Portugal’s Minimum Wage & Average Salaries

The small print: Portugalist may generate a commission from mentioned products or services. This is at no additional cost to you and it does not affect our editorial standards in any way. All content, including comments, should be treated as informational and not advice of any kind, including legal or financial advice. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors or omissions or damages arising from its display or use. Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement. [Disclaimer Policy]

Written by: | Last updated on February 12, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2024, Portugal set its minimum wage at €820 per month, a figure that reflects annual adjustments based on the cost of living, national productivity, and governmental fiscal policies. Despite this, the average wage in Portugal stands at €1,463 as of February 2024, according to RTP.pt, underscoring a disparity with the cost of living that has notably risen over recent years.

Particularly in Lisbon, the rental market is so tight that finding an apartment for under €1,000 a month is becoming increasingly difficult. This economic pressure has led to a trend where many individuals, especially the younger demographic, opt to live with their parents or in shared housing situations, sometimes even sharing space with other couples.

Portugal’s minimum wage ranks among the lowest in Europe, contributing to a trend where the country is less seen as a destination for employment opportunities, especially for the younger generation. This has led to a significant rate of youth migration, with many seeking better-paying opportunities abroad.

However, it’s not all bleak. Certain sectors, such as technology, energy, financial services, and insurance, offer competitive salaries that can compare with those in other countries. But generally, the wage levels across the board tend to be lower, and job opportunities can be scarce, particularly for those who do not speak Portuguese. Many expatriates find themselves working in call centers or for international companies where language barriers are less of an issue.

Given these economic conditions, Portugal has become a more attractive destination for retirees and remote workers rather than those seeking traditional employment.

The country’s digital nomad visa is an appealing option for those that don’t hold an EU/EEA/Swiss passport who have the flexibility to work remotely, allowing them to take advantage of Portugal’s quality of life while earning from economies with stronger currencies.

About the Minimum Wage

Portugal’s approach to setting the minimum wage involves a tripartite committee consisting of government ministers, trade organization representatives, and union leaders. This committee convenes annually to negotiate the minimum wage, often reaching a compromise that reflects the diverse interests of these groups.

The country has three minimum wage rates: a national rate, and slightly different rates for the Azores and Madeira, reflecting the varied cost of living across these regions. It’s important to note that Portugal calculates the minimum salary based on 14 payments per year, rather than the standard 12, which includes additional payments for holidays and summer.

Despite the low minimum wage, Portugal enforces strict penalties for non-compliance, underscoring the government’s commitment to protecting workers’ rights. Employers found violating minimum wage laws face significant fines, emphasising the importance of adherence to labour standards.

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

Spotted a mistake? Suggest a correction

There are 0 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.