portugal in 2019 is €600 per month (based on 14 payments in a year, or €700.00 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 labor law. 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 are fined under article 273 of the Labor Code.
Minimum wage in Portugal 2019
In 2019, the government increased the Portuguese monthly minimum wage from €580 to €600, or €635 for civil servants.
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 €700.
The minimum wage in Portugal is considerably lower than in some EU countries, such as Spain, 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 Slovenia, Greece and Malta.
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.
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 2019, employees on minimum wage who are paid 12 times a year can expect an hourly salary of €4.38, based on a 40-hour working week.
Average salary in Portugal
The average salary in Portugal in the second half of 2018 was €1,148.29, according to data from Trading Economics – up from €1,144.61 in the previous period. This makes Portugal one of the lower paying countries in the EU.
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 income, Lisbon was ranked 40th out of 77 cities, with employees needing to work for 36 minutes to purchase a Big Mac – more than double the 15 minutes for employees in New York.
Negotiating your wages in Portugal
Some companies in Portugal will look to inflation rates when negotiating your wages. Inflation is projected to drop to 1.63% in 2019, having hit 1.75% in 2018 and 1.56% in 2017.