|GH 2017 Portugal|
The distinction between employees and independent contractors (self-employment) may be pointed out as a recurrent issue discussed in numerous labour lawsuits in Portugal. This phenomena is a result of the fact that Portuguese labour law includes statutory provisions, a number of which are of a protective nature, that are applicable to employees, but not to independent contractors.
A special judicial procedure was introduced in Portugal in September 2013, with the purpose of reducing the possibility of companies and organisations imposing independent contractor hiring alternatives on job candidates, as a way to elude the application of statutory labour law principles and rules. The procedure is triggered by the initiative of the labour authority, when, on the basis of inspective visits to companies and other employers, cases of independent contracting (formally speaking) are found, which materially, adopt features that are typical to employment. The judicial procedure is filed and defended by public prosecutors in labour courts without the need for the interested independent contractor/employee confirming his or her interest in pursuing the lawsuit.