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Selection order in redundancies in Portugal: what rules apply?

Written by
pbbr, the exclusive Portuguese member of Ius Laboris.
Employers contemplating collective dismissals for economic reasons in Portugal must certain follow rules that establish which employees will be affected

In the event of collective dismissal for economic reasons affecting a minimum of two employees if the organisation employs up to 50 employees, or five employees if it employs more than 50 employees, the employer cannot randomly select employees to be made redundant (although a different approach is taken if the position affected is unique). The employer must establish objective and non-discriminatory selection criteria to justify in detail the elimination of each specific position.

If the redundancy affects fewer than two or five employees, and therefore the collective dismissal rules do not apply, a formal job elimination procedure must be initiated.

In this scenario, and if there is more than one position in the organisation with an equivalent job description that needs to be eliminated, the following criteria must be applied in the exact order in which they appear:

  • worse performance assessment (with parameters previously known to the employee);
  • lower academic and professional qualifications;
  • higher economic burden that would be caused by continuing the employment relationship;
  • less experience in the position;
  • shorter length of service in the organisation.


Inês Reis
Partner - Portugal