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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Portugal

9.Teachers and education staff

9.5Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Planning policy

Public higher education institutions 

Public higher education institutions (HEIs) must have a permanent group of professors who are beneficiary of a reinforced status of working stability (tenure), in an appropriate number, and complying with the respective Teaching Career Statute.

The rules regarding the categories and duties of teaching staff, their recruitment, status and rights and duties which include payment and retirement rights are legally established, as referred to in the abovementioned Statute.

The public HEIs must have the necessary human resources to carry out their missions, notwithstanding the hiring of any external services, being responsible for the recruitment and promotion of their teaching staff, as prescribed by law.

The maximum number of teaching staff that each public HEI may hire is established by Order of the supervising Ministry. The distribution of vacancies according to the different categories is done by each HEI, although the supervising Ministry may stipulate general rules on these issues.

Private higher education institutions 

According to the law, teaching staff in private HEIs are guaranteed a parallel career structure to that of teaching staff in public higher education.

The teaching staff in private HEIs must possess the academic qualifications and degrees legally required for the equivalent professional category in public higher education.

The recruitment of private HEI teaching staff is ruled by private law, without governmental intervention for its planning.

Entry to the profession

Public HEIs

The teaching staff in public HEIs can be career staff, who are recruited via an application system and specially-hired staff, who are non-permanent and recruited by invitation.

In university education, academic staff career includes the categories of Professor (Professor Catedrático), Associated Professor (Professor Associado) and Assistant Professor (Professor Auxiliar).

In addition to the teachers belonging to the abovementioned categories, public university HEIs may also employ, for the provision of teaching and specially-hired staff, Portuguese or foreign individuals of recognized scientific, pedagogical or professional merit whose work is relevant to the interests and needs of the HEI concerned.

These individuals are called, depending on the duties for which they are hired, as a guest professor, guest assistant or lecturer, except when teachers from foreign HEIs and researchers from foreign scientific institutions, which are called visiting professors.

Students from undergraduate courses or Master's from the higher education institution itself or anotherHEI can also be hired as monitors.

In the polytechnic higher education, academic staff career includes the categories of Professor Coordenador Principal, Professor Coordenador and Professor Adjunto.

In addition to these teachers, for the provision of teaching and specially-hired staff, Portuguese or foreign individuals of recognized scientific, pedagogical or professional merit whose work is relevant to the interests and needs of the HEI concerned.

The individuals hired boast a status similar to the teaching career categories in public higher education polytechnics with a job description appropriate for the duties performed and are called invited professors, except when foreign HEIs and researchers from foreign scientific institutions, which are called visiting professors.

Those with Master's degrees or a 1st cycle degree and suitable curriculum can be hired as guest assistants. They are assigned teaching duties under the guidance of a professor. Students from undergraduate courses or Master's from the higher education institution itself or another HEI, university or polytechnic, public or private, whose responsibility it is assist, without substituting them, the remaining teachers under their guidance.

Private HEIs

At private university and polytechnic HEIs, staff are recruited according to the rules of private law, applying the principle of party autonomy (freedom of contract).

Professional status

Public HEIs

The teaching staff tenure system of university and polytechnic higher education is different, depending on whether it refers to career staff or non-career staff (specially hired staff).

Career staff have indefinite employment contract with public duties, after successfully completing a trial period; non-career staff have fixed term employment contract with public duties.

Professores catedráticos and professores associados at universities and professores coordenadores principais and professores coordenadores at polytechnics enjoy enhanced job security (tenure), which means guaranteeing employment in same category and career, although at a different institution, particularly when the higher education institution they belong to reorganizes and no longer requires them.

Career staff are hired on a full-time basis (exclusive or non-exclusive), with non-career staff being hired on a part-time basis. These staff can be employed full-time for exceptional reasons and for a limited time.

Private HEIs

At private university and polytechnic HEIs, staff are recruited according to the rules of private law, applying the principle of party autonomy (freedom of contract).

Salaries

Public HEIs

The salaries of higher education teaching staff are defined by law, depending on category, evaluation results and, to a lesser extent, length of service.

The maximum gross amount is currently established at €5,417, with the minimum amount being €1,641.

In relation to specially-contracted staff, when hired part-time, their remuneration is established based on a percentage of a full-time salary, depending on category and what they are invited for.

Private HEIs

At private university and polytechnic HEIs, staff are recruited according to the rules of private law, applying the principle of party autonomy (freedom of contract).

Working time and holidays

Public HEIs

Teaching staff in public HEIs (university and polytechnic) work on a full-time or part-time basis.

Full-time is understood to be the weekly working hours for the majority of employees working in public administration.

Work time includes all duties established by the respective career statute, including work time outside the HEI related to the fulfilment of teaching duties.

As such, in addition to the time devoted to lessons and preparation, the teacher’s timetable also includes a part for student support, which, generally speaking, corresponds to half that time.

Coordination of free courses in areas of scientific interest to the HEI, not included in the respective set of disciplines, and authorized by the Scientific Council, are also considered teaching duties.

In the exercise of part-time work, the total number of weekly service working hours, including classes, its preparation and students’ support, is contractually stipulated.

Private HEIs

In private HEIs, the education service conditions are agreed by parties under the rules of private law. Despite the application of the principle of party autonomy (freedom of contract), it is desirable to establish a similar regime to public higher education.

Promotion, advancement

Public HEIs

Promotion in the public HEIs teaching career (university and polytechnic) in the different categories occurs via an application process, while progression within the same category depends on the professor’s respective performance evaluation results.

Private HEIs

In private HEIs (universities and polytechnics), the career progression depends on the terms agreed by the parties, with application of the principle of private autonomy.

Retirement and pensions

Public HEIs

The rules regarding professors’ retirement in public HEIs are laid down in the Retirement Statute applicable to all workers in the public sector or in the Social Security scheme (general or convergent), applicable, case by case, depending on the date of admission to public administration. Both in university and polytechnic education, a teacher who is retired for having reached the age limit (currently 70 years) is given the title Professor Jubilado (Professor Emeritus).

Professores Jubilados or retired professors can be Master’s dissertation and PhD thesis supervisors, members of juries for the attribution of Master’s and PhDs, members of juries bestowing the following titles: agregado (which correponds to the habilitation title), qualified (habilitado) to undertake scientific duties, and specialist.

They can also be members of juries for public vacancies covered by university or polytechnic teaching career and scientific research statutes.

Professores Jubilados ((Professors Emeritus) or retired professors can also, exceptionally, if necessary, considering their special competence in a given area, teach in HEIs, however, they cannot satisfy permanent teaching needs.

Private HEIs

The scheme applicable to private HEIs is, generally speaking, the general Social Security scheme.