working time

Working time is deemed to be any period during which the public employee is fulfilling the activity or remains attached to the carrying out of the service delivery.

The working time shall include:

  • The occasional halt due to the employee’ unavoidable personal needs satisfaction;
  • The interruption for technical reasons; 
  • The meal break, during which the employee shall remain in the usual working facilities, or near it, so he/she may be called, in the case of need, to perform her/his regular functions;
  • The interruption or break required by the safety and health at work rules;
  • The work break defined as such in collective labour regulation instrument or in the public employer internal regulation/rules of procedure;
  • The interruptions in the work delivery during the period of compulsory attendance authorized by the public employer in exceptional cases and duly justified are deemed as working time.


Thus, working time covers not only the periods of time when the employee is available for the performance of functions, but also other periods – as a rule, of short duration – that the law regards as working time but in which there is not actual performance of work.

On the other hand, the concept of “normal work period” corresponds to the actual time the employee compulsorily has to provide work being measured in hours per day and per week. The employees’ work schedule is defined according to the starting and ending hours of the normal daily work period or the respective limits, as well as the rest breaks.

The normal working period (NWP) is of 7h per day and 35h per week.

The daily period during which the public services fulfil their activity is deemed “period of functioning”. The daily time range during which the public services are open to deal with the public is deemed “dealing with public period”, which may be equal or lower than the period of functioning.

It is incumbent upon the top manager of services to set the periods of functioning and dealing with the public, by ensuring their compatibility with the several work provision systems, in such a way as to ensure the regular compliance with missions entrusted.

The normal daily working period is halted by a rest break that shall not have term lower than one hour nor higher than two, with the exception of special dully justified situations.

One or more of the following forms of work schedule may be adopted by services, according to the corresponding activities nature:

  • Flexible working hours - which allows for a flexible management of working times, namely the entry and exit hours choice;
  • Fixed working time – the normal daily working period is divided into two daily periods of identical duration, with fixed entry and exit hours, separated by a rest break; 
  • Irregular shifts – enables the setting out, without possibility of option, different fixed entry and exit hours for a determined service or workforce group, though maintaining unchanged the normal daily working period; 
  • Continuous work day - consists of the uninterrupted performance of work, save a rest period never higher than thirty minutes that for all purposes is deemed to be working time;
  • Shift work - is deemed to be any work organization in team where the public employees fill successively the same work posts, according to a certain pattern, including the rotating, continuous or discontinuous pattern, and the work may be performed at different hours in a given period of days or weeks;
  • Half work day - consists of the performance of work, in a reduced period in half of the normal work period, on a full-time basis.


Specific work schedules may be set by the public employer in line with that which is provided for by law.

The public employees’ holders of management positions and who head multidisciplinary teams enjoy the exemption from work schedule, as per the respective statutes.

The exemption from work schedule shall not exclude the observance of the general duty of regular attendance, nor the compliance with the weekly work term legally stipulated.

The possibility to enjoy exemption from compliance with any forms of work schedule or to the observance to the general duty of regular attendance and compliance with the weekly work term is provided for by law. However, the adoption of such system aims at the carrying out of tasks established in the service activity plan, provided that they are scheduled and shall by fulfilled within a certain time limit that must not exceed 10 working days;

The public employer shall have and maintain a registration system allowing for the calculation, per day and per week, of the number of hours worked by the public employees. Same system shall register the work start and end times, as well as, the rest breaks.