Among them is the extension of the probation period for young people on their first job and for long-term unemployment, to 180 days from 90 at present – a change that was the focus of much dispute between parties on the left, which normally work together in parliament.

According to the legislation, “This law enters into force on the first working day of the month following that of its publication” – that is, 1 October, albeit with some explicit exceptions.

On the day following the law’s promulgation by the president, the Communist Party, the Left Bloc (BE) and the Greens announced that they intended to jointly submit a request to the Constitutional Court to review the legality of some of its elements.

In comments to Lusa at the time on behalf of the minority Socialist government, the employment minister, José Vieira da Silva, said that he would “tranquilly” await the court’s deliberation on the matter.

On the day the legislation was published, his Ministry of Employment, Solidarity and Social Security highlighted the main changes in a statement, citing the fact that in limited-term employment contracts, the maximum accumulated duration, including renewals, is reduced to two years from three, while for contracts of indefinite duration, it is reduced to four from six years.

In addition, the fact that a worker is being hired who is seeking their first job or who is long-term unemployed is no longer a justification for the conclusion of a non-permanent work contract.

Only micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, that is companies with fewer than 250 workers, at the start of their operations, may continue to employ workers on fixed-term contracts during a period of two years.

In relation to temporary work, a limit of six renewals is introduced for fixed-term contracts.

The maximum duration of each contract of very short duration is now 35 days rather than 15, but the maximum accumulated duration is maintained in this case, of 70 days a year. This regime has also been extended to all sectors of activity.

The probationary period for permanent contracts is now 180 days, up from 90, in the case of workers looking for their first job or the long-term unemployed – one of the measures that was most contested by the CGTP union federation. However, professional internships for the same activity and at the same employer now count for the time of the probationary period.

There is also a change in the number of training hours to which each worker is entitled, which rises to 40 from 35 per year.

The amendments to the Labour Code were adopted in parliament in July, with only the Socialist voting in favour and the abstention of the right opposition PSD and CDS-PP, while the other left parties voted against. The president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, promulgated the law on 19 August.

The CGTP expressed “vehement opposition” to the president’s decision, arguing that the Labour Code should serve to eradicate the casual employment that it says continues to undermine labour relations and “a virus” that is establishing itself ever more in Portugal “and which is deepening inequalities”. TPN/Lusa