How to Navigate Parental Leave in Portugal: A Guide for New Parents


In Portugal, after the birth or adoption of a child, both parents are entitled to parental leave, offering precious time to bond with their little one without worrying about income loss. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of it.

Parental Leave Basics

Parental leave in Portugal is funded by Social Security, which compensates for the salary you miss while taking time off work. There are two types of parental leave: initial and extended. The initial leave can last up to 150 days and includes mandatory and exclusive periods for each parent, while the extended leave offers an additional three months.

Initial Parental Leave

Initial parental leave spans up to 120 or 150 consecutive days and includes specific leave periods exclusive to both the mother and the father. Here are the key points:

  • 120 Days: If you opt for 120 days, Social Security will pay you 100% of your reference salary (the average of all declared gross wages over the first 6 months of the last 8 months before the leave begins).
  • 150 Days: If you choose 150 days, the parental allowance drops to 80% of your reference salary.

Extra 30 Days:

You can add 30 days to your leave in these situations:

  • If both parents share the leave exclusively, without overlapping.
  • If you have twins, you get 30 extra days for each twin beyond the first.

Mother’s Exclusive Parental Leave

Mothers can take up to 30 optional days before the birth and a mandatory 42 days (6 weeks) after the birth. These periods are part of the initial parental leave that totals up to 120 or 150 days.

Father’s Exclusive Parental Leave

Fathers are entitled to 28 days of leave, which can be taken consecutively or alternately, with a minimum of 7 days, after the birth of the baby. The first 7 days must be consecutive and taken immediately after the birth. The remaining 21 days can be taken within 6 weeks (42 days) post-birth. Additionally, fathers can take 7 optional working days, either consecutively or alternately, alongside the mother.

Shared Parental Leave

Parents can choose to share the initial parental leave. If each parent takes an exclusive period of 30 consecutive days or two separate periods of 15 consecutive days after the mother’s mandatory 6 weeks, an additional 30 days are added to the initial 120 or 150 days.

  • 120 + 30 Days: If your leave is 120 + 30 days, Social Security pays 100% of the reference salary.
  • 150 + 30 Days: For 150 + 30 days, the allowance is 83% of the reference salary. However, if the father takes 60 exclusive days, the initial allowance increases from 83% to 90%.

Extended Parental Leave

The initial leave can be extended for up to 3 months, immediately following the initial leave. Social Security will pay 25% of the reference salary for this period, but if parental responsibilities are shared, the allowance increases to 40%.

Making the Most of Your Leave

Combining the remaining days of leave with part-time work after the first 120 days can be a great way to ease back into your job while still enjoying time with your new family member. Whether taken exclusively by one parent or shared, the last 30 days of leave are flexible to suit your family’s needs.

Portugal’s parental leave policies provide an excellent framework to support new families. By understanding your options and planning accordingly, you can ensure this precious time is as beneficial and stress-free as possible. Happy parenting!

Want to know more about what it’s like having a baby in Portugal? Click here.