Work-life balance

Portugal-flag-140Many Portuguese people feel a tension between their working lives family responsibilities and their personal well-being suffers as a consequence. In OECD and other European studies, women in particular reported suffering from a poor work-life balance. Indeed, many Portuguese women reported that keeping a healthy balance between work and life was not easy.

An important aspect of work-life balance is the time spent at work: about 8% of men spend more hours in paid work, compared with 3% for women.

Compared with other European countries, Portugal places greater emphasis on family values although younger generations are much more career oriented than their parents were. Even the extended family is quite closely bound and  members are usually very loyal to their families.

For working parents, balancing work and domestic responsibilities is a crucial part of life  and families need more support when caring for young children. The recent government reform on parental leave has allowed families to spend more time with their newborns, as well as promoting gender equality. Families are asking for more investment in child care services for the future.

National holidays

Following is the list of Portuguese Bank and Public holidays:

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • February 28 – Carnival
  • April 14 – Good Friday (moveable date)
  • April 25 – Liberation Day
  • May 1 – Labour Day
  • June 10 – Portugal Day
  • August 15 – Assumption Day
  • October 5 – Republic Day
  • November 1 – All Saints’ Day
  • December 1 – Restoration of Portuguese Independence
  • December 8 – Feast of Immaculate Conception
  • December 25 – Christmas Day

Working Hours

Local time is Greenwich Mean Time – the same as in London in the UK. Usual business hours are from 9 AM to 6 PM. Shops are normally open from 9 AM until 8 PM (some shopping centres stay  open until 11pm). Office hours of public institutions are usually from 9 AM to 6 PM with a lunch break from 12.30 PM until 2 PM – there is no ‘siesta’ tradition in Portugal.

Portugal does not have many  convenience shops, however almost all petrol stations have a 24 hour shop service Coffee shops and snack bars are open until 11pm, apart from some convenience stores and petrol stations. Every town operates a 24 hour pharmacy service and each pharmacy shows a list of pharmacies open on Sundays, during holidays, etc.

Work Culture

The statutory maximum working week in Portugal is 40 hours and the statutory maximum working day is 8 hours. Annual holidays provide employees with the opportunity for physical and mental recuperation and the right to be paid for this period. Employees may not waive their right to paid annual holidays. In Portugal the holiday entitlement is 22 days (in the banking sector it is 25). For employees on fixed-term contracts lasting for less than a year, the entitlement is two days for each month of service completed. During their annual holiday, employees receive the pay corresponding to the period concerned plus a holiday bonus of the same amount

Health insurance

The constitution in Portugal protects  health care as a fundamental right. As a consequence, the public health facilities are not always able to offer a particularly high level of service. Today Portugal still lags behind most  other EU member countries in some categories of health care

The health sector is currently undergoing extensive modernisation and it is expected that the number of high quality hospitals will grow. Furthermore, there are many private health establishments that offer a high standard of service. So overall, health care in Portugal is gradually improving.

EU citizens have  free access to the health care system in Portugal under the EU reciprocal health agreement on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) (the validity is for three to five years).

This card covers any medical treatment you may need during your trip, or in the case of illness or accident. Your card provides you with access to same state-provided medical treatment that is available to a Portuguese citizen. like any other  . Although in a vast majority of cases, the health care can be claimed for free, it is still advisable to arrange for optional insurance for travellers.

If you intend to stay in Portugal for an extended period of time, your rights change. If you work in Portugal and thus pay the compulsory national insurance contribution, you are entitled to free health care. In other words, you are entitled to the same range of health services as other local citizens. This usually involves free essential medicines, free appointments with a doctor etc. It is normally necessary to pay for non-essential medicines and the contribution varies between 40 and 100 per cent of the cost of the medicine. In comparison with other European countries, it is possible to get a considerably larger number of medicines on prescription in Portugal.

Pharmacies are open for long hours and there is always at least one that is open for emergency prescriptions.

In Portugal the number to dial in case of emergency is is 112.

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