Coronavirus Update for Employers in Portugal

coronavirus update for employers in Portugal

Employees can receive free care for COVID-19 at public health institutions plus a number of private ones which form the ‘COVID-19 national health network.’ Clinical situations not related to COVID-19 are treated at other hospitals and at temporary military campaign hospitals.

With very few exceptions, private insurers do not cover medical expenses related to epidemic or pandemic diseases. However, the do cover death and disability for cases like COVID-19. Sick leave due to COVID-19 is paid in full for employees of both public and private companies. This is a special measure for the current situation.

Economic and social measures

The following are the primary measures Portugal’s government enacted to support its economy:

  • Lines of credit with a joint allocation of 3Bn€ for companies of the following 4 areas of activity: 1) restaurants and similar; 2) tourism; 3) travel agencies, touristic animation, event organizers and similar; 4) industry.
  • A temporary lay-off regime for companies that meet some requisites, divided into the two following situations:
    • Temporary suspension of the labour contract: the employee receives 2/3 of the salary, 70% of which paid by Social Security and 30% by the employer.
    • Temporary reduction of working hours: the employer pays the salary correspondent to the hours of work and Social Security pays the difference between that amount and the above mentioned 2/3. The employer also pays the remaining 30% of the difference.
  • While under the lay-off regime, companies will not pay the Social Security contributions. The salary received by the employee, however, continues to be subject to both Social Security and income tax.
  • While under the lay-off regime and also during the subsequent 60 days, companies cannot terminate any labour contract with their employees.
  • On April 8th there were over 35,000 companies and 650,000 employees already covered by the lay-off regime.
  • There is a moratorium of 6 months, up to September 30th, under which companies and individuals will not pay the monthly installments of banking loans already in force.
  • There is a moratorium for the payment of housing rents to whoever proves a given decrease of his/her income. Landlords who are more affected by this measure will have access to a loan without interest.

Containment measures

  • People can only circulate in the following cases: working in sectors of activity allowed by the Government (declaration from the Employer is required), acquiring essential goods (food, medicines) or providing assistance to people in need.
  • During the Easter period (April 9 to 13) nobody can move out of the municipality of residence, even if under the exceptions above mentioned.
  • Police authorities have dozens of check-points throughout the country to control and enforce these measures, as well as on several points of the border with Spain.
  • People presenting symptoms compatible to COVID-19 must call the NHS dedicated phone number, and not go directly to a hospital. Mainland Portugal and Madeira is (+ 351) 808 24 24 24, the Azores is (+351) 808 24 60 24.

Helpful resources

Portuguese authorities have recommended that those in Portugal who have recently traveled to an affected area (including Northern Italy, China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, or Iran), and are experiencing symptoms, should contact the Portuguese COVID-19 Health Hotlines.
(press 9 for English)
– Mainland Portugal and Madeira – (+ 351) 808 24 24 24
– Azores – (+351) 808 24 60 24

Portuguese Director General of Health (DGS) COVID -19 information
(for English click on the Globe on the upper side of the page)


Asinta’s Portuguese Partner, VisaVis, provided this coronavirus update for employers in Portugal.